A few weeks ago Ant informed me of his affinity for these popular coffee chain muffins.
I decided it would be rather nice of me to try to replicate them, so that he could grab one straight from the freezer whenever the craving struck.
A little "inside" information... I do not drink coffee. (Did I just hear audible gasps from some of you?)
It's true. I don't drink coffee in any form, so I have no need to frequent the Dunkin-Cosi-Bucks of the world.
Because of this, I have never had one of the mentioned muffins and had no idea what the heck I was making!
What happened next can only be explained by 1- either my immense love for my husband,
or 2- neurosis brought on by pregnancy. (Yea, I think it's probably #2 ; )
I hit up my favorite food site, Allrecipes, and narrowed my options down to 2 vastly different versions of the same muffin. So of course I did what any sane person would do... I experimented until I had more muffins than we could possibly eat! (that is what you would have done, right?)
In my own defense, I did try this recipe first in hopes that it would be "close enough", but was quickly informed that this version was "really good, but not quite cream cheesy enough".
So with that information, another recipe, and a little bit of "winging it" we ended up with this...
To make it simpler lets start with the "cake" part of the muffin (batter 1 & batter 2).
Muffin C is made with batter 1, the lighter and fluffier of the two. (very thick batter!)
Muffins A and B are made with batter 2, the denser and slightly more "pumpkin flavored" version.
Then we have the three fillings:
Filling A is a cube of straight cream cheese cut right from the block. This was the easiest to assemble, but had a more "sour" taste than what I was looking for. It also made the muffins tiny and sunken in the centers. (maybe something to do with it being on the cooler side?)
Filling B is cream cheese mixed with a splash of vanilla and a bit of powdered sugar. (I like to refer to it as Fluff.) This one didn't have exact amounts because I was kinda just throwing things together in order to get the right flavor, but if I had to guess I'd say 8oz cream cheese + 1/4 c. powdered sugar + 1/2 tsp. vanilla. You can easily adjust the amounts according to your personal tastes.
Filling C didn't seem to hold up as well as the other two. It may have had something to do with the fact that there was brown sugar and an egg mixed into the cream cheese. This was part of the recipe for batter 1 above.
The final verdict was that I needed to put batter 1, with filling 2,
and then added the streusel topping that goes with batter 1.
If you are trying to watch your figure and want to leave off the sugary topping,
then it is better to use batter 2 with filling 2.
Confused? I was too, but one thing that makes these muffins easier no matter the recipe is using ziploc bags to fill the muffin cups. Fill one with the pumpkin and another with the filling. Then you can put a small amount of batter to form a little well in each cup, squeeze the cream cheese into the well, and then cover everything with a small amount of pumpkin.
And here is our final recipe for the "good ones"...
(Did you really think I'd make it that hard on you?)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups canned pumpkin
1/3 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup powdwerd sugar
4 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons white sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease and flour 20 muffin cups, or use paper liners.
2. To make the filling: In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese until soft. Add vanilla and sugar. Beat until smooth, then set aside.
3. For the streusel topping: In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Add butter and cut it in with a fork until crumbly. Set aside.
4. For the muffin batter: In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Make a well in the center of flour mixture and add eggs, pumpkin, olive oil and vanilla. Beat together until smooth.
5. Place pumpkin mixture in muffin cups about 1/2 full. Then add one tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture right in the middle of the batter. Try to keep cream cheese from touching the paper cup. Sprinkle on the streusel topping.
6.Bake at 375 degrees F (195 degrees C) for 20 to 25 minutes.
Have any of you ever gone through this much trouble for a special recipe?