Chocolate chip raspberry-blackberry cream cheese muffins

Cream cheese has always been a favorite ingredient for me, when added t o various dishes, sweet and or savory. From my childhood I use to slather it on banana bread, then too I learned how to make ruguleah, with cream cheese, butter and flour, a Jewish delicacy/ danish -like dessert, folded in with sugar, nuts and cinnamon, also from my Jewish background. But too, with a mild salsa dressing along with spices such as cilantro, oregano, pepper, thyme, some salt and onion powder, I watched a friend swhirl the cream cheese and spices in a blender creating a tasty dip, perfect as an appetizer.

But in more recent years I discovered tasty muffins, and make assorted variations. I bring filled platters of these to volunteer events, and every last crumb dissapears! If I see a recipe on line, or in one of my many cookbooks, I check it out, and alter it to my liking, which is what I did with this muffin recipe. Especially in summer with fresh fruit in abundnace at Farmers Markets, I gravitate to stands and buy selections of raspberries, blackberries and strawberries. But too, even in winter, grocery stores stock good choices of frozen fruit. Blackberries and rasberries make a delicious muffin; however too, I love their colorful contrasts, plus the perk and color that chocolate chips bring in. The muffins adapt well as a morning sweet treat or as a dessert to any meal.

INGREDIENTS YIELDS 15-17 MUFFINS

2 cups flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup butter, softened

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 1/2 cup sugar

2 tsp. vanilla

4 eggs

2 cups fresh raspberries or substitute 1 cup blackberries for one cup of the raspberries

1 1/4 cup chocolate chips

PROCESS

1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two muffin pan with liners, or grease.

2 In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

3 In a large bowl, cream butter, cream cheese and sugar, until well mixed. Stir in vanilla.

4 Add eggs one at a time, betting well after each addition.

5 Add flour mixture t o the eggs mixture a little at a t ime, until completely incorporated. Gently stir in chocolate chips.

6 Carefully pour batter into muffin tins, filling a bit over half way full. Bake 20-21 minutes.

7 While still warm, sprinkle with colored sanding sugar, or colorful sprinkles. Let cool 5 minutes in pan, remove muffins to a cooling rack until completely cool. Dust w ith confectioners sugar, if desired.

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