Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pumpkin and Cream Cheese Muffins with Pecan Streusel

We're in Minneapolis for Thanksgiving weekend as well as our little nephew's baptism tomorrow! We are honored to become his godparents! For the family brunch following the baptism, my mother-in-law asked me to make something for a side dish. I can never get enough pumpkin, even around Thanksgiving, so my mind immediately wandered to pumpkin muffins. After a quick search through some favorite food blogs, I found this recipe and I thought it sounded perfect. Even better was that I could make it days ahead (Tuesday evening since we were traveling late Wednesday) and store it in the fridge (including a night in the trunk of the car where they froze) and just heat them up prior to serving them! They are a little high maintenance for muffins, but it is totally worth it! The trick to getting them to come out of the oven properly is to have already made the cream cheese center and have it frozen when you want to add it to the batter in the muffin cups. I did this the night before and let it freeze a whole day since I had to work all day and needed to make the muffins as soon as I got home. This also cuts down on the actual prep to finish time on baking day. I doubled the recipe to accommodate for more people coming to this brunch. I can't vouch for anyone else but me and Bryan, but these muffins are seriously amazing and are going to begin to make regular appearances in my kitchen!

Pumpkin and Cream Cheese Muffins with Pecan Streusel
from Brown Eyed Baker

Yield: 12 muffins

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Inactive Prep Time: 2 hours | Bake Time: 20 minutes
For the Cream Cheese Filling:
4 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
½ cup powdered sugar
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Streusel:
½ cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup pecans, roughly chopped
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the Muffins:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
5 ounces (½ cup + 2 tablespoons) vegetable oil
1. Make the cream cheese filling: For the Cream Cheese Filling: In a medium bowl, stir together the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Add the vanilla, and stir to combine. Form the mixture into a 12-inch log on a piece of plastic wrap, wrap it, and freeze it for at least two hours.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners; set aside.
3. Make the Pecan Streusel: In a medium bowl, use a fork to combine the flour, sugar, pecans, butter, and cinnamon. Set aside.
4. Whisk together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, pumpkin, eggs, oil, and vanilla.
6. Pour the pumpkin mixture over the dry ingredients. Use a rubber spatula to gently combine the batter, mixing just until the dry ingredients are moistened.
7. Remove the cream cheese from the freezer, and divide it into 12 1-inch slices.
8. Scoop a small amount of batter into the muffin cups. Place 1 slice of the cream cheese log right in the center of each cup, then fill with the remaining batter.
9. Sprinkle the pecan streusel on top of each muffin. Press on the streusel lightly to make sure it adheres to the batter.
10. Bake until golden, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, and then remove muffins to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Let them come to room temperature before serving, or warm briefly in the microwave to take the chill off.

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