These gingerbread oat muffins are quickly and easily whipped up in a blender and topped with a lightly sweetened cream cheese "frosting" for a delicious pairing! Enjoy these ginger snap-inspired treats this holiday season!
Recipe: $5.35 | Per Serving: $0.45 | Yield: 12
Why I Love these Muffins!
In honor of my Nana, today I'm sharing a favorite pairing: ginger and molasses with sweetened cream cheese.
My Nana introduced us to some weirdo combinations, but I'm so grateful because if I ever bite into a buttery cracker with grape jelly, I'm immediately transported to the kitchen table with her, eating crackers off a tissue instead of a plate. When it comes to cream cheese and gingersnaps though, WOO, she was really onto something. She introduced us to this delicious combination and it is the epitome of the holiday season for me.
Those memories are the inspiration behind this recipe as a sweet tribute to my Nana. I once modified a blender oat muffin recipe for a cooking class to have these gingersnap flavors and created these gingerbread-style oat muffins with maple-sweetened cream cheese. WHAT A HIT.
And I know that usually, a cupcake is a muffin with frosting and a muffin is a cupcake without frosting but a muffin with sweetened cream cheese is confusing. So what are these? Muffins or cupcakes? YOU decide!
Gingerbread Oat Muffins
For your gingerbread muffins, you'll need gluten-free rolled oats, applesauce, eggs, pitted dates, molasses, and baking soda.
Additionally, you'll need vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, ground ginger, and salt to create the most delicious flavor!
I have used regular, lactose-free, and Miyokos vegan cream cheese for this recipe. I will say it is best with regular or lactose-free cream cheese, but still good with the DF options. If you use vegan/dairy-free cream cheese, you may want to add another teaspoon or two of maple syrup since these tend to be less sweet. You don't have to add extra maple syrup for lactose-free cream cheese, though.
If you really can't find cream cheese, here are some tips for cream cheese substitutions. Just don't skip the cream cheese!
Along with the cream cheese itself, you'll need maple syrup and vanilla extract to create the "frosting" mixture.
See recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
How to Make the Gingerbread Muffins
Start by preheating your oven to 350ºF. If your (pitted) dates are hard, or if your blender is old, I recommend soaking the dates in hot water for about 5 minutes. Be sure to drain them!
Add the liquid ingredients first so they'll settle at the bottom and help everything blend. Then, add the remaining dry ingredients and blend them until everything is very well combined. You can blend until the oats are fully processed, or leave some whole - that's your preference.
Pour the mixture into 12 muffin cups and bake for about 20-24 minutes.
Remove your muffins from the oven and poke them with a toothpick to check for doneness (toothpick should come out 80-90% clean) – let cool slightly before serving them warm with sweetened cream cheese.
How to Make the Cream Cheese
If it's at all possible, allow your cream cheese to soften a little bit before mixing as this will help the ingredients combine better.
(I take the cream cheese out of the fridge when I start making the muffins and place it in a metal bowl on the stovetop (turned off) while the oven preheats. The warmth from the preheating oven helps it soften.)
Combine all of the cream cheese ingredients in a large bowl and mix until they're well combined. I find it works best with an electric mixer or the whisk of an immersion blender. However, if the cream cheese is fully softened, the frosting will mix with a fork or a spoon.
Whip the mixture until it's smooth and well combined. If it's too loose, refrigerate it until it's ready to serve or pipe onto your muffins. Otherwise, slather some of the slightly softened cream cheese frosting on your warm gingerbread muffins and enjoy!
FAQs and Dietary Modifications
Eat it by the spoonful! (Just kidding, but not really.) You can use your maple cream cheese on everything from crackers, fruit, pancakes, and ice cream, or as a filling on a pastry! I especially love it on GINGERSNAPS, of course!
These gingerbread muffins freeze well! You can top them with the cream cheese before freezing, or after you defrost and rewarm them. I have done it both ways!
Paleo: No, oats are not Paleo, but GF oats make this recipe gluten-free.
Vegetarian: Yes! And it can be made vegan with flax eggs and vegan cream cheese.
Additional Oat-based Recipes to Try
I hope you enjoy! If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a ⭐️ review and comment below!
Blender Gingerbread Oat Muffins with Maple Cream Cheese
For the Muffins:
- 1 cup applesauce
- 2 eggs or 2 flaxseed eggs
- 1 cup pitted whole dates 6-8 large Medjools
- 2 Tablespoons molasses or sub with brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups gluten-free rolled oats quick oats okay too
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon salt
For the sweetened Cream Cheese:
- 4 ounces softened cream cheese or vegan cream cheese
- 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Muffins:
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- If your dates are hard, or if your blender is old, I recommend soaking the dates in hot water for about 5 minutes, but drain before adding to blender.
- Add ingredients to blender, starting with liquid ingredients on the bottom to help everything blend.
- Add remaining ingredients and blend until very well combined. You can choose to blend until the oats are fully processed, or leave some oats whole.
- Pour into 12 muffin cups, and bake on 350ºF for about 20-24 minutes.
- Poke with a toothpick to check for doneness (toothpick should come out 80-90% clean) – let cool slightly and serve warm with sweetened cream cheese.
For the Cream Cheese:
- If possible, soften the cream cheese a bit before mixing as this will help the ingredients combine better. I take the cream cheese out of the fridge when I start making the muffins and place it in a metal bowl on the stove top (turned off) while the oven preheats. The warmth from the preheating oven helps it soften.
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until well combined. This works best with an electric mixer, or whisk of an immersion blender, but if frosting is fully softened, it will work with a fork or spoon!
- Whip until smooth and well combined. If it is very loose, refrigerate until ready to serve. Otherwise, can serve the slightly softened cream cheese frosting around room temperature.
I'm really looking forwards to trying these.
Interestingly, in the UK cupcakes and muffins are very different, frosting aside 😄 Cupcakes are fine textured sponge cake and this type of muffins have a denser texture and the crackley crust
Caitlin Self, MS, CNS, LDN
Hi Anjicat - thanks for your comment. And that different re: UK makes a ton of sense to me. We have so many differences in our baking terminology. Cookies vs. biscuits vs. scones. Pudding vs. dessert. Traybake vs. brownie. And in the states we're play it pretty loose and fast with our definitions. I've learned a lot from living in the UK for 4 months and watching tons of Great British Baking, but I had not come across the muffin vs. cupcake difference yet!
I just made this recipe and it is absolutely delicious! I just found your YouTube and website. Love it. Thank you for sharing. :)
Caitlin Self, MS, CNS, LDN
Hi Jessica - that's so great, I'm very happy to hear it! Thanks for being here. :)