If you read my blog last week, you would know that I am now over my pumpkin phobia and embrace the big old orange member of the squash family! And I am embracing it even more with this delicious recipe for pumpkin muffins that you can enjoy for breakfast, include in someone's lunch or munch on with an afternoon cup of tea. They're so good!
When I saw these on Brown Eyed Baker, a blog I love and look at regularly, I knew that I had to try them. There's a moist mildly spiced, almost-cake-like interior, a divine pecan streusel topping and the added little surprise of a cream cheese filling. The pumpkin and cream cheese are a great combo, in much the same way that carrot cake begs for that cream cheese frosting.
These were fun and easy to make, (you don't even need a mixer) but you do have to plan ahead a bit, because the cream cheese mixture gets wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen ahead of time, so that it doesn't melt and spread out while the muffins are cooking.
Once you've prepared the batter and set aside the streusel topping, you put a couple of spoonfuls of batter into the muffin cups and then cut up the cream cheese log into 12 pieces and put one piece in each cup-
It's so cute! Then you just cover the cream cheese with the rest of the batter and sprinkle on the crumb topping. And within 20 minutes or so, you wind up with these beauties--
These muffins are delicious at room temperature, microwaved for a few seconds to warm them or straight from the refrigerator. Whatever you do, whip up a batch! I wouldn't be "surprised" if you love them as much as we all did!
Pumpkin Surprise Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
Prep Time: 20 minutes, plus 2 hours (at least) to freeze cream cheese mixture
Bake Time: 20-25 minutes
For the Cream Cheese Filling:
- 4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Topping:
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 cup pecans, chopped roughly
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the Muffins:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. First make the cream cheese filling by mixing together the cream cheese and confectioners' sugar until smooth and then add the vanilla in and mix well. Pull out a length of plastic wrap and form a 12-inch log with the mixture and wrap it well in the plastic wrap and then again in foil and freeze for at least 2 hours until firm. (I did this the day before I baked the muffins)
2. To make the crumb topping, whisk together the flour, sugar and cinnamon and then stir in the pecans. Add the melted butter, using a fork to make sure all the ingredients are evenly moistened. Refrigerate until ready to use.
3. To make the muffins, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners and set aside.
4. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, pumpkin, eggs, oil and vanilla.
6. Pour the pumpkin mixture over the dry ingredients and use a rubber spatula to combine them, only mixing until just combined. You don't want to over mix or the muffin will be dry.
7. Take the cream cheese log out of the freezer and slice it into 12 equal pieces. Fill muffin tins with a couple of spoonfuls of batter and then place a piece of the cream cheese atop each one. Cover with remaining batter and then top with the crumb topping. Press down a little bit to make sure the crumbs stick to the muffins.
8. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until muffins are golden and have a sort of domed top. Cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes and then transfer to a rack to finish cooling.
9. Store covered in fridge for 5-6 days.
Note: Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker: Pumpkin and Cream Cheese Muffins with Pecan Streusel