I've been excited about fall for a while and trying to catch the feeling despite the summery weather. While I was gone, though, fall came. It even hopped down to the fifties, although it's back up. Nonetheless, it's officially fall around here now and I couldn't be more excited. Apples, pumpkin baked goods, and soups are now on the menu. So when it came time to make these muffins, chosen by Kelly, my mind went spinning thinking about what to do with the rest of that enormous can of pumpkin (think Mexican Winter Squash soup- coming soon!) I've also read that pumpkin puree freezes well in case you have extra. I had some left over cheese filling from Ina's cheese danishes, just the right amount of chopped pecans, and half a bag of white chocolate chips. I think, for once, things kind of fell into place.
The muffins themselves are quick and easy to put together. They have lots of delicious fall spices that are reminiscent of my soft Molasses Crinkles. The pumpkin flavor is subtle but warm and inviting. As for the chocolate on top... I couldn't find sunflower seeds at Safeway (seriously?) so my muffins just needed something so they looked less bare! Next time, I think I'll add more cinnamon, a little whole wheat flour, and count this as a "healthy" breakfast. With the right mixins (think nuts and fruit instead of chocolate!) I think I really could justify these in place of a bowl of oatmeal, if only for the wonderful autumn ambiance they bring to the table.
There's nothing like Tuesdays with Dorie- the perfect pick me up. Excuse me while I go bake something else. Thank goodness I have lots of neighbors and family to share with. Don't forget to check Kelly's blog for the recipe. I've included the recipe for the filling I used in a few of the muffins. I think I prefer the cheesecake muffins, although I really mostly prefer the Orange Berry Muffins. Either way, every muffin I've tried from Baking has been delicious- so pick up a copy already!
(Note- this makes enough for half a danish recipe- so just make a bit or use a little whipped up cream cheese you have on hand!)
4 oz Neufchatel (reduced fat) cream cheese, softened
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 Large egg or 1/4 Cup Egg Beaters, at room temperature
1 Tablespoon Ricotta (optional)
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
Pinch of Kosher salt
Combine all ingredients until smooth. Spoon or scoop muffin batter into prepared muffin pan, filling about halfway. Spoon a tablespoon of cream cheese filling on top and follow with a tablespoon of muffin batter. Bake according to recipe.
I'd also like to thank Nancy and Matt for these nice blog awards and for their kind words. They both have wonderful posts and are great reads you should check out!