Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
I can't believe that tomorrow is the first day of December! Where has November gone? Somewhere between snow storms, power outages, delicious food and Thanksgiving, I think! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving full of good food and family. We had a white Thanksgiving this year. Luckily, we didn't lose power, so we were still able to bake pies and celebrate with my husband's family.
This was my first holiday without my mom. She passed away this summer from a nearly 5 year battle of cancer, 6 days after my third child was born. Eek. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. Maybe because we didn't celebrate Thanksgiving last year because she was in the hospital. We'll see what Christmas brings.
On a happier note, this muffins are amazing. I wanted to share one last pumpkin-y treat with you before holiday baking comes into full swing. I have made these muffins for years, and they are still a favorite. Something about the cream cheese in the middle always makes a pleasant surprise. These muffins are full of fall flavors. A wonderful way to celebrate pumpkin! These muffins freeze well and can be pulled out and warmed up to enjoy at any time.
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
Yield: 2 dozen muffins
For the filling
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
2 Tablespoons honey
For the muffins
3 cups white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
For the topping
4 Tablespoons white whole wheat flour
7 Tablespoons old fashioned rolled oats
3 Tablespoons coarse sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 Tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
To make the filling, combine the cream cheese and honey in a bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Transfer to a pastry bag. Pipe into 24 equal dollops onto a parchment-covered baking sheet, or a plate wrapped in plastic wrap. Freeze until firm, at least 3 hours or overnight.
To make the muffins, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line muffin pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda, and whisk to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree, oil and applesauce. Mix on medium-low speed until blended. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.
To make the topping, combine the flour, oats, sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl, and whisk to blend. Add in the butter pieces and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.
To assemble the muffins, fill each muffin well with a small amount of batter, just enough to cover the bottom of the liner (1-2 tablespoons). Place a dollop of the cream cheese mixture into the center of each muffin well. Divide the remaining batter among the muffin cups, placing on top of the cream cheese to cover completely. Sprinkle a small amount of the topping mixture over each of the muffin wells.
Bake for 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving. (Be sure to let cool completely because the cream cheese filling is very hot. I have personal experience with this.)