Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

These are deceptive little monsters.  Oh, they look so innocent with their perfect pumpkin hue and their tasty streusel-y topping, like a lovely little fiber-filled muffin with a little sweetness.  Then you bite it and bam!--cream cheesey goodness all wrapped up inside.  These muffins are amazing.  I took them to a meeting and they went untouched for a little while.  Then someone had one.  And someone else noticed they weren't "normal" so they grabbed one.  And of course the other side of the table caught wind of the hidden treasure in these muffins and before I knew it, well, let's just say I didn't bring any leftovers home.

This recipe came to me from The Girl Who Ate Everything via Pinterest because they sounded amazing and I needed them in my life (as do you).  For the part of the pumpkin muffin, these babies have everything--pumpkin pie spice AND nearly everything that goes in pumpkin pie spice.  Yum!  A few minor adjustments to the assembly, a touch of fiori di sicilia to the cream cheese mixture, and a swap on the topping for this version from Two Peas and Their Pod (leftover from attempting their yummy pancakes), and soon I was enjoying delicious muffins with a prize inside!  I used the fiori di sicilia to give a little extra flavor to the filling.  Vanilla extract would work too, but I wanted something with a twist and almost citrusy notes.  I specifically chose this recipe over others because it makes 24.  I wanted enough to take to work and still have some left at home.  Unfortunately, Dave still has yet to try one.  (Oops.) What he doesn't know is that I stashed a couple in the freezer.  Guess I'd better thaw those out and let him partake in the joy of these pumpkin cream cheese muffins.  It's not as hard as you think--give it a go.  You will be in love.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins


3 1/2 cups flour, divided
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed (not pictured)
2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
6 Tablespoons butter, cold and cut into chunks
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon fiori di sicilia

1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
15 ounces pumpkin puree
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil

For the streusel topping, combine 1/2 cup flour, brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl.  Cut in butter with a pastry blender until crumbly.  Chill until ready to use.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or a medium bowl with a hand-held electric mixer, beat together cream cheese, powdered sugar and fiori di sicilia until smooth.  Transfer to a small bowl, wrap and chill until ready to assemble.

In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining flour and cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, cloves, salt and baking soda.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large bowl with  hand-held electric mixer, beat eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and oil until blended.

Gradually add the flour mixture and mix on low until incorporated.

For assembly, grease or line two standard 12-cup muffin tins.  Use a medium cookie scoop to dispense muffin batter into muffin pan, one scoop per cup.  Then use a small cookie scoop to dispense cream cheese mixture into each muffin cup in the center of the muffin batter if possible.  Follow up with another (this time heaping) medium cookie scoop of muffin batter to cover the cream cheese filling.  Top off with a Tablespoon of streusel topping.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes or until golden, puffed and tops spring back when lightly touched. (Note: a tester won't work to check doneness because of the cream cheese centers).

Let cool in muffin pan for a few minutes before transferring to wire rack to complete cooling.  Or consume automatically.  Store leftovers in airtight container, chilled or freeze.

Makes 24 muffins.

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

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