Someone inform Mother Nature that it is officially autumn. She’s clearly confused.
And hush, you summer people. You have had months to enjoy being sticky with sweat and baking under the sun and we have tolerated you. Your time is over. The rise of the fall folk has arrived. We are ready for crisp air, hot cider and crunchy leaves.
^Me, emerging at the end of summer to bask in the beauty of autum^
The day before Friday Night on the Square, I made my first pumpkin-something. I’m not one of the pumpkin spice latte acolytes, but I love pumpkin pie and other pumpkin-y desserts, especially in the fall. It just so happened that Awareness Washington County needed desserts for their cake walk and as a graduate, it only seemed fitting to whip something up.
I might be a pumpkin fiend during the fall, but I’m a cheesecake lover all year long. These Pumpkin Cream Cheese Swirl Muffins from The Novice Chef is the perfect marriage of the two. They come out moist (*twitches at having to use that word, but there really isn’t a better one*) and delicious they stay that way for a few days if they’re kept properly — airtight in the refrigerator. I could only fit 13 into the pan I was using for the Awareness booth, which left five muffins for me. Noooo complaints.
Start with mixing flour, pumpkin spice, baking soda and salt until well combined and then, in another bowl, do the same with some pumpkin puree, brown sugar and white sugar. Beat in eggs, oil and vanilla before slowly whisking in the flour mixture. Fill the muffin tins about 3/4 of the way full.
Now, these would be delicious on their own. If you’re not a cheesecake fan or you don’t have the ingredients on hand and don’t feel like going to the store or you have a dairy allergy or intolerance, you can fill the muffin tins fuller and just end up with fewer muffins. As I didn’t do this, I don’t know how this would change the baking time, but I’d say around 15 minutes or so.
If you’re running in the cheesecake swirl world, combine room-temperature cream cheese with sugar, an egg yolk and vanilla and beat until smooth. Drop spoonfuls of this into your partially filled muffin pans and take a toothpick and swirl the cheesecake mixture into the pumpkin mixture. This will look lumpy and unattractive, but it will bake prettier.
Bake these for 18 to 20 minutes at 375ºF or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let them cool (or even chill them) and enjoy!