½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ¾ cups sugar
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small cubes
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ cup Oats
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons salt plus an extra pinch
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
15-ounce can pumpkin puree
1 cup vegetable oil
½ cup milk
A little known fact about me is that I am part reptile. Or at least my husband is convinced I am and honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if that were true. My favorite time of year is mid-summer when it’s brutally hot. Everything about the sun and heat makes me happy and I try to spend at least a few minutes each day on our super comfy patio just turning my face up to the sun and totally relaxing.
This year was challenging for me since we were planning our wedding. Most days in late summer were spent in the garage or basement spray painting and glittering décor. I was rewarded with an amazing honeymoon to Antigua where we spent 9 days sleeping on the beach, drinking frozen cocktails and eating Caribbean style cuisine. We stayed at a tiny resort called Coco’s where every employee knows your name and you stay in private cottages overlooking the ocean. How could I not be happy? I am totally convinced that this is the place they take all of our desktop background pictures,
I was one happy wife…that is until we returned home and were totally punched in the face by Mother Nature. Rain, cold, wind, snow….Summer is officially gone for the next 8 months, sigh.
There is only one thing that can ease the symptoms of this disgusting weather and that’s the return of PUMPKIN EVERYTHING! I swear every year there are more products out there with the promise of pumpkin heaven, some deliver, some make me want to cry and move to Hawaii to wait out the Winter. One recipe I’ve held on dearly to is this one for Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins with a crunchy streusel topping. It’s everything a muffin the size of your head should be. It’s the type of muffin that when paired with a hot cup of coffee, almost makes cold mornings tolerable.
I’m not going to lie, each one of these muffins could knock out a small bear if thrown and probably has enough calories to sustain both you and the bear throughout winter but they are so good it doesn’t even matter. In a season filled with multiple layers and thick, cozy sweaters who’s going to notice if you down a couple of these bad boys to get you through the tough times. Or I suppose share them with someone you really love but I haven’t figured out how to do that yet.
Now if you will excuse me, this reptile must start an immediate search for a sun lamp…or figure out how to put myself into hibernation. And if you’re like me and need to get out of this crazy weather, check out Coco’s Resort, Antigua…and tell the staff that Spicy Sam says hello.
Enjoy and stay warm!
- Preheat your oven to 375. Spray a jumbo muffin tin with cooking spray or wipe with butter and dust with flour
- Mix together soft cream cheese, vanilla extract, and ½ cup sugar in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In another bowl combine ½ cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, ¼ oats, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and a pinch of salt in a small bowl. Using your fingers crumble the butter cubes into the flour mixture until the pieces of butter are well distributed. Work quickly to keep the butter from melting on your fingers. Set aside.
- Combine remaining 3 cups flour, 1 ¾ cups sugar, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together eggs, pumpkin, oil, and milk in a medium bowl; stir egg mixture into flour mixture just until moist.
- Fill each cup about 1/3 of the way up with the pumpkin batter. (An ice cream scoop works well for this) Add about 1 tablespoon reserved cream cheese mixture on top of this layer then, top with another scoop of pumpkin batter. Finish by sprinkling a tablespoon of streusel topping on top of the pumpkin and lightly pat down with your hand
- Bake 25 to 28 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then run a butter knife around the perimeter of the muffin and gently lift out. Let finish cooling on a wire rack.