I've been on a muffin kick lately, though. I tried (very unsuccessfully) to come up with a nice, healthy pumpkin bran muffin....but it tasted terrible and the texture was even worse - crispy on the outside and mushy in the middle. I knew that if I couldn't get them down, no one else in the house would eat them, so I scrapped healthy and went with a copycat version of Starbucks' Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin.
It was probably one of the top 5 decisions I've ever made. These things are seriously good. In fact, they are triple good, thanks to 3 delicious parts:
1. the creamy cheesecake center (especially when warm....oh my!)
2. the moist, just-spicy-enough pumpkin muffin
3. a glorious crunchy streusel topping
And...this was actually the first muffin I've ever made that has actually risen out of the top of the muffin pan to create a real "muffin top." The GOOD muffin top, not the one you get when you wear jeans. The best part is that since this is amuffin and not a cupcake, you can eat it in the morning, while still wearing draw-string pants, and only think about muffin tops covered in cinnamon and sugar.
For the Filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
For the muffins:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
1.5 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
For the topping:
1/2 cup sugar
5 tbsp. flour
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 tbsp. cold butter, cut into pieces
First, make the filling. Combine the cream cheese and powdered sugar in a stand mixer until well blended and smooth. Transfer to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log about 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Smooth the plastic wrap tightly around the log, and reinforce with a piece of foil. Place in the freezer and chill until firm, at least 2 hours.
To make the muffins, preheat the oven to 350. Line muffin pans with paper lines or spray with nonstick baking spray. In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, spices, salt and baking soda, and whisk to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and oil. Mix on medium-low speed until well blended. Turn the mixer to low speed and add in the dry ingredients, mixing until just incorporated.
To make the topping, combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl and whisk to blend. Add in the butter pieces and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
To assemble the muffins, fill each muffin well with a small amount of batter - just enough to cover the bottom of the pan or liner. Slice the log of cream cheese (I love that phrase. Mmmm!) into 24 equal pieces and place a slice into each muffin well. Divide the remaining batter among the muffin cups, placing the batter on top of the cream cheese to cover completely.
Bake for 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving!
Source: Adapted from Annie Eats