Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Good Recipe Travels Far: Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Just like it’s great to have breakfast for dinner once in a while -- or leftover pizza for breakfast -- muffins, especially jazzed-up versions like these Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins, can be a great dessert. Of course, since they’re “muffins” you’re welcome to have them for breakfast, too.

I learned about these muffins from Elly Says Opa!, who learned them from Annie’s Eats. Who knows where it will go next? Ain’t blogging grand! Elly made a few tweaks from Annie’s recipe, then I changed the topping. Not that the original crumb topping wasn’t good. It’s delectable. But I really was planning these for a dessert, so I made a glaze instead.

Apparently, these are a knock-off of a Starbuck’s muffin. I couldn’t fact-check that one, because the closest Starbuck’s is more than a few miles from here (not that we don’t have some great coffee houses!). But I can tell you they’re scrumptious! If you like pumpkin. (I do.) And warm cinnamony and clovey spices. (I do.) And cream cheese. (I do, I do, I do!)

These aren’t a spontaneous undertaking because you need two hours ahead of baking to cool your sweetened cream cheese logs in the freezer before baking – but it’s worth it.

I first made these for a Christmas brunch and we scarfed them up along with our Naked Fruit Salad, ham and broccoli quiche and mimosas. The muffins were so good I bet we could have just eaten more of them and skipped the quiche – but not the mimosas.

The next time I made them was for a friend’s birthday. Our friend Susie was baking her husband Dick’s favorite cake for his birthday but since there was going to be a crowd, we thought maybe some extra something might be good. So I volunteered to make these. It’s not like me to volunteer to bake, I’m that intimidated by baking. But I was so sure of these babies, I didn’t hesitate a minute – and even got so brave as to change the topping!

Elly added a little vanilla to the cream cheese filling, and changed the spice combination some. Annie’s Eats recipe included pumpkin pie spice, but Elly chose to increase the cinnamon and nutmeg and add ground ginger. She also used canola oil instead of vegetable oil. Since I had a bunch of pumpkin pie spice that won’t get used for anything but this, I followed the first recipe more closely.

Since they were supposed to be a dessert, I thought I’d frost them, but since there was already cream cheese in the middle, a real icing might be too much, so I made a glaze by blending softened cream cheese with confectioner's sugar and thinning it with apple butter and spreading it on the warm muffins.

So here’s my amalgamation of two recipes.  I wonder what the next change will be?

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
from Elly Says Opa!  and from Annie’s Eats
makes 24  muffins
For the filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the muffins:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon  ground cloves
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree
1¼ cups vegetable oil

For the glaze:

1 cup confectioners' sugar
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ cup apple butter

To make the filling, mix together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract until combined. Shape the mixture into a log (about 1.5″ in diameter), with the aid of plastic wrap, and wrap the log tightly. Reinforce with tin foil or place in a plastic freezer bag and freeze for 2 hours or longer, until firm.

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; whisk to blend. In the bowl of an electric 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 just until 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). Slice the log of cream cheese filling into 24 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.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. While the muffins bake, make the glaze by blending the cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and apple butter until smooth.  Whn muffins are done, transfer to a wire rack. Spread apple butter glaze on muffin tops while still warm. Let cool completely before serving.


  1. The glaze is a perfect addition for these muffins Rosemary. I wish I had all of ingredients ready and waiting so i could start now!

  2. That is such a great idea - to fill muffins with sweet cream cheese! And I love a good streusel topping but I think your glaze (with apple butter!!) sounds (and looks) pretty wonderful too. This recipe is definitely a keeper!

  3. Ooooh, these are a good idea! I love the apple butter glaze, I am going to have to try that one. I think I've got just enough pumpkin puree in the freezer for these :)

  4. I love all the takes on these scrumptious muffins. It is jammed packed with everything I love. The glaze was the perfect addition.

  5. Great idea with the frozen filling. I was always wondering how to fill my muffins.Thanks for shearing.
    Have a peaceful week.

  6. I was one of those kids that ate the middles out of the cookies, bad girl, never ate the outside, I saw things and just went back in time 40 years! The middles wouldnt stand a chance here, and now my favorite is pumpkin I just gained ten pounds looking at the pictures! Fabulous recipe cant wait to try them!

  7. Oh these look amazing. I would have to make these and then give most of them away so I wouldn't eat all of them!! Thanks so much for such a great recipe.

  8. They look delicious, who could resist the warm homey sweetness?

    Looking forward to the White Chili post! And thanks again for making it - we LOVED it!

  9. YUM! I've made Annie's muffins, but my streusel got kind of soggy after a couple I love the idea (and look) of your tasty glaze!

  10. Oh dear, I am a lil under the weather and this could cure me.

  11. I adore muffins (for breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert!) But these are certainly decadent enough to make a great finish to a good meal. I love cream cheese and pumpkin :-) Thank you for sharing your words and this recipe. And thank you for your kind thoughts on my own blog. I appreciate you!

  12. Love the idea of topping these with a glaze and serving them as individual desserts! They look great.

  13. Rosemary-I love these muffins, can't get tired of pumpkins, or cream cheese, there's always some kind of desserts or snacks, that are welcomed with the combos of these yummy ingredients!
    Gorgeous, and tasty muffins...thanks for sharing!

  14. These look fabulous! I love cream cheese filling and the aple butter glaze on top is a nice touch. Yum!

  15. I love muffins! They are so easy to freeze and save for later. These look amazing! I do have some pumpkin butter somewhere...hmmm...I wonder.


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