Monday, October 13, 2014

Easy Frosted Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Tender roasted pumpkin, flavored with pumpkin spiced cheese in both the batter and as frosting, make these muffins an easy Fall treat.

I'm bursting with Fall here. As I sit writing this, I've spent the weekend visiting a Pioneer Harvest Festival, hiking with the family to see the changing leaves, and enjoying our little city's Fall Festival--complete with the high school marching band playing for the Costume Parade. [My daughter counted 12 Elsas, 6 Annas, and 3 Olafs--characters from Frozen if you've been under a rock or deployed--in the parade. Our town is only 2 square miles! I suspect I'll be overrun with Frozen characters for trick or treating, and plan to require a song in exchange for candy. I'll sing along.]
Although I hate to fill up the blog with extraneous photos, I'd like you to join me in the Fall frame of mind. Here's a few of my spouse's finest photos from this weekend:
This lovely man taught us about the Case Thresher, then we watched it in action. Wow.

With all this Fall-ness abounding, and because it's Monday and I like to celebrate Muffin Mondays, I thought it was time to share this recipe for Easy Frosted Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins. At the end of the previous All Things Pumpkin season [have you seen the current Fearless Flyer from Trader Joes? Oh, my!] I picked up a container of pumpkin spice soft spreadable cheese because it had a Magical Markdown sticker on it. I make so many impulse purchases in the grocery store due to Magical Markdown stickers, like this Pork Steak, Salsa Verde and Oaxaca Cheese Pizza. The brand of cheese I used is Alouette, but use whatever you can find where you live. There's even a recipe for muffins in the package--but once I saw that their muffins contained no pumpkin, and used a box of cake mix . . . well, I decided to go in a different direction--but kept the frosting part because it's part of the fun of the cheese.

This recipe calls for pumpkin puree. My Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share and my stubbornly independent garden [I swear if it could talk, the garden would say 'don't tell me what to grow--you're not the boss of me!'] provide a more-than-ample supply of pumpkins, so I rarely buy the cans of pure pumpkin but they work great as well. Here's how I process my pumpkins into roasted puree to use throughout the year. For other recipes using pumpkin, including more muffins, please see my collection of Pumpkin Recipes.

Easy Frosted Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
This is adapted from the Whole Wheat Applesauce Muffin recipe from Muffins: A Cookbook (Amazon affiliate link) by increasing the baking temperature, decreasing the baking time, decreasing the oil, swapping milk for pumpkin spice cream cheese, swapping applesauce for pumpkin and increasing the amount, decreasing the brown sugar, swapping half the whole wheat for unbleached flour, and frosting the tops.

1 cup roasted pumpkin (here's how I roast and put up my pumpkin crop)
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 6 ounce container spiced pumpkin soft spreadable cheese, divided (I used Alouette)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
⅓ cup brown sugar
1 cup (4 ounces by weight) whole wheat flour
1 cup (4¼ ounces by weight) unbleached all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 12 hole muffin pan with vegetable oil spray (or line with papers, your choice). In a large bowl whisk together the pumpkin, oil, half a container of cheese, vanilla, egg, and brown sugar (as shown above).  Toss the whisk into the sink, as you don't need it again. Dump the dry ingredients on top, and stir until just combined. Scoop** into a prepared muffin pan. Bake for 15 minutes, then cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack.  Serve warm or at room temperature, and use the remaining cheese as frosting.  My kids frosted their own muffins as an after school snack.

**My scoop holds 3 Tablespoons (1½ ounces) by volume, though the muffin batter is mounded in the scoop so I'm pretty sure I'm putting a good 3½ Tablespoons into each muffin well.  The muffin wells in my regular muffin pans each hold 3 ounces by volume.
Behind the scenes--a North-facing window with bright daylight results in a really blown out photo. I could have used some dark foam board to cut the light. And I still really miss Wee Oliver Picklepants. 
This post is shared with Tasty TuesdaysWhat's Cookin' WednesdayFresh Foods Wednesday, Clever Chicks Blog Hop


  1. I think you will always miss Wee Oliver. He's the missable type. I still think about Max all the time too, especially when the young ones are off gallivanting. I know Max would have been chilling inside with me, relaxing.

    The festival sounds like a lot of fun. We're actually hoping to go for another hike here soon, once the Hubby is done with this quarter. Finals are next week. I just hope the leaves hang on until then. Keep those fingers crossed for me.

    1. Meghan,
      I think you're right. Some pets are more memorable than others, or burrow deeper into our hearts, or something.
      Speaking of hanging on leaves--here it is a day before Halloween and I walked past a tree with a healthy head (?) of green leaves. And red berries. No sign of turning--and it is a deciduous tree. I would hate to be staring at all the bare trees, watching the temperatures drop, knowing that more raking was in store.

  2. Sign me up for one of these, I'm definitely ready for pumpkin!! I love your changing leaves pics. Matt and I ventured to Massachusetts over the weekend and their leaves are in full change mode (unlike New York - we're not there quite yet). These muffins sound so tasty!

    1. Julie,
      I'm so jealous--I'd love to be in New England one fall to check out the leaves. I mean, I know they are pretty all over, but it would be nice to be there.

  3. These muffins are calling my name! Thanks for linking up with What's Cookin' Wednesday!

    1. Karly,
      If I spread more cream cheese on top, will it muffle the call a bit?
      Thanks for hosting!