One of the best parts of visiting Disney during the holidays is the special limited-time treats that appear in each park to celebrate the season.
This year's Gingerbread Cream Cheese Muffin, available at two locations inside Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park, is no exception, filled with cream cheese and bursting with gingerbread flavor.
Disney Parks Blog shared the official recipe for the flavorful baked treat in November, a few weeks before it made its holiday appearance in the park. Once the muffin was available at Isle of Java and Harambe Food Market — two dining locations inside Animal Kingdom, I headed into the park to try one for myself.
I arrived at Animal Kingdom about an hour before closing, and there weren't many of the individually wrapped muffins left at the Harambe Food Market food cart. After snagging one (and snapping a few photos), I dove in, savoring the spiced gingerbread flavors and the sweet cream cheese filling. I could see why it was in high-demand: Priced at only $3.99 and a generous size, the delectable muffin would make a perfect on-the-go breakfast or an affordable afternoon snack.
I was sold on attempting to re-create it at home.
Disney's recipe is full of wintry ingredients like molasses, honey and spices. And the cream cheese filling, which has to refrigerate for two hours before piping it into each muffin, has a richly sweet taste that perfectly complements the gingerbread.
"Let’s face it," Karen McClintock, the food and beverage content relations manager for Disney Parks and Resorts, wrote in the blog post about the muffin, "the scent and taste of freshly baked gingerbread screams holiday, and this spiced gingerbread muffin with cream cheese filling is the perfect bundle of holiday goodness."
And she's right. As I baked my gingerbread muffins, the house was filled with the Christmas-y scent of gingerbread. I could hardly wait for them to finish baking and cool enough for me to taste one.
The final verdict? These muffins are even better when baked from home, fresh from the oven. They're fairly simple to throw together and even though I felt a bit overwhelmed by the task of piping cream cheese filling into the centers, it was an easy task that provided huge flavor benefits in the end.
If a trip to Walt Disney World isn't in your foreseeable future, whipping up a batch of these creamy, spiced muffins is a great way to get into the holiday spirit.