Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Just like the ‘You know who’ coffee shop without having to get dressed, because muffins taste way better in your robe and slippers. It’s a fact…

So, are we tired of pumpkin treats yet? Nope. Can’t stop, won’t stop. At least for a while, or until Christmas, or my cravings start for everything peppermint candy cane related. I just don’t get you non-pumpkin people, I mean- seriously what planet are you all from? HaHa. #sorrynotsorry.

I know that’s a bit harsh. Okay; but hear me out-I have a friend who told me she was not a pumpkin person. She knew I was in charge of (always) bringing the Birthday cake, and I told her ahead of time it was going to be making my pumpkin orange spice. I could tell by the look on her face she was not thrilled of the fact, but she said, well you just make it because it’s not for me anyways. I still felt bad though and told her; well I still want you to try it, because it’s one of my most popular cakes. The day comes of said Birthday party, and she not only liked it, but she loved it! So, you never know-as my Mother used to say, “Try it, you might like it”. The molasses in the recipe adds a little color to the muffins so they have a deeper color. I also decided to do half oil and half butter; you could do all oil, but I like that the butter adds flavor, and the oil adds another moisture assurance so when they are eaten at room temp, they remain light and moist. The great thing about anything pumpkin pastry related is; you have a ‘no dry muffin- insurance proof gift’, unless you totally overbake them and mess it up, so if you like a moist (I know-sorry) muffin give these a try!

Don’t flake on making the sugared pepitas as they make the muffin sing with their distinctive crunch and contrast to the soft muffin, and they literally only take a few minutes to make.

Sugared Pepitas

1/4 cup pepitas

1 Tbsp. water

2 Tbsp. granulated sugar

1 conservative pinch of pumpkin pie spice

In a small nonstick skillet place all the ingredients and stir continuously over low heat with a heat proof spatula until the pepitas are dry and crystalized with the sugar. Stop shy of them getting just almost browned as they will brown in the oven a bit when baking the muffins. Tumble them out onto a silpat or piece of parchment paper lined baking sheet or plate to cool copletely.

Cream Cheese Filling

4 oz softened full fat cream cheese

2 Tbsp. granulated sugar

1/4 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. cream or whole milk, or half/half

1 tsp. flour

tiny pinch of salt

In a small bowl mix together with a small spatula or spoon until mixture is lump free and cohesive. Fill a small pastry bag and set aside until ready to bake.

Pumpkin Spice Muffin Batter (make 9 standard sized muffins)

1 1/2 C all purpose flour

3/4 C, plus 1 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 1/8 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

wet ingredients:

1 1/4 Cup plus 2 Tbsp. pumpkin puree

1 Tbsp. unsulfured molasses

1 large egg

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

2 Tbsp. melted unsalted butter, cooled

1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with 9 muffin paper liners.

In a large mixing bowl place the dry ingredients and whisk with a fork to combine. Set aside while you mix the wet ingredients:

Mix together the pumpkin puree, molasses, egg, vegetable oil, melted butter, and vanilla until combined. Make a well in the dry ingredients and dump all the wet into the dry and mix with a spatula until combined. Divide the pumpkin batter evenly amound the 9 paper liners, then snip about a half inch sized hole in piping bag of the cream cheese filling and poke into about halfway into the pumpkin batter of each well and pipe a dollop of cheese filling moving upwards as you pull up. If one well seems like it has more, just go back over and add a bit more so each appears even. sprinkle the sugared peptias generously along the outside perimeter of each pumpkin batter area of each well.

Bake the muffins x 10 minutes, then immediately drop the oven down to 350 degrees F, and contunue to bake fo r another 12 mins (the burst of higher heat at the beginning will give your muffins and nice round top). Dont’ overbake; the muffins are done when you poke a wooden skewer diagonally into the pumpkin side, and it returns a few moist crumbs. Remove the tin and allow to cool over a wire rack until cool.

Quick note; I baked this in white paper liners and I did not take my pictures until the following day when I noticed my liners had turned an unappealingly orange brown color, so either use a darker color; preferably brown or natural tan liner, or no liner at all.

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