Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

I tried to fight it for as long as I could; I didn’t want summer to end. I savored its warm (ok, hot) temperatures and endless hours of daylight. I baked with berries, ate the most delicious ripe tomatoes, and grilled lots of burgers. But today I have to face reality, fall is here. And while there’s so much I’ll miss about summer, fall has its upsides too. For me, it’s mostly pumpkins, apples, football and hockey. Pumpkin baking has already started, and I’m looking forward to a trip to the orchard for apples soon, Sundays on the couch watching football, and the long-awaited return of my Bruins to the ice. Another nice thing about fall? Finally turning off the a/c and opening the windows to let the fall breezes blow through. What’s your favorite thing about fall?

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

I have been waiting for nearly a year to tell you guys about these muffins. I first baked them last fall after discovering them on Annie’s blog, and they immediately climbed to the top of my “favorite things to bake with pumpkin” list. I made them several times, but never got any pictures that were blog-worthy.  A few weeks ago Shane had a triathlon and since we always get a really early start on those days, I wanted to bring a breakfast treat down to the beach to share with his parents while we watched the race.  I hadn’t started baking with pumpkin yet, but as I considered muffin options, I kept coming back to this recipe.  I pulled a can of pumpkin from my pantry stash and got to work, excited not only to share these with Shane’s parents but also to finally get some pictures so I could share them on the blog today, this first day of autumn.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

These pumpkin muffins are warm and spicy, stuffed with cream cheese and topped with a sweet streusel – it’s hard to believe you can cram so much goodness in one treat!  Because they have a few components, they do take a bit longer than your typical muffin recipe, but they’re worth the extra effort.  Shane’s mom and dad loved them as much as I hoped they would (in fact, I made a second batch for them later the same week!) too.  I usually halve the recipe, making 12 muffins, so feel free to scale back if you don’t need 24. 

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

PS – I announced the winner of the giveaway for Emeril’s Sizzling Skillets cookbook. Click here to find out if it was you!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
adapted from BakeSpace (via Annie’s Eats)

Filling
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Topping
1/2 cup sugar
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-1/2-inch cubes

Muffins
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 1/4 cups vegetable or canola oil

To make the filling: In a medium bowl mix the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar together until smooth. Transfer to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log that is about 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Wrap and transfer to the freezer for at least 2 hours (or until firm enough to cut).

To make the topping: In a medium bowl whisk together the sugar, flour and cinnamon. Add the butter and use a pastry blender to cut it in until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Refrigerate while you make the muffin batter.

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line muffin pans with paper liners.

Whisk the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, sugar, pumpkin and oil until blended. With the mixer on low, gradually add the dry ingredients, beating just until incorporated.

Remove the cream cheese filling from the freezer and slice the log into 24 equal pieces. Place just enough batter in each muffin well to cover the bottom – about 1-2 tablespoons. Put one slice of the cream cheese mixture in each well on top of the batter. Divide the remaining batter among the muffin wells, covering the cream cheese filling completely. Remove the topping from the refrigerator and sprinkle evenly over the muffins.

Bake the muffins for about 20-25 minutes, or until they spring back when gently pressed in the center. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the muffins cool for 5-10 minutes before removing them to the rack to cool completely.

Makes 24 muffins