Monday, October 14, 2013

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my fellow Canadians! I hope that you're all enjoying the beautiful weather and the time that comes with a holiday.

Here are a few things that I'm thankful for this year:
  • A job in my field of work that has a lot of potential (right now in the early stages of program development, so I haven't been doing too much), when so many of my classmates and friends are still without work in this sucky economy.
  • A loving and supportive family. I've gone through some pretty major changes in my life in the past few months, and my parents have been behind me every step of the way, and I'm so grateful for them.
  • A great group of friends. Even though almost all of the people that I call my best friends live a distance away (anywhere from an hour and a half to all the way across the world), they are still there for me in a moment when I need them, and I hope they feel the same way about me. Good friends don't come by often, and I try to make every effort to keep those special ones in my life.
  • A brand new car! Not only a brand new car, but my first ever car! A Hyundai Elantra GT (hatchback) with all the bells and whistles. I'm in love. And it's name is Hernandez. Random? Completely. But when I wondered to myself what I would name my car if I was to, Hernandez was the first name that popped into my head. Crazy I know, it's not even a first name, but it was so outrageous that it's just stuck.
  • The beautiful fall weather. Here in southern Ontario we didn't have a fabulous summer. It was cool and rainy most of the time, with only one stellar week of heat and sun. So I am absolutely loving this 20-30 degree sunshiney weather with colorful leaves.
  • Last of all, I really am grateful for where I am in life right now. It might not seem like it sometimes. It's certainly not where I expected to be after just celebrating my 25th birthday. Sometimes I actually feel disappointed or concerned that I'm not where I 'should' be. As I mentioned earlier, a few months ago I made a major change in my life, and that was really tough to make. It affected everything in my life from that point on; it was scary and at the time I wondered if it was the right decision to make. But now I know without a doubt it was the right decision, and although my life isn't 'perfect' right now, I am happy. And grateful for what I have.
What are YOU thankful for this year?
Oh, and I'm grateful for these glorious pumpkin muffins. I made these almost exactly 2 years ago, and have been itching for the opportunity to make them again. They're a little more decadent for a muffin, so they won't be making a regular appearance on my table. But it's Thanksgiving! And that pretty much is a go-free card to shove your face full of good food and wear stretchy pants all weekend.

These muffins are incredible. If you haven't seen them on Pinterest or on another blog, you're in for something special! Light, moist, full of flavour, (borderline dessert-ish) but still healthy enough to eat for breakfast or a snack... what? Pumpkin and whole wheat flour makes it healthy. Ish.

Make them. Do it do it do it. And then thank me.

Yield: 12 muffins

For the filling:
4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar

For the muffins:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 + 1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons oil

For the topping:
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces


To make filling, combine cream cheese and powdered sugar in a medium bowl or food processor and mix well until blended and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Smooth the plastic wrap tightly around the log, and reinforce with a piece of foil. Transfer to the freezer and chill until at least slightly firm, at least 2 hours.

To make the topping, combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl or food processor. Add in the butter pieces and cut into dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture is coarse and crumbly, OR if using food processor, gently pulse until mixture is crumbly. Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.

To make the muffins, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flours, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, salt and baking soda; whisk to blend. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and oil. Mix on medium-low speed until blended. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients, mixing until just incorporated.

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, a medium cookie scoop works well for this). Slice the log of cream cheese into 12 equal pieces. Place a slice of the cream cheese mixture into 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 tops.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving.

Source: adapted from Annie's Eats, who adapted from BakeSpace.
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