Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins (like Starbucks)

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 pinch cardamom (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
8 ounces cream cheese – I used honey nut flavor in a tub. I would definitely recommend flavored as opposed to regular cream cheese.
chopped pumpkin seeds (optional) or walnuts (optional) or pecans (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Put the entire tub of cream cheese on a piece of wax paper or parchment paper and shape it into a long log.
3. Put it in the freezer while you mix and fill the pans, up to an hour.
4. Unwrap and cut with a sharp knife so each cream cheese disk equals 1-2 teaspoons. If the cream cheese disks are too big around, cut thick slices and then cut them in half. This lets you push it down into the batter easier.
5. Mix all ingredients together (except cream cheese and nuts).
6. Fill muffin tins (greased or paper cups) half full.
7. Put cream cheese disc in the middle, pressing down.
8. Sprinkle with 1 tsp chopped nuts.
9. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean from the muffin part (do not touch the cream cheese!).
10. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes, then remove to racks to cool completely. Do not touch the cream cheese until it cools.

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