It’s almost autumn again, which means pumpkin season is almost here and it’s time to break out those delicious pumpkin recipes. And what goes better with pumpkin than cream cheese, nuts, and spices. These ingredients wonderfully compliment the earthy taste of pumpkin and make a pumpkin recipe special.
This recipe is for pumpkin cream cheese muffins. The muffin part is sweet and spicy, and each one contains a surprise in the center–a cheesecake-like filling. These muffins are easy to make, and as they bake, they’ll fill your home with the tantalizing aromas of cinnamon, ginger, and cloves, along with a hint of vanilla.
Fresh or canned pumpkin?
For this recipe, you can use canned solid-pack pumpkin or fresh pumpkin. Canned pumpkin is much easier and quicker, but you won’t get the same rich flavor that you’d get from fresh pumpkins that you prepare yourself.
Which type of fresh pumpkin to use
If you prefer to use fresh pumpkin, you’ll find that the flesh from small pie pumpkins is much sweeter and tastier than that from large pumpkins that are more suited for jack-o-lanterns. The texture of the pie pumpkins is also finer and not as grainy.
Pie pumpkins, sometimes called “sugar pumpkins,” are usually available from September through early December. You can often find them in your area’s grocery stores, but you might prefer buying from local producers at a farmers’ market.
How to select a pie pumpkin
The sweetest and creamiest of the pie pumpkin varieties include “Autumn Gold,” “Cinderella,” “Dickinson Field,” “Fairy Tale,” “Pik-a-Pie,” “Sugar Pie,” “Baby Pam,” “Small Sugar,” “Sugar Treat,” “Spooktacular,” and “Baby Bear.”
Generally speaking, pie pumpkins get sweeter as they age. Fruits fresh from the field or garden will often have bright, glossy shells. With older pumpkins, the shells will usually appear duller, but the flesh will be sweeter.
Choose a pumpkin that weighs between three and seven pounds. It should be free of bruises and blemishes. Be sure to check the bottom of the pumpkin for any soft spots. Also, resist the urge to carry your pumpkin by its stem–it’s not a handle. If the stem breaks off, the pumpkin will be vulnerable to diseases and decay.
How to prepare a fresh pumpkin
To use a fresh pumpkin, wash the shell well. Cut the pumpkin in half and remove the seeds, the stem, and the stringy parts. Place the pumpkin halves, cut side down, on a cookie sheet that has been lined with oiled aluminum foil. Bake at 325 degrees until the pumpkin is fork tender. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Remove the peeling and cut the flesh into chunks. Thoroughly mash the flesh until it’s smooth and lump-free.
What you’ll need:
- 8 ounces cream cheese 3 eggs
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
- 1/3 cup chopped pecans
- 3 tablespoons melted butter 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups pumpkin
- 1/3 cup cooking oil
- 1/2 cup molasses
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat two standard 12-cup muffin tins with baking
spray—the kind that includes flour works best.
- In a small mixing bowl, soften the cream cheese for a few seconds in the microwave. When cool, add one egg, four tablespoons of sugar, and 1⁄4 teaspoon of the vanilla. Mix well and set aside. This is for the filling.
- In a different bowl, mix together six tablespoons of the sugar, the pecans, 1⁄2 cup of flour, and the melted butter. Set aside. This is for the muffin topping.
- In a large bowl, mix the remaining flour and sugar, along with the cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt. Add two beaten eggs, the pumpkin, the oil, the molasses, and the remaining vanilla. Mix together with a fork until well blended. Evenly divide the mixture into two bowls.
- Use one bowl of the pumpkin batter to partially fill muffin cups.
- Place two teaspoons of the cream cheese mixture on top of the pumpkin batter in each muffin cup. Top with remaining pumpkin batter.
- Top each muffin with some of the pecan mixture.
- Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown. Cool on wire racks.
- This recipe makes 24 delicious pumpkin cream cheese muffins, the perfect addition to any autumn day!