I’ll start with a warning: store these muffins in the fridge! The first time I made muffins with cream cheese centers was during my senior year of college, when I was living with three other girls. As it turns out, the average fridge is not designed with enough space to accommodate the different food preferences of four people, so it was like a never-ending game of tetris to find a place for a container of leftovers. And a whole pan of muffins? Forget it. No problem, I decided. Bakeries have whole displays of muffins that aren’t refrigerated. I failed to take into account that most of those baked goods do not, in fact, have centers of pure dairy, nor do most of them sit around for a week before being finished. By the end of the week, I had noticed that the cream cheese was tasting pretty funk-tastic, so I just picked that part out and ate the rest. It wasn’t until all the muffins were gone that I realized why the cream cheese had gone bad. Derp.
That said, when you do store these muffins in the fridge, they’re quite lovely. They’re super moist, fragrant, and loaded with flavor. Enjoy!
- 6 ounces low-fat cream cheese
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup apple butter
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup walnut pieces
- 2 large apples, peeled and diced
- On a piece of wax paper or parchment paper, roll out cream cheese into a long log about 3/4-inch in diameter. Place in the freezer for up to (but not longer than) one hour.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter, brown sugar, and apple butter. Add egg and beat until combined.
- Combine lemon juice and milk and let sit for 5 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients: flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
- Add milk and dry ingredients to mixing bowl in 2 additions each, alternating wet and dry.
- Peel and core apples. Dice or chop into small pieces. Fold apple pieces and walnuts into contents of mixing bowl.
- Line cups of muffin pans with papers or coat with baking spray. Portion muffin batter into cups.
- Cut cream cheese log into as many pieces as the number of muffins cups you have filled. Press one piece into the batter in each cup until submerged. Optional: sprinkle a small amount of brown sugar on top of each muffin.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the side of the muffins (about 1/2 inch from the edge) comes out clean. If you insert a toothpick into the center, you will be testing the cream cheese, which is sure not to come out clean.
- Makes about 15 muffins.
- I use a combination of sweet and tart apples (so 1 Granny Smith and 1 Fuji), but feel free to use any variety/varieties you like.
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