But if she's got no fireplace? Well, the next obvious choice is to bake. Throw together some tasty treat and curl up next to that warm oven.
Let's be honest...It's really not the same. Fireplaces, preferably wood-burning, are in a league of their own in terms of providing warmth (both in temperature and in ambiance) to a home. But I truly enjoy baking and Ryan enjoys the fruits of my baking. And as far as it being a thing girls do...many men enjoy baking, and I hope they enjoy the luscious morsel I'm going to share with you today.
Say "hello" to Pumpkin Cream Cheese Crumble Muffins.
This combination came to me over the course of the last week. Our dear friend from church, Janet, made this recipe from Country Living - Pumpkin and Cream Cheese Muffins - for our small group. I ate two at small group and took two more home for breakfast the next day. Seriously...they were delicious.
Then yesterday my co-worker told me about a pumpkin streusel muffin that she got from a local bakery. With topping like an apple pie, but on a pumpkin muffin. That got my wheels a-turnin'.
Could the rich creaminess of the cream cheese muffin be paired with the crumbly sugary
streusel goodness?? This could go down in history along with a long line of famous duos -
Lavern and Shirley
Lucy and Desi
Jack and Jill (haven't you heard?? They went up the hill)
Kermit and Miss Piggy
Scrambled eggs and cheese
Case and IH
Peanut Butter and M&Ms (now what we call Peanut Butter M&Ms)
Oh yes. This could be monumental. This could be providential. This could be epic.
It is MTB - Meant to Be.
A disclaimer - This is a multi-bowl recipe. I know. I know. My heart sank, too, when I thought about the clean up of multiple bowls. But it's worth it. That's all I'm sayin'.
Below is the recipe I used. It is tweaked from the Country Living recipe. (I should mention that the CL recipe does include a small crumb topping, but not enough in my opinion.)
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Crumble Muffins (AKA Sweet Nectar of Heaven)
(Makes 24 muffins)
8 oz cream cheese (softened)
2 cups + 3 Tbsp. white sugar
2 cups flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cups solid-packed pumpkin
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Crumb Topping -
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup. whole oats
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
5 Tbsp. butter
Pecan pieces to taste (optional)
Here we go...
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease muffin tins (I substituted an angel food cake pan for one of the muffin tins to make a coffee cake) with oil.
In a small bowl beat the cream cheese, one egg, and 3 Tbsp. sugar until smooth. Set aside. In a large bowl combine the white sugar, flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and 2 tsp. cinnamon. In a separate bowl (this is the multi-bowl part I was talking about) beat 2 eggs with the pumpkin, oil, and vanilla. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture and mix with a fork until moistened.
Fill each muffin cup using half of the pumpkin batter. Then spoon a dollop (that's exact) of the cream cheese mixture into each muffin cup. Use a knife or toothpick to swirl the pumpkin and cream cheese briefly...no mixin' here. We just want to swwwiiiirrrllll...
Top with the remaining pumpkin mixture.
Next combine the flour, brown sugar, oats, cinnamon for the crumb topping. Using a pastry blender (or fork or potato masher or your chewed-off finger nails...basically, whatever you've got) cut in the butter. Add pecans if desired.
Add crumb topping to the muffins...
Throw 'em in the prepared oven for about 15 minutes. The original recipe said 20-25. I took mine out at 17 minutes and they were a bit more done than I'd like. I would check them at least at 13 minutes just to ensure these precious gems don't get too done.