Why I Don't Need a Coffee Shop

I keep an eye on other food blogs and see what other people are trying, talking about or investigating. This fall, there's been a lot of talk about a cream cheese-filled pumpkin muffin that's offered by numerous coffee shops, including Starbucks. I've not had one, but I can see the appeal of such a thing. And so, sites all over the place are offering their take on the yummy morsels and I guess I'm no different.

However, I think I've tweaked my rendition a fair bit to take advantage of kitchen appliances and tools, cut down on the preparation time and made them more portable and more versatile.

Now, there's nothing wrong with trying the versions out there that involve wrapping cream cheese filling in plastic and chilling or freezing it for hours. But, frankly, I don't really have the time or patience for that! Beyond that, I've got tools that help me bypass some of the steps suggested for others and I'm all about using the tools at my disposal to make things a bit easier on me and my family. Finally, we're a family on the go. If I want to take muffins on a picnic or send them along in a lunch, I want them to arrive without too much trouble. Therefore, I nixed the crumb topping that many of these recipes suggest. Skipping a crumb topping also allows for something I hadn't considered at first. In a pinch, these muffins become festive autumn cupcakes with a generous slathering of cream cheese frosting on top and a sprinkle of chopped nuts. Who said you can't put together a fun and seasonal dessert in a moment's notice? Just make a full batch of muffins, freeze half and you'll have the base for a last-minute dessert on standby. This is the sort of thing that makes me very happy!

I used my stand mixer, blender and two different dishers (ice cream scoops of differing sizes) to help make putting together this recipe easier. I have two bowls for my stand mixer, so I didn't need to transfer the cream cheese filling and clean dishes partway through the baking process. If you don't have two bowls, you can either stop to clean it and transfer the cream cheese to another container, or just use a food processor to make the cream cheese filling. Might as well have a counter full of appliances to help you out, right? And while you will have a fairly sizable pile of dishes to attend to while the muffins are baking, once they are done, you'll have two dozen versatile gems of autumny goodness at your disposal. And you won't have to shell out the $$$ that coffee shops charge for basically the same thing. Really, when I can begin my day with a pumpkin cream cheese muffin and a mug of hot vacuum-brewed coffee seasoned with cream, honey and cinnamon in the warmth and comfort of my own nest, I just fail to see a reason to seek out a coffee shop in the morning. And when I realize I can enjoy all those things and wear my slippers, I have yet another way to simply bliss out about my favorite season!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 ¼ cups vegetable oil

To prepare the filling, combine the cream cheese and powdered sugar in a medium bowl and mix well until blended and smooth. It will look like slightly underfirm frosting.

To make the muffins, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line muffin pans with paper liners. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, salt and baking soda; whisk to blend. In an electric blender, combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and oil. (You can actually used cubed, roasted pumpkin and use the blender to puree it all.) Blend until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, add in the wet ingredients to the dry ones, 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). I like using a scant #20 disher (3 T.) to measure out the pumpkin batter. Then, using a #60 disher (2 tsp.), place a small dollop of cream cheese filling in the center of the pumpkin batter. Divide the remaining batter among the muffin cups, placing on top of the cream cheese to cover completely.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving.

  • Yields: 24 muffins
  • Preparation Time: 40 minutes