Spiced Pumpkin Muffins with (or without) Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

DSC_0003I have to admit, frosting these muffins is completely gilding the lily.  But I had to do it.  You see, my daughter became addicted to the pumpkin muffins with cream cheese frosting at Einsteins, so I had to come up with a frosted version.  Be honest – you can’t go naked next to something wearing frosting and win by comparison.  Not possible!  Does that mean they are technically a cupcake?  I say no  – that way there is no guilt when having one for breakfast.  But if you’re feeling like a straight arrow, skip the frosting and just give each one a sprinkling of demerara or coarse sugar (for a little crunch and sparkle) before you pop them in the oven .  They are seriously delicious either way.DSC_0041

Spiced Pumpkin Muffins with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting 

makes 12

for the muffins –

  • 2 cups all purpose or gluten free all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum only if making gluten free
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup canned pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • demarara or coarse sugar (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line 12 standard sized muffin cups with paper baking liners.
  3. Whisk flour, xanthan gum (if gf), baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, cloves, nutmeg and salt together in a large bowl.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together remaining muffin ingredients.
  5. Add to dry ingredients and stir just until combined.
  6. Divide batter into the 12 muffin cups (about 1/3 cup batter in each).
  7. Sprinkle with demarara or coarse sanding sugar if you are skipping the frosting.
  8. Place muffin tins on a sheet pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a wood toothpick comes out clean when inserted in center.
  9. Let cool completely before frosting (recipe to follow).

for the frosting –

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger (optional)
  1. Place cream cheese, butter, maple syrup and vanilla in a large bowl.
  2. Sift powdered sugar into same bowl.
  3. With beaters or a stand mixer, beat until creamy and completely smooth.
  4. Slather frosting onto each muffin and sprinkle with minced crystallized ginger.DSC_0001

First Snow

DSC_0048The first snowflakes of the season fell this afternoon, bringing with them a familiar mix of emotions.  Like boarding the ferry after saying goodbye to a romance that was never meant to last, you know beautiful days lie ahead but you’re still not quite ready to let go.DSC_0029