Really, really close to Starbucks Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

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Thanks to musings of a mommy for her original version of this recipe. After fiddling with it for a few years, here’s my rendition. It’s a pretty easy recipe to put together, so don’t freak out over the seemingly long list of ingredients and steps.

(Note: make the cream cheese filling first and let it freeze while you work through the rest of the recipe.)
Cream filling:

8 oz package cream cheese
¼ cup of powdered sugar
–Use a hand mixer to blend this together,
(Or, use cheesecake flavored cream cheese filling instead)
Freeze this mix until slightly hard. I found it easiest to scoop the cream cheese out into 1-2 tsp sized balls right after mixing it, then set them on a cookie sheet in the freezer for a half hour or longer. When they are ready, just push them down into the muffin mix in the muffin tins before you put them in the oven.

Then:
3 cups flour (I use 1 cup of whole wheat flour and 2 cups of regular flour)
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground cloves
4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
4 eggs
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of brown sugar
2 cups canned pumpkin
1 ¼ cups vegetable oil (I use about 3/4 cup of oil and 1/2 a cup applesauce instead)

Topping:
Shelled pumpkin seeds or other chopped nuts
To make these like Starbucks, you need to find shelled pumpkin seeds to top the muffins with. An employee at my local store said they thought the seeds were toasted with cinnamon and sugar. I think you could get a similar effect by taking roasted seeds and cooking them with a little butter, cinnamon and sugar. I usually don’t go to this much trouble.

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350.
Mix the dry ingredients together, than add everything else except the cream cheese filling mix, and nuts. Fill muffin tins (greased or paper cups) half full. Put 1-2 tsp cream cheese in the middle, pressing down. Sprinkle with 1 tsp chopped nuts. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean from the muffin part (do not touch the cream cheese!). Let cool in pans for 5 minutes, then remove to racks to cool completely. Do not touch the cream cheese until it cools, as it is very very hot. Makes 24 muffins. These also work nicely in mini-muffin pans, just decrease the cream cheese mix to 1 tsp and baking time to 15-20 min.

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