Try finding pumpkin puree in the store right now. I dare you. No, you know what, I double dare you.
Okay, so maybe it’s not the hardest thing in the world, but many stores still don’t have it in stock, especially major super markets. Apparently Hurricane Irene destroyed some pumpkin farms along her path making them scarce this year, so if you do find canned pumpkin, stock up.
I searched high and low to find pumpkin puree this week, and when I finally called a local health food store and they said they had two cans left, I told them to keep guard of them until I got there. They did. Apparently, it’s not technically ‘in-season’ yet, which I happen to think is complete BS because once girls start wearing UGGs, it’s pumpkin season. I think the two go hand-in-hand, don’t you?
So I got my hands on two cans of organic pumpkin. Two cans of glorious, organic pumpkin which will be the base for the most amazing muffins I know how to bake. These are my favorite muffins to date and I will continue to make them year in and year out. They’re the perfect way to start the autumn season.
I made these muffins for the first time last year and got great reviews from family and friends. I decided to make them again this year and they were again a hit. They’re moist, filled with the perfect amount of cream cheese, and bursting with spicy flavor. As you can see from my post last year, my picture quality wasn’t great. I was still using my point and shoot at that time. I’ve since upgraded to a big girl camera, so I figured I’d take another stab at a muffin photo shoot. Hope you like these pictures better!
Oh, and if you love pumpkin even half as much as I do, I suggest you invest in these two pumpkin flavored food items I am borderline obsessed with:
Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Cream Cheese Filling
from Annie’s Eats
Yield: 24 muffins
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
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 (your logs will be messy and difficult to smooth into perfectly shaped logs. Don’t worry, they go inside the muffin and no one will see them. Just make sure they’re log-like). 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 (it’s going to be tempting, but do not heat the butter. The cold butter adds the crumbles and melts in the oven). 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!)