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Friday, September 3, 2010

Joyeux Kitchen: Perfect Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins (If you call it a muffin it doesn't count as dessert!)

**I know the ingredient list looks long-ish, but I made them with time to spare over naptime while baby-sitting an extra 15 week old.  No worries.**

On Monday morning this week, I pulled eagerly into the Starbucks drive-thru on Kent's East Hill.  I was eighth in line, waited 21 minutes, and was rewarded with a Grande Nonfat Yes-Please-Whipped-Cream Pumpkin Spice Latte and a Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin that looked like it had gone for a roll in the hay with some buttered, sugared, (potentially fried?) pumpkin seeds.  Heaven.

Must.  Find.  Recipe.
I looked at a lot of different variations in my quest for the Perfect Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin, even some claiming to be 'just like the ones from Starbucks,'  and this particular confection from Country Living had everything I was looking for: a rich, cream-cheesy topping, a crunchy element, and just the right amount of spice.  I adjusted the recipe to meet my needs; originally it called for the cream cheese to be placed in the middle of the muffin, like a filling, but fillings disappear in the oven... I like it on top!  Also, I added more butter and less flour to make the streusel more streusel-y.  Grunt: More butter.  (That was a Home Improvement reference.)

(Makes 24 muffins.)

For the cream cheese topping you'll need:
8 oz. brick of cream cheese, room temperature
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar

For the crunchy streusel you'll need:
5 tbsp. sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped (I used my food processor)
4 tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp cinnamon

For the muffin batter you'll need:
2 1/3 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 eggs
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cups solid-packed pumpkin
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.  Pop some liners into two 12-cup muffin pans (or spray them with cooking spray, but liners work better).  Mix the cream cheese filling ingredients in a small bowl with your hand mixer and set aside.  Toss the crunchy streusel ingredients in another bowl (actually, I think using your hands works best for streusel--dig in there and mix it up good!) and set aside.  Combine the dry muffin ingredients first (sugar, flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon) and in a separate bowl mix the eggs, pumpkin, oil and vanilla together.  Start your KitchenAid and slowly add the wet to the dry.  Fill your muffin cups (about 2/3 full) and top with 2 teaspoons of the cream cheese mixture.  Sprinkle some of the streusel on top of each muffin and bake until golden and a tester, inserted into the center, comes clean -- 20 to 25 minutes depending on your oven.  Cool on wire racks.  Sigh.  Happy September, everyone!

1 comment:

  1. Forgot to tell you that the boys devoured every single mini muffin you brought over within about 3 minutes! YUM YUM YUM.