PUMPKIN CREAM CHEESE MUFFINS with WALNUT STREUSEL - GLUTEN FREE

Fall is here and with its arrival comes pumpkin spice fever.  There really is no way to get around the season without baking at least one thing with pumpkin and spice.  So this season, my answer to the pumpkin spice call was these pumpkin cream cheese muffins with walnut streusel.

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Over the years, my love for pumpkin has transformed from my former childhood hatred of it.  Growing up the only pumpkin food I ever knew was the frozen pumpkin pie my older sister always got to choose for our Thanksgiving & Christmas celebrations- which I was not a fan of at all.  There was just something about it that never worked for me.  Now that I have grown up and have the opportunity to experience all manner of food in my own kitchen, I have learned to love pumpkin along with what seems like everybody else in the world.

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In my pumpkin experimenting, I have found that one of my favorite ways to enjoy pumpkin is with cream cheese.  The way that the tart and savory cream cheese compliments the warmth of the pumpkin and its accompanying spices is just perfect. So combining pumpkin and cream cheese into muffins was the best choice because muffins are one of my favorite things and for good reason-  muffins are quick to pull together and you end up with perfect portions that are easy to eat on the go or share with friends and family.

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Since developing this recipe, I have learned of a very famous muffin that much resembles this one. And it just so happens that one of my closest friends used to work where these infamous pumpkin cream cheese muffins are sold.  After sharing the pumpkin cream cheese muffins from our kitchen with my friend, she was ecstatic to inform me that these were so much better than the infamous ones.  She specifically pointed out that the infamous ones are just way too sweet and artificial tasting, where as the ones from our kitchen had the perfect amount of sweetness and tasted natural.  I, of course, was so excited to hear her pumpkin cream cheese muffin testimony, as I strive to make sweets natural and lower in sugar without sacrificing any flavor or deliciousness.

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These pumpkin cream cheese muffins answer the fall pumpkin spice call and then some. The walnut streusel topping adds just the right amount of texture to the tender muffins and the smooth cream cheese. These muffins have definitely become a favorite in our house and have won over the hearts of many friends and family.  So, if you only know pumpkin as a from the freezer section pie, as I once did, these muffins will open your mind to the possibility of falling in love with pumpkin along with everyone else in the world ;)

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PUMPKIN CREAM CHEESE MUFFINS

Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 310 g (2 1/4 cup) gluten free flour (see note below) [2 1/2 cups all purpose wheat flour may be substituted]
  • 10 g (1 tbsp) baking powder
  • 3 g (1/2 tsp) baking soda
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 140g (1 cup) mascobado sugar
  • 60g (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 105g (1/2 cup) buttermilk
  • 40g (1/4 cup) neutral cooking oil (we use avocado oil)
  • 10g (1tbsp) vanilla extract
  • (1) 15 oz can (or 1 1/2 cups) pumpkin puree
    CREAM CHEESE FILLING:
  • 6 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
    WALNUT STREUSEL:
  • 60g (1/2 cup) chopped walnuts
  • 70g (1/2 cup) flour
  • 35g (1/4 cup) mascobado sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 60g (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Instructions

  • Heat oven to 425 degrees & line a muffin tin with paper muffin liners
    FOR THE MUFFIN BATTER:
  • Mix flours, baking powder, baking soda, spices & salt in a bowl with a whisk
  • In a separate bowl combine the eggs & sugar, whisking until well combined- about 1 minute
  • Drizzle cool butter into eggs & sugar, whisk to combine - then add oil, buttermilk and vanilla & whisk to combine
  • Add pumpkin puree to wet mixture and whisk until well combined
  • Pour flour mixture into wet mixture & gently fold until no flour streaks remain (do not over mix)
    FOR THE FILLING:
  • Mix cream cheese & maple syrup together in a bowl until smooth
    FOR THE STREUSEL:
  • Mix walnuts, flour, sugar, cinnamon & salt together in a bowl
  • Drizzle melted and cooled butter over the mixture, tossing with a fork until the mixture turns to crumbles, breaking up any large clumps into smaller pieces
  • Place streusel in the refrigerator for 5 minutes to chill
    FINAL STEPS:
  • Fill each muffin well, evenly distributing the batter among all of the wells
  • Dip your index finger into a small dish of water and create a well in the center of each muffin for the cream cheese mixture
  • Fill each muffin center with 1 tbsp of the cream cheese mixture
  • Top each muffin with streusel, lightly pressing the streusel into the top of the muffins
  • Bake muffins for 17 minutes
  • Remove from oven and let cool in muffin tin set on a cooling rack

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