Ohhh man, I’m excited.
It is fall.
Now I actually really hate the dry air, the Santa Anas (if you live in the Orange County area you probably feel my pain), and cold mornings that somehow turn into afternoons that make me sweat off 50 lbs. Fall is the most bipolar season of all.
But there are a few reasons why I LOVE fall:
1. The beginning of fall means that winter and the holiday season are only a few short months away.
2. Halloween. Everyone loves wearing clothes they would never consider any other night of the year and consuming crazy amounts of alcohol while doing it. *college life*
3. Scarves. It’s too hot in the afternoon to wear them, but it’s just cold enough in the morning to justify it. Same goes for…
4. Coats! I just got them dry-cleaned the other day. I’m ready! 😀
5. Thanksgiving. Great food, football, friends, family, and wine. And pie. Pie is its own delicious category on Turkey Day.
6. Pumpkin-spice things. Lattes, cupcakes, cookies, pie (mmmm…pie) and…
Oh yes, my friends. Pumpkin-spice cream cheese muffins. This is real. Not a figment of your pumpkin-spice-loving imagination.
These are everything you want in a breakfast pastry. Or dessert. Or lunch. Or snack. Or…
just eat them. They’re good. Even better on day 2.
Muffins are tricky. If they’re too dry, they’re gross. If they’re too moist, they’re gross. If they taste like flour…you get the picture. So let’s do a little check before I present this recipe to you.
Streusel-y? Oh yes. Check.
So good that I’m making up words? Check.
Sweet cream cheese accompaniment? Check, check, checkedy check check check.
These are not for anyone who doesn’t or only “kind of” likes pumpkin things in the fall. These are for people who await the return of Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte like a dog awaits his owner to come back from the store. Sad? Perhaps. Don’t care? Def.
The combination of pumpkin and cream cheese could be described as fall’s PB&J (although PB&J is good any time of the year). It’s true though. There are a ton of other fall-friendly flavor combinations – apples and cinnamon, caramel and pecan, cranberry and almonds, brown sugar and basically anything, and so much more. But pumpkin and cream cheese is the epitome of fall-flavored, soul-comforting, stay-inside-if-it’s-raining-to-watch-an-old-movie-and-eat-delicious-food flavor combination.
Fall and winter are the ultimate comfort food seasons. Your taste buds will be jumping for joy for the next few months. Your pant size…not so much. But that’s what this time of year is for. Getting fat. If we all do it together then it’s not an issue…right? (I hope so.)
When it’s cold and you have nothing else to do, bake these muffins. Then put on a coat, wrap a scarf around your neck, and bring them to your friends so you can enjoy the pumpkin-spiceness together.
Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Muffins
adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
*side note* The layout for the recipe is a little different this time due to the different steps you have to take at different times. Just go with it. 😉
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/4 cup pumpkin pie spice
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp of pumpkin butter (you can find this at Williams-Sonoma)
Cream Cheese Filling:
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla
1. Prepare the cream cheese filling –>
a. Combine the cream cheese and powdered sugar until evenly executed. Add vanilla and combine until smooth and even in color.
b. Place mixture on a piece of plastic wrap and form a 12-inch log. Wrap it up, and freeze for AT LEAST 2 hours (possibly more).
2. Prepare the streusel –>
a. Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and pecans until even.
b. Add melted butter and vanilla and mix with a fork until the mixture separates and forms crumbs.
3. Muffin time!
(preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare your muffin pan!)
a. Whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and baking soda until well combined.
b. Mix sugar, pumpkin, oil, eggs, salt and vanilla until well combined. Do not over mix. Gently add pumpkin butter.
c. Using a rubber or wooden spatula, fold dry ingredients into the wet mixture. Again, do not over mix. Muffins are finicky like that!
a. Slice cream cheese log into 12 1-inch pieces.
b. Fill prepared muffin pan 1/4 full.
c. Place a slice of the cream cheese in the center of the batter.
d. Fill the pan until it reaches about 3/4 full. (If you have extra batter, feel free to fill them up. Huge muffins never hurt anyone.)
e. Sprinkle streusel on top of each muffin. Add just enough to cover the top of the muffin, and press lightly to make sure the crumbs are secure.
5. Bake the muffins for 20-23 minutes or until the muffins reach a golden brown color.
6. Allow them to cool in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool.
7. Eat the muffins and feel the warmth of fall. Share them if you feel so inclined.
Awwww yeahhh…it’s as good as it looks. Scouts honor.