Cream Cheese Filled Pumpkin Muffins

As I’ve mentioned before, I come from a family of seven kids and I was #3 in the line-up.  Most of my youth I spent much energy trying to be like #1 and #2 so they would like me and want to play with me.  I failed horribly in that goal, especially with my sister (#2) who found me completely annoying and we fought, a lot!  It wasn’t until we were older and she served an 18 month mission for our church in Chile that we were both mature enough to become friends and stop completely annoying each other.  

Well, this weekend my favorite #2 ran her first marathon in St George, Utah and I couldn’t be more proud of her!  I so wish I could have been there to cheer her on and be amazed at her accomplishment as she crossed the finish line.  You see, us Walter girls were not blessed in the athletic ability/body category so those 26.2 miles in the pouring rain were a HUGE accomplishment for the Walter name.
While the amazing #2 pushed her body to the limit running through the mountains of Utah, I was at home in my cozy kitchen baking these deliciously decadent muffins.  How’s that for irony???

Cream Cheese Filled Pumpkin Muffins

makes 24 muffins
For the muffins:
3 C flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ground cloves
1 Tb & 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
4 eggs
1 1/4 C canola oil
2 C sugar
2 C pumpkin puree
For the filling:

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 C powdered sugar
For the streusel topping:
1/2 C sugar
1/4 C + 1 tsp flour
4 Tb butter
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1.  Combine filling ingredients and whip until smooth.  Form into a log on plastic wrap and wrap tightly.  Freeze until slightly firm, about 2 hours.
2.  Combine the streusel topping ingredients in a small bowl using a pastry cutter to cut in the butter.  Set aside.
3.  Combine the flour, spices, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine remaining muffin ingredients until well mixed.  Add wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated.  Don’t over-mix!
4.  Line 24 muffin tins with papers and fill halfway with muffin batter.  Divide cream cheese filling into 24 equal pieces and place on top of muffins.  Divide remaining muffin batter over the top of the cream cheese pieces, being sure the filling is completely covered.  Sprinkle each muffin generously with the streusel topping.
5.  Bake at 350 degrees for 23-25 minutes.  Remove from muffin pans and allow to cool completely before serving.

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