Sunday, 16 October 2011

Pumpkin 'n' Spice Cream Cheese Muffins

Have you looked outside lately?? In my part of the world the leaves are starting to change and fall, the mornings are crisp and cool (if not utterly chilly!) and I'm getting the urge to change my closet over from tank tops, sundresses and flip flops to fall sweaters, jeans and hoodies. You know what that means!?!?! Fall is here!! Soon I'll be raking piles of leaves so my kids can jump in them, going on loads of hikes to see the leaves, making stews and soups galore as well as baked goods with apples, pumpkins, cinnamon and cider .... oh, MY! Can you tell that Fall is my favourite season!?!?

With all this Fall love going on I was hankerin' to bake some muffins last week. If I don't bake every few days I feel out of sorts and, quite honestly, get kind of grumpy. To me, baking is cathartic and creative ... plus you get the added benefit of eating your creations! The same cannot be said for crafty creations that use Mod Podge, glue, felt and sparkles ... I'm guessing. ;)

I knew that I wanted to bake something. But what? I had some pumpkin in my freezer but didn't get the urge to specifically bake a pumpkin muffin until my friend Allison told me she was baking some. I know, I know. Just because my friends want to bake pumpkin muffins doesn't mean I have to -- but after she mentioned the words 'pumpkin' and 'muffin' in the same sentence it was all I could think about!!

These muffins are so good that I've made them twice in the past week. They are not only low in fat (without losing flavour!) but they're also moist and they taste like a pumpkin spice latte!! Some 'spice muffins' out there say they're spicy and smell really spicy but when push comes to shove (or muffin touches tongue) they taste pretty blaw and that is such a let-down to me! Not this muffin! Oh no, my friends, this muffin tastes as good as it smells!! Even my 10 year old (who isn't a fan of pumpkin pie was inhaling these -- so much so that I had to limit him before they all but disappeared!).

Not only are these a nice, spicy treat but you also have the added benefit of the creamy texture that the cream cheese gives this muffin too! Plus, the fact that the cream cheese is inside the muffin makes them 'school lunch worthy' (which means it's a less messy option compared to putting the cream cheese on top of the muffin where either my kids or their lunch bags - or both - would be covered in cream cheese by the end of the day!).

If you don't think that you need 12 pumpkin spice muffins in the next few days, don't fret! These muffins freeze like a dream! Just make sure that you defrost them in the fridge because of the cream cheese filling. If you choose to thaw them on the counter you may forget about the muffins for a LONG time because you're busy planning your next blog post cleaning and organizing your house which will result in you having to either throw out said muffins or risk some major food poisoning. I'm, of course, just guessing that that's what would happen (perhaps).

I hope you enjoy this little taste of Fall!

Pumpkin n' Spice Cream Cheese Muffins

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (see recipe below)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp soda
2 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup applesauce (I used an individual cinnamon applesauce)
3 tbsp grapeseed oil (or vegetable oil)

Cream Cheese Filling
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
dash of salt

2 tbsp butter, melted
Cinnamon sugar (2 tbsp sugar + 1 tsp cinnamon)

Prepare the filling --- Combine cream cheese, icing sugar, pumpkin pie spice and salt in a medium bowl. Mix well until blended and smooth. Refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours or until slightly firm.

Preheat oven to 350. Line a muffin tin with papers or grease well. Set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer (or in a large bowl), combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda. Mix on slow speed just until combined.

In a medium bowl, beat eggs. Add pumpkin, applesauce and oil. Mix well. Add to dry ingredients and gently mix just until combined. Don't overmix! Fill muffin cups half full.

Place approximately 1 teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture on the batter in each muffin cup. Cover the cream cheese filling with additional batter.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean from the muffin part (try to not let your toothpick touch the cream cheese). Let cool in pans for 5 minutes then brush each muffin with the melted butter and dip in cinnamon sugar. Place muffins on a rack to cool completely. Try to wait a bit before eating these muffins. The cream cheese filling is H-O-T ... HOT!!

Yield: 12 muffins

Pumpkin Pie Spice
Source: (Pumpkin Pie Spice II)

I NEVER buy pumpkin pie spice because I always have its ingredients on hand. It's so easy to whip up!

2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger (ground, not fresh)
1/4 tsp cloves, ground

Combine ingredients in a small bowl. Place extra in a covered container.


Bonnie in Manitoba said...

These sound similar to a layered cake I made last weekend for Thanksgiving dessert! My daughter also always whips up a batch of muffins similar to this when she is home from university to take back with her, except they are chocolate with the cream chesse centre! They're a huge hit with her fellow roommates in her residence on campus! I love the change of seasons too and being able to do the stews and soups and roasts (don't get me worng, I still love my summer, but change is good!). Have a great week Laurie!

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Hi Bonnie! Your daughter's chocolate cream cheese muffins sound delicious!! Nothing better than home cooking when you're away at University!

Like you I like summer but love seeing the changes in Fall. :)

Diane P said...

I was feeling the need for pumpkin also so I made Pumpkin Dump cake.
You make your pumpkin filling sort of like a pie and then dump a yellow cake mix on top. Add 1 cup of butter and pecans.
I wowed my church ladies & passed the recipe on to a friend who wowed some football tailgaters. It just is that time of year.

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Diane -- great minds think alike! I've had a recipe for a pumpkin dump cake on my kitchen counter for a week now. Unfortunately my 11 year old used his 'it's almost my birthday' leverage and asked for pumpkin pies for dessert tonight so he and I baked up a couple of pies. I'm so happy to hear that the pumpkin dump cake is a hit!! It will definitely be on my meal plan list this week! :)

Torviewtoronto said...

this looks fabulous
lovely site nice to meet you

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Torviewtoronto -- welcome to my blog! I'm glad you found me. It's nice to see yet another fellow Canuck on here. :)

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