Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

I can’t believe that tomorrow is the first day of December! Where has November gone? Somewhere between snow storms, power outages, delicious food and Thanksgiving, I think! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving full of good food and family. We had a white Thanksgiving this year. Luckily, we didn’t lose power, so we were still able to bake pies and celebrate with my husband’s family.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

This was my first holiday without my mom. She passed away this summer from a nearly 5 year battle of cancer, 6 days after my third child was born. Eek. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Maybe because we didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving last year because she was in the hospital. We’ll see what Christmas brings.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

On a happier note, this muffins are amazing. I wanted to share one last pumpkin-y treat with you before holiday baking comes into full swing. I have made these muffins for years, and they are still a favorite. Something about the cream cheese in the middle always makes a pleasant surprise. These muffins are full of fall flavors. A wonderful way to celebrate pumpkin! These muffins freeze well and can be pulled out and warmed up to enjoy at any time.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
Yield: 2 dozen muffins

For the filling

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons honey

For the muffins

  • 3 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

For the topping

  • 4 Tablespoons white whole wheat flour
  • 7 Tablespoons old fashioned rolled oats
  • 3 Tablespoons coarse sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 Tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces

Directions

To make the filling, combine the cream cheese and honey in a bowl.  Beat with an electric mixer until smooth.  Transfer to a pastry bag.  Pipe into 24 equal dollops onto a parchment-covered baking sheet, or a plate wrapped in plastic wrap.  Freeze until firm, at least 3 hours or overnight.

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

To make the topping, combine the flour, oats, sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl, and whisk to blend. Add in the butter pieces and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.

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).  Place a dollop of the cream cheese mixture into the center of 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 wells.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving. (Be sure to let cool completely because the cream cheese filling is very hot. I have personal experience with this.)

Source: Annie’s Eats, originally adapted from BakeSpace

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Pumpkin Cookies

pumpkin cookies

So, I am not the type that likes pumpkin pie. Weird right? I like other pumpkin things, like these cookies, but not pie. My husband is the same way. I thought that since we are not big pumpkin pie lovers, there might be others out there with similar feelings. These cookies are a great alternative pumpkin dessert for Thanksgiving day. And who doesn’t love the simplicity of a cookie? They are virtually mess free and easy to grab!

These cookies are bursting with flavor. They are soft and cake-like with a smear of cream cheese frosting over the top. I made my cookies large, but you can definitely make them smaller with a shorter baking time. These would be a welcome addition at any Thanksgiving table!

Pumpkin Cookies

Yield: About 18 large cookies

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

For the cream cheese frosting

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 325ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs and brown sugar until light and smooth (about 2 minutes).  Beat in the oil, vanilla extract, and pumpkin puree. On low speed, add the flour mixture and beat just until incorporated. Using a large cookie dough scoop (for smaller cookies, use a small scoop), place mounds of batter onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing about 2 inches apart. Bake in the preheated oven for about 18 minutes (shorter cooking time for smaller cookies), or until springy to the touch. Let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before frosting.

For the cream cheese frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter until soft and creamy in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla until the frosting is soft and creamy, about 4 minutes. Spread small dollops over each cookie.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 4 days.

Source: Adapted from Joy of Baking