Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

We won’t have that crisp cool fall air in Eastern North Carolina until thanksgiving time. But that is not stopping me from pumpkin indulgence! And in preparation for fall baking I have invested in this 32 ounce bottle of Nielsen-Massey Bourbon Vanilla Extract. My BFF brought a super cute little girl into the world recently and I wanted to take something tasty to the hospital. I made these fabulous muffins in under an hour. These muffins are definitely a reason I always keep pecans in my pantry during the fall season. When a muffin recipe says “mix until just combined” it is key that you follow this direction. It’s important not to saturate all the flour, this will make the muffins heavy.

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Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
Makes 18 muffins.

Cream Cheese Filling:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 tbsp brown sugar

Pecan Streusel Topping:
4 1/2 tbsp all-purpose flour
5 tbsp white sugar
3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup chopped pecans
3 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into quarter inch pieces

Muffins:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
2 tsp baking powder
3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cups canned pumpkin
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 375°F. Line muffin pan with paper liners.

Make the cream cheese filling
With an electric hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth, 3 minutes. Beat in the egg, vanilla and brown sugar, until the mixture is smooth.

Make the streusel topping
Mix together the flour, sugar, pumpkin pie spice and pecans in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter with two knives.

In a large bowl, combine together flour, sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spices and salt. Mix in the eggs, pumpkin, oil and vanilla extract. Do not over mix. You should still see some flecks of flour when you are done mixing.

Scoop approximately 3 tbsp of batter into each muffin well. Scoop one tbsp of the cream cheese filling into each one. Cover with the pecan streusel topping.

Bake for 20 to 24 minutes. Remove muffin pans from the oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack.

Adapted from allrecipes.com.

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