Almost-Like-Starbucks Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
3 cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ground cloves (I omitted)
4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
Pinch of cardamom (optional) (I omitted)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups sugar
2 cups canned pumpkin
1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
8 oz package cream cheese*
Chopped nuts** (walnuts, pecans) (optional - I made some with pecans and some plain)
Preheat oven to 350. Mix ingredients together except cream cheese 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.
*The best cream cheese to use is the cheesecake flavored kind (I used plain). Put the entire tub or brick on a piece of tin foil, and shape it into a long log. Put it in the freezer while you mix and fill the pans, up to an hour. Unwrap and cut with a sharp knife. If the disks are too big around, cut thick slices and then cut them in half. This keeps the cream cheese in one big lump, and also lets you push it down into the batter.
**Starbucks uses chopped pumpkin seeds, which are very good if you can find them. I like walnuts, but any kind of nuts work well.