Happy October, everyone! I'm loving this fall weather and everything else related to the new season. Hot cider and colorful leaves are some of my favorite things! Pumpkin flavored things are starting to appear EVERYWHERE and while I'm not as big of a fan of pumpkin (shocking, I know), it's been growing on me, so I knew I had to have some pumpkin treats in store. My sister is a huge fan of literally everything with pumpkin (actually, the only pumpkin-flavored food she hasn't liked is pumpkin Greek yogurt...I can't blame her, that sounds kinda weird to me), so last year she stocked up on canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie filling. Seriously. This girl went on a major pumpkin shopping spree once the supermarket started selling them for 99 cents a can. I think we're gonna be good on pumpkin for a very, very, very, long time.
It's a good thing she ended up buying so much canned pumpkin; it actually came in very handy! Pumpkin cravings were satisfied with ease throughout the year, once canned pumpkin couldn't be found as easily in stores. My sister started making pumpkin pies (the recipe will be coming eventually!), slicing them up, and freezing the individual slices to enjoy as snacks for later. I prefer having pumpkin in muffin-or-some-other-kind-of-bread form, so muffins were my choice when I decided to bake something with pumpkin. I knew that to make them "extra-good," a cinnamon crumb topping would be necessary. And cheesecake filling!? Geez. Too good. These muffins ended up being my favorite pumpkin treats to date. Seriously, I never thought I'd say something like that, but it's true!
Like all muffin recipes should be, these muffins were no trouble at all to make. The batter comes together in just a couple whirls of your electric mixer (or a few quick stirs, if you prefer to bake by hand), and the cheesecake filling and crumble topping are also ridiculously easy to make. I'm being super serious here! These muffins could be whipped up in a matter of minutes if you have everything on hand and stocked away in your kitchen pantry/fridge. I'll be honest, that was one of the main reasons I chose to make this recipe (I was debating between a couple of recipes, but this one won because I didn't have to go out to the supermarket to buy anything extra, and by now you should now that I get lazy about having to go to the supermarket to buy an ingredient for a recipe...). I hoped for the best when I was making it, and in the end, I was so glad I ended up choosing it, even if it hadn't been done on purpose!
These little pumpkin muffins are perfect, in every sense of the word. They were nice and fluffy, and had mild pumpkin flavor to them, which was nice, because I personally don't like it when one flavor overpowers the rest (especially pumpkin...I'm still learning to appreciate it!). The pumpkin flavor was definitely noticeable, but it only came across as subtle hints every now and then. If you prefer a stronger pumpkin flavor, I'm sure you could increase the amount of pumpkin puree that the recipe calls for without having too much trouble. If anyone tries this, let me know how the muffins come out! I loved the little cheesecake bit at the top of the muffin; combined with the cinnamon crumb topping, it helped give the pumpkin muffins the perfect amount of additional sweetness. Perfection!
Get ready for a few more pumpkin, fall, and Halloween-inspired posts, they're coming soon! But in the meantime, make yourself a batch of pumpkin cheesecake muffins. Seriously, you should. Enjoy!
Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins
recipe adapted slightly from Sugar Cooking
For the Cheesecake Filling
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tablespoon flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
For the Pumpkin Muffins
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
For the Crumb Topping
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons cold butter, in pieces
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and position a rack in the middle of the oven. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
To prepare the cheesecake filling, whisk together the cream cheese, egg, flour, and granulated sugar in a bowl, mixing until well blended and smooth. Set aside. To make the filling, simply combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl, and then with a pastry blender (or two knives, or even your fingers), cut in the butter, just until the mixture begins to form small crumbs. Transfer the crumb topping to refrigerator while you prepare the muffins.
To prepare the muffins, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda together in a medium bowl. In the bowl of a standard electric mixer, combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree, and oil. Mix on medium-low speed until just blended. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients, mixing only until just incorporated.
To assemble the muffins, fill each muffin cup about 2/3 of the way full with the pumpkin batter. Add about a tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture on top of the muffins, and evenly sprinkle the crumb topping over all the muffins. Bake the muffins until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Allow the muffins to cool slightly in the muffin tins before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!
Makes about 18 muffins