Yay! It’s pumpkin season!
Although, I’m not exactly sure when pumpkin season officially begins, because, in our house, pumpkin has no season. It’s seasonless. Fall, winter, spring and summer, we love pumpkin everything! In fact, I buy canned pumpkin by the case. Remember a few years back when there was a pumpkin shortage? Horrors! What? No pie? No pancakes? Whatever will we DO? I only buy organic canned pumpkin which was even harder to find and when I did, it was exorbitantly expensive. Enter cases of organic pumpkin purchased online. And I’ve been buying it that way ever since. So, let’s just say if we need to take refuge in a bunker, I’ll bring the canned pumpkin!
You would think with all this pumpkin madness going on in our house, I might have a “go to” pumpkin muffin recipe ready to just pull out of my arsenal and share. But no. Not so. This one took a few tries before I got it right where I wanted it. I did get frustrated and gave away a lot of good, but not great, muffins on the path to success. It’s just a muffin after all. I expected to nail it on the first or second try, but not this time.
They were all good…but some were too dry and some too spicy. Some had more fat in them than I wanted for this recipe or more sugar than was needed. Spices had to be balanced and not too strong. After three valiant tries, I thought, “Really? A basic muffin recipe is going to stump me today?” I almost put this one aside for another time, but I was determined to figure it out.
And I just had to figure it out because I had come up with an amazing topping idea that I just had to get out of my system, and I needed something great to go underneath it. And because of the aforementioned topping, the muffin structure had to hold up to the weight of it and not sink in the middle.
Let me tell you about that topping. It’s perfect. This delicious, moist, nicely spiced pumpkin muffin is topped with a delicate swirl of sweetened cream cheese and Nutella. It’s so simple, but oh so amazing, on top of this muffin. And it’s beautiful too (or maybe even gorgeous!) in a yin yang perfectly balanced kind of way. The topping adds a creamy chocolaty, cheesecakey sweetness to the just sweet enough muffin.
It’s a “baked on” topping. That’s right. Just swirl the toppings on and throw them in the oven. The Nutella and cream cheese become one with the muffin while they bake. The muffins emerge from the oven all dressed up and ready to go. The cream cheese undergoes a bit of transformation in the oven almost getting a toasted marshmallow kind of texture yet with none of the stickiness.
Pumpkin Muffins with Nutella Cream Cheese Swirl. This is a muffin that will tempt you for seconds. Just one more bite. Wait, let’s see, do I like the cream cheese side or the Nutella side? Or, does the part where it’s swirled taste best? Like snowflakes, no two are exactly alike. Hmm. Better try another then. Pumpkin, cream cheese and chocolate. You know you want it.