Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins

While opinions vary, my contention has always been that there are four genres of mystery: the Whodunnit, or classic mystery, Hard-boiled, Police Procedural, and the Cozy, the latter being my favorite.  A sub-genre of this genre (are you still with me?) is the culinary cozy, a variety of mystery that has enamored me since I read my first (though written too early - 1986 - to have been labeled as such), The Nantucket Diet Murders by the late Virginia Rich.  Titles and covers grab my attention first when book shopping, opening up this one and finding the end pages covered in recipes was all it took for me to make the purchase and then fall in love with the genre.  Since then I've tried to read every mystery that features recipes; it's not easy!  Michael Bond, Diane Mott Davidson, Joanne Fluke, Ellen Hart and Joanne Pence are among the writers in this ever-growing list, as well as relative newcomers like Krista Davis, Avery Aames, and Livia Washburn.  Rarely do I actually try one of the recipes, that is until now.  I've decided that not only will I read the mysteries, but also make at least one of the recipes from the book.

Today's selection is a seasonal one, The Pumpkin Muffin Murders by Livia J. Washburn.  I wanted to bake the entire time I read this novel.  Seriously, I could almost smell the pumpkin.  So I gave them a whirl this morning and was very pleased with the results.  I used a jumbo muffin pan, so instead of filling each well of batter with just one tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture, I used a 2 tablespoon-size cookie scoop and it worked out well.  I think the next time I may just make the indentation in each muffin a bit deeper and add even more.  I also tend to like raisins in pumpkin muffins (particularly those that have been soaked in 2 tablespoons of rum to loosen, err, plump them up), so will add them when I make these again.  What a wonderful fall breakfast they provided on the patio this morning!  The recipe is below with my comments in parentheses.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins
from The Pumpkin Muffin Murders by Livia J. Washburn

1 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened 
1 egg
3 T. brown sugar
1 t. vanilla extract

4-1/2 T. all-purpose flour
3 T. brown sugar
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 t. ground ginger
3 T. chopped pecans
3 T. butter

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1-1/3 cups canned pumpkin
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 F.  Grease and flour 18 muffin cups, or use paper liners (I sprayed with PAM and they came out of the pan with ease.). Fill any unfilled muffin cups with water (to promote even baking).

In a medium bowl, beat softened cream cheese until smooth. Add egg, brown sugar, and vanilla. Beat until mixed, then place bowl in freezer to set while making other ingredients. 

In a medium bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and pecans. Add butter and cut it in with a fork until crumbly. Set aside. 

Muffin batter: 
In a large bowl, blend flour, sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add eggs, pumpkin, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Beat together until well mixed. 

Place pumpkin mixture in muffin cups about 1/2 full. Take the cream cheese mixture out of the freezer and add 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture right in the middle of the batter in the muffin cups. Having the cream cheese mixture will help you keep the cream cheese from touching the edges. Sprinkle on the streusel topping. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes. (If using larger muffin pans, you may need to bake a bit longer.  Test for doneness with a toothpick.  Remove from oven and run a sharp knife around the edge of each muffin. Allow to cool in pan for ten minutes. Gently pry from pan with knife and place on wire rack to cool completely.)

NOTE: Use remaining pumpkin for pumpkin pie cocoa.
I was tickled pink to be able to add this antique medicine bottle to my collection of flower vases.  Just this morning it was unearthed by the guy who came out to grind down the last of the five stumps we had left from the uprooted trees.  I washed it, added zucchini leaves and a zinnia and had a lovely seasonal addition to my place setting.

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Scribbler said...

The muffins look sinful. I actually have made some of the recipes in DMD's books -- they were good as I recall.

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

This sound delicious! I'd probably throw in some toasted pecans too.

So Domesticated said...

Love anything pumpkin and cheesecake! These look delish!

Marigene said...

The muffins sound and look delicious...I would probably add a handful of walnuts.

print rulers said...

Well, The muffins sound and look delicious. Almost each and every dish I prepared in DMD's books, it is too much helpful for with lots of good ingredients.

Anonymous said...

I'm having coffee by the fire at the moment and would love to have one of those muffins. You can be sure I'm getting the ingredients today!

Alycia Nichols said...

Hi, Pattie! I think my husband would think twice and perhaps order a test on muffins from "The Pumpkin Muffin Murder"!!! They sound delicious, though. Beautiful photographs!!! Have a wonderful weekend, and happy reading!

kitty@ Kitty's Kozy Kitchen said...

The muffins look wonderful! I love that there's a filling & a topping...more to love! I'm visiting from Foodie Friday.

Babs said...

OMGosh those look delicious and I like your way of "plumping" the raisins. How neat that the stump grinder guy found the bottle! Love it. Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend.

Ramblings of a Southern Girl ~ Rhonda G said...

Oh, these look so yummy!!! I'm going to have to try these! Thanks for posting them! And I can identify with choosing a book by it's cover because it looks interesting! I do the same! :)

Thanks for coming by for a visit! ~~~Come Again!

a joyful noise said...

Both book and recipe are interesting! Adding the creamed cheese to a pumpkin muffin would just top it off. How delightful!

Tess said...

I like to read these books as well...I love mysteries "though I am an old-fashioned English mystery fan. I love the Joanna Pfluke ones and the "Goldie" ones.

These muffins look delicious! Thank you for sharing.

Confessions of a Plate Addict said...

Murder mysteries and pumpkin muffins...could it get any better? I love both! Hope you are having a great weekend!...hugs...Debbie

Lynn said...

These sound great Pattie and I love your rum soaked raisin idea! Finally found some pumpkin that didn't require a second mortgage, so I'm ready to do some baking:@)

Karen said...

Oh my goodness that sounds so good. I will have to try these for sure. Thanks for the great recipe.

KB said...

Looks yummy.

Thanks for sharing with us at
Simply Delish Saturday

Mary said...

Oh those look delicious~ I would love one this morning! I love that you try to read every mystery that features recipes! What a wonderful bonus finding that beautiful bottle :)

Shannon@Cozy Home Scenes said...

I love anything with pumpkin in it. Your recipes look delicious. I just happened upon your blog and will be a return reader. Your photos are very nice.------Shannon