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Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

I made these pumpkin cream cheese muffins yesterday. They are fabulous. I didn’t make the topping, because I didn’t feel it was needed. I don’t think they’re missing anything without it.  Calling these muffins feels disingenuous, though.  Let’s be honest, they’re cupcakes.  They may have pumpkin in them, but that doesn’t make them particularly healthy.

The cream cheese filling is softer than the black bottom cupcakes I have made before that have egg in the cream cheese mixture. I rolled the cream cheese and sugar filling into a tube in saran wrap and popped it in the freezer while I made guacamole and mixed up the pumpkin muffin base.  Still, the filling wasn’t frozen when I went back to it after an hour in the freezer.  I decided to use it anyway, and ended up scraping cream cheese off the saran wrap.  Next time, I’d skip that whole deal…. why  not just scoop it into the muffin batter from the bowl and skip the whole frozen log part?

Also, I have no idea what “pumpkin pie spice” amounts to, but I substituted 1/2 tsp of extra cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, and 1/4 tsp allspice.  My nutmeg grater doesn’t always give the finest shavings, but I sifted the dry stuff and most of the bigger shavings didn’t make it through.  The overall flavor is very much like pumpkin pie (I think it’s mostly the cinnamon and cloves), but still pretty mild.  With the cheese filling, it’s kind of like pumpkin cheesecake.

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