Berries abound in my house right now! All the berries are on sale (except, cherries, of course… oomph. 🙁 Wait, are those a berry anyway??) since it’s full-blown berry season. I can’t get enough. Raspberries are really my jam (ha!), but I can get on board with ANY of them. Berry season is one of my favorite things about summatime! I bought 2 pints of blueberries last week because my S.O. loves them and we also like to toss them in smoothies. I thought they’d last for about a minute and a half, but after a few days they were still hanging around. We kind of needed to use some of them up. I decided it made perfect sense to make a blueberry classic… yes, the blueberry muffin. The S.O. and I both need quick breakfasts and snacks to take on-the-go, so this made total sense. BUT, these are not ordinary blueberry muffins. I found this recipe for berry cheesecake muffins yeeeears ago in Taste of Home magazine. At least a decade ago. I’m pretty sure I clipped this recipe back when I was in law school and had a magazine addiction because after studying for 8,000 hours/day, I didn’t have the focus or attention span to read anything of actual substance. Mindless perusing was all I could handle. My addiction to periodicals really hasn’t subsided over the years, but that’s a whole other story. Anyway, I’ve been making these regularly since discovering the recipe all that time ago, and even if I wander off to try a different muffin recipe, this one remains a staple. I always come back to it.
These muffins feel a little like mini coffee cakes with their cinnamon and brown sugar streusel topping, and they definitely satisfy a sweet tooth. The cheesecake filling is true cheesecake. It’s not ‘cheesecake-like’. It’s an actual cheesecake recipe scaled down to size and dolloped on top of muffin batter. So good. Are you still with me? Then below that is a tender muffin base infused with cinnamon and almond flavors. It’s a trifecta of deliciousness –> muffin + cheesecake + streusel = ultimate breakfast pastry. And they BURST with juicy blueberries. If blueberries aren’t your thing, you can easily substitute for any berry. Any berry will work, or even a combo. I used up a handful of strawberries in several of these. My true berry love is raspberries, so those are up next. I hope you enjoy!
Berry Cheesecake Muffins: (adapted from Taste of Home magazine)
1/3 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of pumpkin pie spice
1/3 c. almond milk
Cream cheese filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. sugar
1 1/4 c. fresh blueberries
handful of fresh strawberries (optional)
1/4 c. flour
3 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp. cold butter
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs; beat well. Add extracts. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. Add to batter mixture alternating with almond milk. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups half full.
For filling, in a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, and egg until smooth. Fold in the blueberries. Drop a tablespoonful in the center of each muffin cup. (Note: I made a few of these with strawberries too. Any berries will work with this recipe, so substitute based on your preferences! If desired, you can make a few strawberry-blueberry muffins like I did by just dropping a few slices of strawberry on top of the cream cheese filling.)
For topping, combine the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over muffin cups.
Bake at 375 for 23-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.
Yield: 12-15 muffins.
What are you favorite blueberry or berry recipes, friends? Do share!!