Friday, October 31, 2014

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffins with Maple Cream Cheese Filling

Happy Halloween!! I am SO happy that it is finally here! My kids have been asking to go trick-or-treating pretty much every day since September when they do this crazy/awesome thing called Trick-or-Treat in the Heat here. 

You should have seen them this morning...they woke up super early, came in and jumped on me (waking me out of a deeeeep slumber - yay for me), and begged to put their costumes on. I don't usually wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (just ask my husband), but they were so super cute and excited, that I got up with them and joined the Halloween party parade. 

I wish I could say that our day started off with my favorite muffins of all time, these unbelievably delicious and moist pumpkin spice muffins with maple cream cheese filling, but no, my family devoured these waaay before Halloween. I'm going to make another batch later today and hide them in the freezer, but shhh...that can be our little secret. 

No, our morning started off with Cheerios and Rice Chex with Halloween sprinkles on top. Seriously, if you want your kids to think you are the coolest mom EVER, let them put sprinkles on their cereal.

I still can't get these muffins out of my mind so I am off to the kitchen to bake, while I keep the kids busy painting and drawing on our pumpkin. There will be no carving this year because someone left the pumpkin outside and now it is frozen solid. Oh well, the kids are still excited and my husband is pumped because he doesn't have to clean out the guts. I might have to leave the pumpkin outside every year...heehee!

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffins with Maple Cream Cheese Filling 
Servings: 18

Maple Cream Cheese Filling:
8 oz. block cream cheese (regular or reduced-fat), softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. imitation maple flavoring/extract (to taste)

Pumpkin Spice Muffins:
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp. pumpkin puree 
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt*
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup water
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 3/4 cups gluten-free flour blend (such as Cup4Cup which includes xanthan gum)**
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground ginger

(*Omit Greek yogurt if substituting all-purpose flour for the gluten-free flour blend.)

(**If your gluten-free flour blend does not include xanthan gum, then add additional xanthan gum according to the instructions on the package.)

To prepare the filling, mix the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and maple extract together until smooth. Transfer to a ziploc bag. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Snip the bottom corner off the ziploc bag. Pipe 20 dollops (~tbsp size) of the cream cheese mixture onto the baking sheet. Place in the freezer for at least 2 hours. 

To prepare the muffins, preheat the oven to 350°. Line muffin pans with cupcake liners. In the bowl a mixture fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the pumpkin, eggs, yogurt, oil, applesauce, water, sugar, and vanilla together on medium speed until smooth.

In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger together. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix until well blended, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed.

Place a small amount of batter in the bottom of each well (just enough to cover the bottom). Place the frozen dollop of cream cheese in the middle. Add remaining batter on top so that each well is ~2/3 full. Bake for 22-26 minutes or until the tops are cooked and feel firm to the touch. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Source: adapted from all recipes

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