Monday, November 5, 2007


Here's a great recipe using my spiced pecan and pumpkin butter.  These muffins are light, full of flavor and luscious.  A real fall treat.  If you decide to make these with plain pumpkin puree, you'll have to make major adjustments with seasonings and sweeteners.

Pecan Pumpkin Butter-Cheesecake Muffins
Rating:  9.5 out of 10

8 oz. Neufchatel cheese (or regular cream cheese)
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. cornstarch

3/4 cup whole-wheat flour (I used King Arthur, and it's so light I really think the entire 1-1/2 cups of flour could be whole-wheat)
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup oil (or melted butter if you prefer)
1/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1-1/4 cups Pecan Pumpkin Butter
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Have all ingredients at room temperature before starting. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour muffin tins, or spray with flour-added non-stick cooking spray. For coated pans, spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray.

In medium bowl, with electric mixer, whip the cream cheese and sugar till fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat till combined. Stir in cornstarch.  Refrigerate while you prepare the muffin batter.

Measure flour by first aerating it with a whisk, then lightly spooning into measuring cup and leveling off with a spatual or knife.  Do not just dip the measuring cup into the flour, as this is one of the major causes of heavy muffins -- too much compacted flour.

In large mixing bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon till well combined. Set aside. In medium mixing bowl, whisk oil, sugar, eggs, pumpkin butter and flavorings till well combined. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the liquids all at once, stirring just till barely combined. Do not over mix, as this is the other major reason for heavy muffins -- too much mixing. Batter will be thick.

Spoon a few tablespoons of batter into prepared muffin cups. Spoon some cream cheese batter on top (about 1 heaping tablespoonful), then top with more muffin batter. The photo below shows the progression, from right to left.  I guess I was thinking Chinese.  You can also swirl the cream cheese batter if you prefer.

 Place muffins in oven and bake for about 18-22 minutes for dark or coated pans, longer for shiny pans. Check for doneness with toothpick. When it returns with just a few crumbs, take the muffins out and let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, the muffins should release easily and should be placed on a rack to finish cooling. Yield: 12 standard muffins.

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