Recipe: $5.35 | Per Serving: $0.45 | Yield: 12
Happy Christmas Week! In honor of my Nana, today I'm sharing a favorite pairing: ginger and molasses with sweetened cream cheese. These gingerbread oat muffins are whipped up in a blender and topped with a lightly sweetened cream cheese "frosting" for a delicious pairing!
You know those weird food combinations you love from your childhood? Like Club crackers and grape jelly or gingersnaps and cream cheese? No, just me? 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. In high school I learned to make gingersnaps and would bring them to my Nana every Thanksgiving and we would sit at the dessert table surrounded by pies and cookies and eat mostly gingersnaps and cream cheese. It's not the same since she died in 2013; you know how it goes.
Those memories are the inspiration behind this recipe. I've been making various combinations of ginger and molasses baked goods with a slightly sweetened cream cheese for years, and it's a sweet tribute to my Nana. Last year I 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.
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!
For the cream cheese: 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 if you use a vegan / dairy-free cream cheese, you may want to add another teaspoon or two of maple syrup.
Vegan cream cheeses are often tangier and less sweet. You don't need to do this for the lactose-free cream cheese though. Lactose-free cream cheese doesn't actually remove the sugar lactose, they just add the lactase enzyme to break it down into glucose and galactose, the two simple sugar molecules that make up lactose.
I know we're in a bit of cream cheese shortage, since the largest cream cheese manufacturer was hacked in October, but my local grocery store has plenty of cream cheese - the only brand that's low is the Philadelphia brand. (Which is why they were offering to pay consumers to make a different dessert rather than leaving you to buy a different brand, which you will then realize tastes just as good.)
Look for another brand, any brand, and make this. If you really can't find cream cheese, here are some tips for cream cheese substitutions.
Don't skip the cream cheese.
Paleo: No, oats are not Paleo, but GF oats make this recipe gluten-free
Vegetarian: Yes! And it can be vegan with flax eggs and vegan cream cheese.
These gluten-free blender gingerbread oat muffins with maple cream cheese are fast, easy, and oh so delicious! They're naturally sweetened with applesauce, dates, and molasses, and the cream cheese is sweetened with maple syrup.
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 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.
These muffins are best served warm, so I recommend a quick 15 seconds in the microwave if you're serving them straight from the fridge.
These muffins will freeze well. You can top with cream cheese before or after freezing.
- Prep Time: 10
- Cook Time: 24
- Category: Holiday Baking
- Method: Oven, Baking
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: gluten free muffins, gingerbread muffins, gingerbread oat muffins, molasses muffins, gluten free molasses muffins, maple cream cheese, cream cheese frosting