Thursday, July 21, 2011

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins with Pecan Streusel

To every 10 year old child within a 40-mile radius of my house,

I know you think those rolling skatey shoes are super cool.  It's probably kind of like taking the moving sidewalk (also known as a travelator, but I'm guessing that wasn't on your 5th grade vocab list) at the airport when everyone else has to walk.  If I were you I would probably think they were "the bomb" as well.  I mean, I like to take pictures of my friends crashing into displays at Target and post them on the internet too. However, no offense, but you look kinda dumb.  Also you're not making a great case for lowering the driving age to eleven.  And plus, since I write my local governor daily urging him to pass a law outlawing these maniacal shoes, that have almost claimed my life twice, I'm pretty sure they will soon be illegal as well.  I sympathize with you.  Really I do.  But cut your losses and scrap the shoes immediately.  Maybe your mom will buy you some super awesome toning shoes instead.


PS- Have a muffin

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

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
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the cream cheese filling, mix together the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar until smooth in a medium bowl. 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.

Using frozen mixture will  keep the cream cheese dollop nicely in the middle once cooked instead of melting into the batter and disappearing.  It's worth the wait, I promise.

(It may be easiest to use clean fingers to just press the cream cheese into a long rectangle shape.  It is super sticky stuff but no one cares what it looks like.  Just get that baby in the freezer.)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line a muffin tin with paper liners, or grease; set aside.

Combine pecan streusel ingredients in a medium bowl, and use a fork to combine flour, sugar, pecans, butter, and cinnamon. Set aside.

Whisk together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, pumpkin, eggs, oil, and vanilla. 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.

Remove the cream cheese from the freezer, and divide it into 12 1-inch slices. (Start by cutting right in the center, then cut each half in the center again, then divide each piece into thirds.  This is the easiest way to get equal pieces.)

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. Sprinkle the pecan streusel on top of each muffin. Press on the streusel lightly to make sure it adheres to the batter.

(Here's your procedure from L to R- Batter, Cream cheese round, More batter, Streusel topping.  At the end they should all end up like the streusel topped ones on the right...)

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.  Surprisingly these also freeze alright.  To warm a frozen muffin, microwave 30 seconds on high and let sit for 1 minute after cooking.

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