orange cream cheese muffins with pepita crunch

pepita crunch close-up

citrus is pretty much my favorite fruit and one of the very few reasons i can tolerate winter at all! however, when i was a wee girl of about 6 impressionable years i was at a family dinner function of sorts. towards the end, fresh fruit was served, including orange wedges. after eating mine and leaving the rinds on my plate, one of my ornery uncles cleverly said "hey, why aren't you eating those? you're supposed to eat all the orange parts!" i had never heard such a thing but i was the quintessential curious kid, so i bit off a big piece of the rind ..... and a thousand glasses of water couldn't get rid of that bitter, awful taste!!

orange pulp

ever since then i've had an unnatural, neurotic obsession with peeling off every dangling piece of rind and white pith whenever i peel an orange. yes, even though i know the white pith has all that good nutrition! but what can i say, my taste buds were traumatized and now i can only have my oranges naked.

so i was a bit wary, to say the very least, with this recipe that asks for the orange - flesh, pith, and rind! - to be incorporated. as a pre-caution, i zipped it to a pulp.

muffin cups

but my fears were unwarranted, because these muffins turned out so good. i'd even prefer them a bit more orangey (maybe a round 1/4 cup?) and the pepita crunch was a lovely topping.
here's to a yummy breakfast treat!

orange cream cheese muffins with pepita crunch: makes 12*
from great coffee cakes, sticky buns, muffins & more (2007, p. 106)

for pepita crunch
1 large egg white (reserve yolk)
2 tb plus 1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup pepitas

1. preheat oven to 350F. spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray or line with parchment. in small bowl, whisk together egg white and 1 tb of sugar. add pepitas and toss well. pour onto cookie sheet and spread evenly in single layer. sprinkle 1 more tb of sugar over pepitas. bake for 7-8 minutes.

2. stir pepitas with fork and bake for another 7 minutes. stir pepitas again, sprinkle with remaining 1 tsp of sugar and bake for another 3 minutes. remove and allow to cool; set aside.

for muffins
1/2 small navel orange, cut into 6-8 pieces (rind, pith, and flesh)
4 oz cream cheese, room temp, broken into 3-4 pieces
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, slightly firm
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 egg yolk (from pepita crunch)
1 tsp vanilla

1. increase oven to 375F. whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and bakng soda; set aside.

2. turn on food processor and drop orange pieces through the tube. process until finely chopped. measure out 1/4 cup pulp and return to food processor bowl (discard any excess orange). add cream cheese and process in three 10-second intervals, scraping the sides after each.

3. but butter into 1-inch pieces and with electric mixer and paddle attachment, mix on medium speed until smooth and light, about 1 minute. stop and add cream cheese/orange mixture, mix on medium 1 more minute. add sugar in steady stream, then blend in eggs, yolk, and vanilla.

4. reduce mixer to slow and add flour mixure in three additions, mixing until just blended after each addition.

5. portion level scoops into muffin pan. sprinkle top of each with 1 tb of pepita crunch. be sure to use any sugar that remains in the pan.

6. bake for 22-25 minutes, rotating halfway through, until golden brown and tops are spingy. cool on rack.

* note: despite ms. walter's annoying insistence on making 14 muffins in her recipes, i just whip up the whole batter and make 12 and it's never been a problem. however, i have to wonder, why write recipes for 14 muffins??!

orange cream cheese muffins with pepita crunch


  1. Anonymous22/1/09 14:19

    Ooh...those look and sound wonderfully delicious!

  2. i haven't visited you in a while mimi. i apologize. life got busy. this looks like such an amazing muffin. moist and with texture, just how i like them!

  3. Amazing!!!! This looks sooo yummy and it has all my favorite flavors and ingredients. Must make!

  4. How interesting that it uses the whole orange! They look delicious!

  5. love this! I've never seen a pepita crispy topping before, what a great concept!