It wasn't until freshman year of college that I realized what an amazing ingredient pumpkin is. I have never been a big fan of pumpkin pie, and I think this must have always scared me off from ever trying anything else with pumpkin. It's really a shame I went through so much of my life without it. Then came that fateful care package to my freshman year roommate with a freshly made loaf of pumpkin bread. This was one of those loaves with a perfectly cooked inside but a gooey sugary crust on top. It was all over from there. I went pumpkin crazy and haven't looked back since. It just goes to show that the best friendships start over food. She shared. I love pumpkin bread. We're now best friends. Wonderful how those things work out, isn't it?

Now to these muffins. I don't know where to begin. I'm a harsh critic of all of my baked goods. I rarely will say I love something, but the second I tried one of these I not only loved them, I was in love with them. So were all of my roommates. They are incredible. There's nothing I would change about this recipe. The muffin itself is amazing enough to evoke the "Oh my god" reaction. Then you get a bite with cream cheese and all that love is taken up a notch.  Helllloo fall. Best muffins ever.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
Recipe from Annie's Eats
Yield: 24 muffins
Ingredients:
For the filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
For the muffins:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree
1¼ cups vegetable oil
For the topping:
½ cup sugar
5 tbsp. flour
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Directions:
To prepare the filling, combine the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl and mix well until blended and smooth.  Transfer the mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log about 1½-inches in diameter.  Smooth the plastic wrap tightly around the log, and reinforce with a piece of foil.  Transfer to the freezer and chill until at least slightly firm, at least 2 hours.
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 make the topping, combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl; 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).  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.  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.  (It may be hard to resist immediate consumption, but the cream cheese filling gets very hot!)


15 comments

baking.serendipity said... @ October 19, 2010 at 11:24 PM

I don't think there's a better combination than pumpkin and cream cheese! Your muffins look fantastic :) Glad to have stumbled across your blog!

Anonymous said... @ October 21, 2010 at 12:33 AM

THIS LOOKS SOOO GOOD I AM DEFINATELY MAKING SOME FOR THANKSGIVING, THANKS FOR THE RECIPIE

BigFatBaker said... @ October 21, 2010 at 1:53 AM

WOW. I want to make those now. These look like some I have seen at a bagel place by my apartment, but I LOVE that the cream cheese is on the inside, they seem easier to manage that way. I'm glad I found your blog!

Lizzy said... @ October 21, 2010 at 5:06 AM

I just made these yesterday! Yummy :)

imwaytoobusy said... @ October 21, 2010 at 6:54 AM

These look amazing! What a great flavor combination!

Kathryn Raby said... @ October 21, 2010 at 8:18 AM

Sarah-
I am definitely making this recipe. If you say it's better than good, I know it is!
Perfect for Fall Football Tailgating and Thanksgiving morning. . .or more realistically,two for ee's school day breakfast, one in her lunch box, one for Uncle Jim and the rest for your Aunt Kacky with at least 2 glasses of milk...say,about 10:30 pm :-) Love you!

Susan said... @ October 21, 2010 at 8:24 AM

I happened to be visiting when you were making the batter and I gotta tell you, the batter was the best I've ever eaten too! Can't wait to try the finished product.

Dawn said... @ October 21, 2010 at 9:10 AM

Very nice! Pumpkin and cream cheese is the perfect combo!

Peggy said... @ October 21, 2010 at 10:03 AM

This sounds like such an amazing combination! Can't wait to try these out! Congrats on #1 in Top 9!

RitaB said... @ October 21, 2010 at 12:05 PM

It had to have been God that brought me to your recipe since I googled "Weight Watchers Side Dishes" and with one click of the mouse,ended up here! LOL These look scrumptious. Figuring out the points might be a problem, but seriously? IF I get to where I can actually enjoy one of these, points be damned. I foresee these being my contribution to the work Thanksgiving pot luck. Thanks!!

The Cheese Goddess said... @ October 21, 2010 at 12:07 PM

Absolutely any combination of pumpkin with cream cheese is heaven! Thank you for another inspiration for my fall pumpkin cravings!

Jenny said... @ October 21, 2010 at 12:33 PM

These look great! I may just try these!

Chicago Cuisine Critique said... @ October 21, 2010 at 1:24 PM

These look awesome. Thanks for sharing. :)

Kate said... @ October 25, 2010 at 5:31 AM

Hi Sarah! Congrats on the success of these! Your mom was of course telling the world about you, and my mom then told me. Great job! Can't wait to give these a try!

Sarah said... @ November 7, 2010 at 4:45 PM

Thank you so much for all of the comments! These are a must-make for any Thanksgiving breakfast/brunch (or really for any other random occasion..leaves changing colors, you had a productive day, pumpkin is on sale at the grocery store, etc). For anyone who ends up making these let me know how they turn out!

And Rita, these cupcakes were meant to defy Weight Watchers. If you're gonna break the rules, might as well do it with something amazing!

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