Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

HOT topic on Pinterest lately, Pumpkin-Cream Cheese Muffins.  I can't believe I have never made these before! They are d-i-v-i-n-e! I tried out the recipe with and without the crumb topping. Both, so moist and dense and luscious. Perfect. The recipe I ended up going with was from The Nonpareil Baker. She adapted the recipe from The Brown Eyed Baker (you know it HAS to be good). She borrowed it from Annie Eats and Ezra Pound Cake. They got their scrumptious find from Bakespace and back around to Annie. SHWOO, this recipe gets around! This muffin has quite the resume. I hope you do try them out.  You won't regret it!

For the Cream Cheese Filling:
4 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
½ cup powdered sugar
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Streusel:
½ cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup pecans, roughly chopped
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Muffins:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
5 ounces (½ cup + 2 tablespoons) vegetable oil
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350.

Make your cream cheese filling:
Make sure your cream cheese is at room temp.  Add all the ingredient listed above for the filling, mix well.  Form the mixture into a 12" log on a piece of plastic wrap.  Freeze for at least 2 hours.  I will tell you, I skipped the freezing and just dolloped it on top of the muffin batter and used the end of my spoon to poke it down into the batter.

Make your streusel topping:
Melt your butter first, then add your sugar, cinnamon, flour and pecans.  I skipped the pecans. Set this to the side.

Make your batter:
Dump all your dry ingredients in a large bowl. Use a whisk and mix well.  In a separate bowl, combine all of your wet ingredients, including your can of pumpkin. Mix well and then pour it into your dry ingredients. Mix very well.

If using cupcake liners, go ahead and line your muffin tin.  I did not.  I did however spray my tin well with nonstick spray. Pour batter into your muffin tin.

If you froze your cream cheese mixture like you were supposed to, go ahead and get it out of the freezer and slice into 12 one inch sections.  Poke each piece down into your batter.  If you did not freeze, scoop a mound on top of your raw batter and use the end of your spoon to push down into the center of the batter.

Sprinkle the tops of each evenly with your streusel topping. I left a few "nekked" on purpose.  They were just as delicious.

Pop in the oven for 20-25 minutes.  Do the toothpick trick to check for doneness. Let rest for about 5 minutes in the muffin tin.  Definitely try one WARM. Oh my!!

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