1/4 cup sugar (plus 2 extra tbsp to sprinkle on top)
7.5 oz. canned pure pumpkin (this is half of a 15 oz. can)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
To add once dry and wet are combined:
1 cup chocolate chips (plus a few more to sprinkle on top)
Cream Cheese Topping Ingredients:
8 oz. cream cheese, chilled
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
How to make:
In a large bowl, stir the dry “Muffin” ingredients with a wooden spoon until combined.
In a separate medium bowl using a hand held mixer or stand mixer (I prefer the paddle attachment), combine the “wet” muffin ingredients and mix on low/medium until combined (this only takes 30 seconds to a minute—do not over mix). *You can also mix anything in this recipe by hand with a silicone spatula if you do not have an electric mixer, just be sure to mix well.
Using a silicone spatula, add the combined “Wet” muffin ingredients to the “Dry” muffin ingredients being sure to scrape the wet ingredients bowl. All muffin ingredients should now be in the same bowl, with the exception of the chocolate chips; you will add those last. Using a hand-held or stand mixer (with the paddle attachment) combine the wet and dry ingredients until they are completely mixed together (this takes less than a minute—do not over mix). Add the chocolate chips and mix them in thoroughly using a wooden spoon or silicone spatula. Set this bowl aside.
In a medium bowl, add all of the “Cream Cheese Topping” ingredients and mix until combined. It is easiest if you use a hand-held or stand mixer but only mix until combined (30 seconds or so) and place this bowl in your freezer for 15-20 minutes to re-chill it. It is important the mixture is very cold (but not frozen) so it will “scoop” and somewhat hold shape. When you remove it from the freezer, scrape the sides of the bowl and stir the cream cheese mixture with a spatula to even out any cold spots around the sides of the bowl.
While the cream cheese topping is in the freezer, pre-heat oven to 350◦and prepare your muffin pan. Here are a couple of options: If you are using a regular 12 cavity muffin pan, these muffins look really nice in hand-cut parchment liners. To make these, cut parchment paper rectangles approx 7” by 8”. The best way to get these in the cavity is to first fold each one in half length and width wise and then again corner to corner so when you unfold it you see an asterisk. If this is the method you use, you will not need to spray the pan. You will need to put each liner in and hold it in place while you fill it. It is a bit more time consuming, but it looks beautiful (the muffins shown in my photo are in my handmade liners)! You can also buy pre-made versions of these here. If you use regular muffin pan liners, lightly spray the top of the pan so that the tops don’t stick when they are finished. What I like about the parchment liners is that you can over fill the cavity a bit with the cream cheese and it won’t spill over when cooking because they are so tall. You can also skip the muffin tin and use pre-formed, decorative paper muffin cups that are tall and place them directly on a cookie sheet to bake.
To fill the cups, use a large (usually about 4.6 tbsp) cookie dough/muffin scoop and put one scoop of the pumpkin mixture into each cavity (follow the instructions above if using hand-cut parchment paper liners). Use your judgement with the quantity of pumpkin mixture in each cavity (you might need 2 scoops depending on the size of your cups); it should be 3/4 of the way full to leave some space for the cream cheese mixture. Use a small (usually about 1.6 tbsp) cookie dough/muffin scoop and put one (or 2 if you want and have room) heaping scoop of the cream cheese mixture on top of the pumpkin mixture in each cup.
Once all of the cups have the pumpkin mixture with the cream cheese mixture scooped on top, take a butter knife (or anything dull) and lightly swirl the cream cheese mixture over the top of the pumpkin mixture with one pass of the knife (you are just giving the things you are sprinkling on top a more level surface to land on). Sprinkle the top of each with 5-6 chocolate chips and then with a pinch (use as much or little as you like) of sugar.
Place the pan in the oven and bake at 350◦for 25-28 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean).
Once you remove the muffins, let them rest for two minutes and then move them to a cooling rack so they do not continue to cook in the pan. Leave them on the cooling rack until they are completely cool.