Pumpkin-Cream Cheese Muffins

I like to warm up each morning after walking our sweet corgi with a cup of coffee and a warm muffin. Now, that doesn't mean I bake a single muffin each morning! Instead, I make several batches of different kinds of muffins and freeze them. Then, after getting back from our walk, I'll pop a single muffin into the microwave for a bit and — presto! — I have a warm muffin to enjoy with my coffee. It's a great routine and one I actually look forward to reestablishing after the holidays, especially when I have Pumpkin-Cream Cheese Muffins on hand!

These rather decadent muffins are a lovely way to ease back into routines while still acknowledging that, after a month or more of cooking, baking, and eating, we might be a little spoiled and a spiffy muffin might be a nice way to back away from the three-course holiday brunches without making it feel like punishment. Besides, the cold winter months are hardly over and these muffins are packed with the flavors of the season.

If you happen to have it, I highly recommend using butternut squash puree instead of pumpkin puree. I like the flavor better and the color actually offers a brighter hue to the finished muffin. And who wouldn't welcome a bit more brightness in the cold of winter?

Pumpkin-Cream Cheese Muffins

For the main batter:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups butternut squash or pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
For the cream cheese swirl:
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Place paper baking cups into a muffin pan. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, pumpkin spice, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the pureed squash or pumpkin, cup of granulated sugar, and brown sugar.

Beat in the eggs, canola oil, and vanilla extract. Slowly mix in the flour mixture until smooth. Fill the muffin cups about three-quarters full.

To make the cream cheese swirl, beat the cream cheese in a medium bowl until smooth. Add in the quarter cup of granulated sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla extract and beat until well combined.

Top each muffin cup with about 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture and use a toothpick to swirl it into the batter.

Bake the muffins in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

  • Yields: 12 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

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