Cream cheese is a great topping for muffins when served as a spread, but it isn’t often incorporated into the muffin batter itself. Cream cheese can actually make a great addition to muffin batter, adding moisture and a hint of cheesecake flavor to what would otherwise be a relatively plain muffin. I used it as part of the base for these Blackberry and Cream Cheese Muffins, which manage to remind me of cheesecake with berries every time I make them and makes me feel a bit like I’m serving dessert with breakfast.
These muffins are very moist and soft, with a lovely background flavor of cream cheese that really makes the fresh blackberries stand out. While you could actually substitute other berries into this recipe, I find that a perfectly ripe blackberry has a rich and jammy flavor that works particularly well with the cream cheese – not to mention the fact that the berries really pop with color against the paler backdrop of the muffin crumb! Try your berries before using them, as you will get the best results with the best berries.
I tend to make this recipe in the spring and summer, when I have plenty of fresh berries available to me. If you don’t have fresh berries, know that frozen berries will still work well in these muffins. If you decide to use frozen berries, do not defrost them and toss them in about 2 teaspoons of flour before folding them into the muffin batter so they don’t “bleed” any juice into the batter (this doesn’t affect the taste, but it makes for a nicer presentation).
Blackberry and Cream Cheese Muffins
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
2-oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk
12-oz (approx 2 cups) fresh blackberries
Preheat oven to 375F. Line a muffin pan with 12 paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, beat together butter and cream cheese, then cream sugar into the mixture until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Add half of the flour mixture, followed by the milk, then stir in the remaining flour mixture until no streaks of dry ingredients remain and everything is just combined. Fold in blackberries carefully with a spatula.The batter will be thick.
Divide batter evenly into muffin cups, piling it above the top of the pan (this will make for more dramatic muffin tops).
Bake for 17-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean and the top springs back when lightly pressed.
Turn muffins out onto a wire rack to cool before serving. Store in an airtight container.
Makes 12 muffins