I've always been extremely competitive. If someone
claimed claims to do something better than I, you'd better believe I'll do my darnedest to prove otherwise.
I even find myself trying to move my cart around faster than the lady next to me in the grocery store and out-walk others on the sidewalk and in the mall. I can't help it.
When people started raving about the pumpkin cream cheese muffin at Starbucks, I took it upon myself to recreate it at home, and I think I did a really good job. Granted, I had to give Starbucks even more money than I normally do in a week's time in order to obtain a comparison sample, but it was a necessary evil.
These tasted great, especially considering I'm not what you'd call a pumpkin-lover. They looked a lot like the Starbucks version and, in retrospect, I should've saved the sample for side-by-side pictures rather than devour it. (Oops.) They were a little bit more pumpkin-y, which I obviously didn't like, but that was the only drawback. In making them myself, I got to adjust the spices to my tastes (and put extra cinnamon in the filling!), plus I knew exactly how long ago they'd been made and precisely who had touched them with their grubby little paws. (One never can tell...)
More perks, if you're feeling lazy (as I so often am):
*Skip the cream cheese filling altogether and just shmear them with it later.
*Mix the pepitas right into the batter or omit them completely.
*Turn the batter into a loaf or a (cream-cheese-frosted) cake (8x4-inch or 8x8-inch, respectively).
One last aspect of these that seals my victory over Starbucks in this
Anything-You-Can-Do-I-Can-Do-Better Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
For the muffins:
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- Scant 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds), optional as garnish
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Fill 10 muffin cups with paper liners or spray generously with non-stick spray.
Mix all dry muffin ingredients together.
Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry mix and stir just until mixed.
Spoon mixture into muffin cups, filling each at least 3/4 full--we want a nice dome on these!
To make the filling, beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and cinnamon with a hand mixer until thoroughly combined and smooth. Push or squirt about 1 tablespoon of cream cheese filling into each muffin such that a little circle of cream cheese still shows on top.
Sprinkle pepitas along the edges of each muffin, pressing in slightly.
Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, turning halfway through. The cream cheese may brown a bit, but that's okay
Let cool in muffin tins for 10 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack to complete cooling.