My flight out of Calgary was a bit delayed yesterday, which meant that I had time to stop for a beverage/dinner pre-boarding. Conveniently, there was a Starbucks about 10 ft away from my gate so that’s where I ended up. No sooner did I join the line of people addicted to overpriced drinks than I saw THE sign. You know, the one advertising the return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte, and of course, the new Toffee Latte. Or something like that. I debated over beverage choices, and while I was ordering my $5.49 Vivanno smoothie (aka dinner), I noticed that their pumpkin cream cheese muffins were also back. Or maybe they never left the Calgary airport? I was too tired from my spontaneous jaunt through the airport to pay attention to the details, apparently.
Total sidenote, but how is it even possible that someone thinks they can get away with flying with knives in their carry-on bags?!?! Thanks to those kind souls who considered it their national duty to ensure that the metal detectors at the security check-point do in fact work, I began my training for my 5K race at the airport. Awesome.
So back to the muffins. I don’t particularly like Starbucks baked goods, and besides, the Scottish in me has a hard time paying $2.95 for a muffin (why does airport food always cost more?!?!). However, I do love all things pumpkin (except for pumpkin pie), and said to myself “Jaclyn, you can make muffins that taste better! And then you can blog about them!”
I didn’t say that outloud by the way. I try to avoid talking to myself in public places, especially airports. It tends to make everyone by the gate uncomfortable, and they all avoid eye contact as if acting captivated by something else will make you sit as far away from them as possible.
I’m not speaking from experience, of course.
After that mini-conversation, I Googled a Starbucks clone recipe as a starting point, and then healthified and personalized it a bit. Cause you know, I’m the Modern Day Martha after all.
I’ll stop talking now.
Go ahead and grab the following:
Flour (I used all-purpose + spelt), cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt, baking soda, eggs, brown sugar, white sugar, canola oil, applesauce, vanilla, cream cheese, icing sugar, and salted pumpkin seeds. Whew! I practically need a nap after pulling out all of the ingredients.
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees, and line a muffin tin with 10 liners.
Measure out the dry ingredients first:
* 1.5 c of flour – I used 3/4 c each of spelt flour and all-purpose flour, but you can use any combination of AP, whole-wheat, spelt, etc. I think I’m going to try baking with quinoa flour next.
* 1/2 tsp each of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and baking soda
* 2 t of pumpkin pie spice.
Next, the wet ingredients:
* 1 c canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling. I’ve made that mistake before, and never will again.)
* 2 eggs
* 1/2 c white sugar
* 1/2 c brown sugar
* 5T applesauce
* 5T canola oil
*1 t vanilla
Something about brown sugar makes me want to build sandcastles. Anyone know what I mean?
Before we combine the wet and the dry ingredients, we should make the cream cheese filling. I used 1/2 a block of cream cheese for 10 muffins and found that they could have used more cream cheese filling, so I suggest you use up to a full 8-oz block if you want to live dangerously.
I also added 2T of icing sugar and about 1/2 t of vanilla since I like things on the sweet side, but I suppose you could leave that out. Oh, and I used full-fat cream cheese. It’s what I had in the fridge, and besides, I don’t like baking with the low-fat stuff. It’s against my religion.
Hey, I said these were HEALTHIER, not healthy. Everyone needs a break from steel-cut oats and tofu now and then.
Smoosh the cream cheese, icing sugar, and vanilla together…
Put the cream cheese mixture into a piping or Ziploc bag for a few minutes while the muffins are finished.
Whisk the wet ingredients together, and pour them over the dry ingredients.
Stir gently to combine everything. Don’t overmix your muffins or else I will hunt you down and make you repent of your muffin making sins!
In all seriousness though, over-mixing your baked goods makes them tough, so please be gentle!
Do you have one of these?
It’s a disher/portion scoop, and if you don’t have one or 12 of these, please buy a few ASAP. I suggest you buy at least 3 of them in varying sizes. It will make baking muffins and cookies and meatballs and truffles beyond easy, which will make your stomach sing and your lovehandles rebel.
I still think its worth it though.
Now, I’m about to show you what I did, and give you a variation on what you can do. Pay attention please; it’s for your own good.
I scooped the batter into 10 paper-lined muffin tins like so:
And then squeezed a small portion of the cream cheese filling onto each one…
I know it doesn’t look appetizing. Sorry. Stick with me; it gets better. I promise.
I used my fingers a spoon to push the cream cheese filling down and cover it with the pumpkin batter as best I could without making a royal mess.
If I had had more time (HA!), I would have made 10 portions of the cream cheese filling and frozen them so they could be pushed into the batter easily. If you don’t have the time and have an aversion to using your fingers when you cook, you could always fill each muffin cup half-full, drop the cream cheese in, and then cover with more batter. There are multiple routes to pumpkin cream cheese muffin bliss, my friends. Just because I like to choose the most complicated way of doing something, but that doesn’t mean that you have to.
Sprinkle some salted and roasted pumpkin seeds on top of each muffin before sliding them into the oven. This will give a bit of textural interest, and help you use up the 38 bags of random things you have in your pantry.
Once again, I am not speaking from experience.
Twenty-two minutes later, look what happened:
The hardest part of making these muffins is giving them a few minutes to cool before eating.
I AM speaking from experience on that one.
Wanna see what they look like, up close and personal?
An interior shot, for your viewing pleasure:
See what I mean about the cream cheese filling? Next time I’m making double the amount of filling.
Speaking of next time, I’m going to go bake another batch of these right now. You know, for research purposes. Why wait on a good thing?
(P.S. I just made batch #2 and found the original amount of cream cheese filling to be perfect for 12 muffins. Weird I know. I must have somehow picked the one muffin with the lowest amount of filling to photograph earlier. Smaller muffins = better ratio of muffin to cream cheese. I changed my mind about the doubling after all! )