Saturday, September 25, 2010

Cream Cheese Filled Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin Facts:
(pumpkin patch)
  1. A pumpkin is really a squash.
  2. Pumpkins contain potassium and Vitamin A.
  3. Pumpkin flowers are edible.
  4. The largest pumpkin pie ever made was over five feet in diameter and weighed over 350 pounds. It used 80 pounds of cooked pumpkin, 36 pounds of sugar, 12 dozen eggs and took six hours to bake.
  5. In early colonial times, pumpkins were used as an ingredient for the crust of pies, not the filling.
  6. Pumpkins were once recommended for removing freckles and curing snake bites.
  7. The largest pumpkin ever grown weighed 1,140 pounds.
  8. The Connecticut field variety is the traditional American pumpkin.
  9. Pumpkins are 90 percent water.
  10. Eighty percent of the pumpkin supply in the United States is available in October.
  11. Native Americans flattened strips of pumpkins, dried them and made mats.
  12. Native Americans called pumpkins "isqoutm squash." (Don't ask me how to pronounce this.)
  13. Native Americans used pumpkin seeds for food and medicine.
  14. It tastes really, really good in muffin form!!

    Cream Cheese Filled Pumpkins
    Adapted from:  Smitten Kitchen and Annie's Eats

    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin (not the whole can!)
    1/3 cup vegetable oil*
    2 large eggs
    1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice
    1 1/4 cups sugar
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt

    Cream Cheese Filling:
    4 oz. cream cheese, softened
    1/2 cup powdered sugar

    1/4 cup sugar
    1/8 cup and 1 tsp. flour
    2 tbsp. butter, cubed
    3/4  tsp. cinnamon
    Combine the cream cheese and powdered sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and whip until smooth.  Form into a log on plastic wrap or foil, making sure that the diameter is small enough to fit into the well of a muffin pan.  Wrap the log up tightly and freeze until slightly hardened, 1-2 hours. (I only left mine in for 20 minutes.  I recommend waiting just for the presentation of the muffin.  Taste-wise, it's not affected.) 

    Put oven in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Put liners in muffin cups. (I ran out :( )
    Whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs, pumpkin pie spice, 1 1/4 cups sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until smooth.

    Then whisk in flour and baking powder until just combined.

    To make the streusel topping, combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Mix together with a pastry blender or two forks until crumbly.

    Fill each muffin well halfway with batter. 

    Remove the cream cheese log from the freezer and slice into 12 equal slices.  Place a slice in each muffin well.  (Or plop, if you didn't freeze it all the way) Also, I added some butterscotch chips into some of mine, instead of using cream cheese for all of them.  It was also very delicious!

    Divide the remaining muffin batter evenly among the muffin cups, on top of the cream cheese.  Sprinkle the streusel topping over the top of the batter.   

    Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Let cool completely before serving.

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