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Pumpkin and Cream Cheese Muffins

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
 3 eggs
 2 1/2 cups sugar
 2 1/2 cups flour
 1/4 cup pecans (roughly chopped)
 3 tablespoons melted butter
 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
 1/2 teaspoon salt
 2 teaspoons baking powder
 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
 1 1/4 cups solid-packed pumpkin
 1/3 cup vegetable oil
 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line 20 standard muffin tin spots (using two 12-cup standard muffin tins) with paper cupcake liners.  Set aside.

For the cream cheese batter:In a large mixing bowl with your electric mixer mix the cream cheese, 1 egg, and 3 tablespoons sugar in a small bowl and set aside.

For the streusel topping:  Toss 5 tablespoons sugar, 1/2 cup flour, pecans, 3 tablespoons melted butter, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon together in a medium bowl and set aside.

For the muffin batter: Combine the remaining sugar, flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and remaining cinnamon in a large bowl.  With an electric mixer, lightly beat the remaining eggs, pumpkin, oil, and vanilla together in a medium bowl.  Gradually add the flour mixture in until just incorporated.

Place 1 1/2 tablespoons of the muffin batter into the cupcake liners, then top with 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese batter and top with another 1 1/2 tablespoon of the muffin batter.  You should get 20 or 21 muffins.  Evenly sprinkle the pecan mixture over the top of each muffin and bake until golden and a tester, inserted into the muffin center, comes out clean, about 20 minutes and up to 25 (depending on your oven, but check early before it is too late!!) It should feel springy to the touch.  Cool on wire racks.


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