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by Disney Magic Diva

Cooking Up the Magic: Gingerbread Cream Cheese MuffinsNothing quite evokes fond holiday memories as the aroma of gingerbread.  Whether it’s a scrumptious gingerbread cookie or the delectable scent of a gingerbread display at one of the Walt Disney World Resorts  (oh, how we miss those this year!), the sweet smell of gingerbread warms everyone’s heart.  So, I was ecstatic to see the Disney Kitchens, as part of their Cooking Up the Magic series, publish the recipe for Gingerbread Cream Cheese Muffins.

Full disclosure: I love gingerbread!  One of my fondest holiday memories at Walt Disney World Resort was our first visit to The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.   It was many years ago, and we were completely awe-struck at the display.  As we made our way through the streets, we stopped for a gingerbread cupcake, and it was as if all my Christmas wishes had come true.  I’d never tasted a cupcake as delicious as that one was!  Since then, I’ve tried many gingerbread cupcakes on subsequent visits to Walt Disney World during the holiday season, but none has lived up to the memory of that cupcake. Maybe it was just the magic in the air that evening.

When I saw the recipe for Gingerbread Cream Cheese Muffins,  I knew I wanted to try them!  Although the list of ingredients is fairly long, they were easy to make.  Here’s the recipe:

Gingerbread Cream Cheese Muffins

Gingerbread Muffins

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons ground ginger

2 ¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

¾ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

¼ cup canola oil (may substitute ¼ c butter, softened)

½ cup light brown sugar

3 tablespoons molasses

3 tablespoons honey

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

Cream Cheese Filling

¼ cup sugar

1 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1 egg yolk

½ teaspoon lemon juice

For cream cheese filling:
  1. Combine sugar and butter in bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment and beat on low speed until there are no lumps. Add cream cheese and mix on medium speed for 3 minutes, until smooth.
  2. Reduce speed to low. Add egg and lemon juice and mix until smooth.
  3. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, up to 3 days, until ready to use.
For gingerbread muffins:
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Prepare a muffin pan with 12 liners and set aside.
  2. Sift flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into medium bowl and set aside.
  3. Combine oil or butter, brown sugar, molasses, honey, and egg in bowl of electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Mix on medium speed until combined.  Reduce speed to low and add buttermilk until incorporated.
  4. Add flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined. Scrape sides of mixer and mix an additional 30 seconds.  Batter will be slightly lumpy.
  5. Scoop batter into prepared muffin pan, filling each cup ¾ full.
  6. Place reserved cream cheese filling in piping bag fitted with large round tip. Insert piping tip into the center of each muffin, piping about 1 tablespoon into the center, then pipe a swirl around the top of the muffin.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until top of muffin is firm when touched.
  8. Cool before serving.


Cooking Up the Magic: Gingerbread Cream Cheese MuffinsWhen I first read the recipe, I scanned the ingredients without paying much attention to the directions.  It wasn’t until I was ready to make the muffins that I read through the entire recipe and noticed I’d need to let the cream cheese filling chill for a few hours.  My tummy was unhappy.  So be sure to plan ahead when making your muffins!

Once the filling had chilled for a couple of hours, we mixed up the muffin batter.  It was very easy, and the grandkids enjoyed helping me.

I generally fill my muffin tins about half-full, but since the directions specified three-quarters full, I did that.  Might have been a mistake.  When baked, the muffins overflowed, slightly.

The most challenging part was piping in the cream cheese filling.  Wanting to keep it simple, I tried to just use a Ziploc bag instead of digging out my pastry bags.  That was a mistake.  The decorator tip was too heavy and ripped through the plastic.  Use a pastry bag.

Cooking Up the Magic: Gingerbread Cream Cheese MuffinsI was also probably a little too enthusiastic with piping in the cream cheese.  It’s hard to guess how much 1 tablespoon is when you’re piping it into the batter and can’t see it.  I might have been a little exuberant.  When the muffins were baked, they caved-in a little in the center.  My suggestion would be to remember less is better.

Now the important part – the taste!  The muffins were moist and had a great texture.  The aroma wasn’t as strong as I had hoped, but definitely enough to bring back holiday memories.  As for the actual taste – we had mixed reviews.  My husband loved them.  But the grandkids and I were a little disappointed.  The gingerbread was pretty good, but the cream cheese filling was just not as tasty as we had hoped.  Maybe it was because I filled them too much, or maybe it was the “hole” that was created when the muffin essentially caved-in.  Overall, I think I would’ve preferred it without the cream cheese.  (Words I never thought I would say!)

If you’d like to try other recipes from the Disney Kitchens, check out Tinker Belle Diva’s articles on Epcot’s gourmet mac-and cheese,  Disneyland’s churro toffee, Jack Jack’s Num Num cookies, or Woody’s Lunch Box grilled cheese sandwich.  You can also read about our experience making Cliff Dweller’s from Oga’s Cantina.

Cooking Up the Magic: Gingerbread Cream Cheese MuffinsIf you are visiting Walt Disney World Resort this holiday season, be sure to stop by Isle of Java and Harambe Fruit Market at Disney’s Animal Kingdom to try a Gingerbread Cream Cheese Muffin.   And if you can’t make it to the parks for the holidays, try these muffins at home and let us know what you think.

If you’re ready to plan your trip to a Disney Park, contact Patricia at All for Dreams Travel for all your travel needs.  She can offer expert tips, book travel, resort, tickets, dining or anything you may need.  And best of all – her services are FREE!


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