Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

We have had some beautiful, almost fall-like, weather in my area.  With cooler weather, I usually have the desire to bake more and these beauties were first on my list!  I've had this recipe in my stash since I first saw it over at MKC - her recipe's haven't failed me yet, this one included!  Talk about YUMMY!!
Note:  If you don't have fresh pumpkin puree, you can use one - 15 oz can without any problems.  Also, as you can see, I'm not real picky about my cream cheese being in the center - you can be as picky as you want when you make them! :)


Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
Yields: 24 muffins

3 Cups Flour
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Tsp Nutmeg
1 Tsp Ground Cloves
1 Tbsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Baking Soda
4 Eggs
1 1/4 Cups Oil
2 Cups Sugar
2 Cups Pumpkin Puree

1 - 8 oz Brick Cream Cheese
1 Cup Powdered Sugar

Streusel Topping:
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Flour
4 Tbsp Cold Butter, cubed
1 1/2 Tsp Cinnamon

Prepare the filling first by combining the cream cheese and powdered sugar - whip until smooth.  Form into a log on plastic wrap or wax paper - make sure the diameter is small enough to fit into the well of a muffin pan.  Wrap the log up tightly and freeze until slightly hardened - 1 to 2 hours.

For the muffins: combine the flour, spices, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl.  Mix well and set aside.  In a separate large bowl combine the eggs, vegetable oil, sugar, and pumpkin - mix until well combined.  Add in the dry ingredients - mix until just combined.

For the streusel topping: combine all the ingredients in a small bowl, mix together with a pastry blender or two forks until crumbly.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two muffin pans with paper liners.  To assemble muffins, fill each muffin well 1/3 full with batter.  Remove the cream cheese log from the freezer and slice into 24 equal slices.  Place a slice on top of the batter in each muffin well and gently press just slightly into the batter (not to the bottom).  Divide the remaining muffin batter evenly among the muffin cups on top of the cream cheese.  Sprinkle the struesel topping over the top of the batter.  Bake the muffins for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the top of the muffin comes out with moist crumbs.  Let cool completely on wire rack before serving.

**I don't have two muffin tins and I didn't feel like doing two batches, so I poured the rest of the batter into my small loaf pans.  I had to bake about 20 minutes longer, but they worked out perfect!  You could easily put this recipe into a bundt pan (you wouldn't need the struesel topping) and just bake a little longer.  So this batch yielded 12 muffins and 4 mini loaves.  :)

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