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Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Tender Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins are modeled after a seasonal coffeeshop favorite — but easy enough to make at home.

Over the summer, I thought I found the house — the one that would house my family for the next decade. It would be our own canvas for memories and dreams. But things didn’t work out.

That feels a bit like 2020 in a nutshell.

But life isn’t always like that. And it won’t always be like this. Sure, sometimes things don’t work out. But other times they do — so well. Like moving to Maine in the first place: that was something that really, really worked out. I have to believe there will be much more that works out as it should — not just in terms of a house, but in terms of life as well.

Plus, moving to Maine brought me an appreciation for Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins, so that’s pretty good too.

When we moved to Maine, I was introduced to the Tim Horton’s chain of coffee shops. It’s a Canadian favorite that’s made its way south into the United States — and with it has come a seasonal favorite: Pumpkin muffins.

I can’t remember what it was that attracted me to the pumpkin muffins first. Was it seeing them on a sign? Watching one of my writers eat one daily? Whatever it was, when I tried one, I was hooked.

Pumpkin muffins are filled with a sweet cream cheese filling and then topped with pepitos — shelled, roasted, salted pumpkin seeds — before baking. It’s the perfect combination of sweet, savory and seasonal.

And that, my friends, was the inspiration behind these muffins. I loved them so much, I decided to make my own Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins.

These are easy to make too. You will need three bowls, but aside from the extra dishes, you can whip these up in less than 45 minutes. And they are great hot from the oven or at room temperature.

You’ll need pumpkin puree, of course, and that’s been in short supply lately. Fortunately, it’s easy to make your own pumpkin puree (and it tastes great too!). You could even make a big batch and freeze some for other delightful pumpkin dishes like pumpkin pecan bars or pumpkin cookies.

Things might not be ideal right now. There are challenges at every level of life — from how we work to how we school to how we celebrate holidays. But things will get better eventually. They have to. And in the meantime, make the most of where you are, who you’re with and what you’re doing. Maybe you could even use this as a canvas for those memories, making muffins together.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Yield: 12 muffins
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Tender pumpkin muffins have a sweet dollop of cream cheese and a pepitas topping, making these baked goods a delightful morning treat.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 oz cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • ¼ cup roasted pepitas, if desired

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a muffin tin with 12 spots with muffin liners.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, brown sugar, pumpkin puree, oil and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin liners. Don’t be afraid to fill the cups to the top.
  5. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the cream cheese and sugar. Divide evenly among the muffins, dolloping on top. Sprinkle the tops with pepitas, if desired.
  6. Place the muffins in the preheated oven and cook until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (15-20 minutes). Let cool before serving.
  7. Store in a cool, dry place.

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