Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Cream Cheese Filling and Pumpkin Spice Latte Syrup

These. muffins. are. amazing.  Pumpkin spice muffins with cream cheese filling is a fairly common fall dessert, but I had never made nor ever tried one myself.  A friend shared a basic pumpkin muffin recipe with me, and the muffins alone would be delightful.  But because I can't just make a recipe for what it is (I may need to work on that), I had to add a few things.  I filled them with a sweet cream cheese center, and also added a streusel topping.  I took them to church on Sunday and they hardly lasted 10 minutes.  They're perfectly spiced, extremely moist, mildly crunchy on top, with a delicious surprise in the middle.

I also did a remake of my pumpkin spice latte.  The first time I made it, the recipe was for just one drink, and it worked better for that cup of coffee to be hot.  Well this time, I just made pumpkin spice syrup to make the drink with, that way I could always have it on hand, to easily add to an iced or hot coffee drink, and it would make a lot more than just one cup.  I also think it tastes a little better than my original recipe.

Pumpkin Spice Muffins
adapted from my friend Jim's recipe

for the muffins:
4 eggs
2 cups sugar (original recipe is 3 cups, but since I added the filling, I took it down some)
1 cup oil
2/3 cup water
2 cups pumpkin puree
3 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cloves
1 tbsp + 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

for the filling:
1 pkg cream cheese (8 oz)
1 cup powdered sugar

for the streusel topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
5 tbsp flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces

for filling:  Mix together the cream cheese and powdered sugar.  Transfer the mixture to a piece of plastic wrap, and shape into a log.  Smooth the plastic wrap around the log tightly, and then wrap again with a piece of aluminum foil.  Freeze for about 2 hours or so, until it's slightly firm.

for muffins:  Preheat oven to 350.  Whish together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and baking soda.  In another bowl, mix eggs, sugar, pumpkin and oil.  Mix until blended smooth.  Gradually add in dry ingredients, and mix until incorporated.

for the topping:  combine brown sugar, flour and cinnamon.  Add in the butter pieces and cut them in with a pastry blender or  2 forks until it is course and crumbly.  Chill it in the fridge until ready to use.

to assemble muffins:  line muffin pan with paper liners.  Fill each liner with 1-2 tbsp of batter.  Slice the log of cream cheese into 24 equal pieces.  Place a slice of the log onto each muffin batter.  Divide the remaining batter among the muffin cups, placing on top of the cream cheese, being sure to cover it completely.  Sprinkle some of the topping over each muffin.
Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Pumpkin Spice Syrup
from Food+Words

3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
3 whole cinnamon sticks
1/2 tsp cinnamon 
7 whole cloves
7 whole allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
2 tbsp pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla

combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat.  allow mixture to come to a boil, while stirring occasionally.  Simmer on low for 10 minutes, while stirring occasionally.   Remove from heat and allow to cool completely to room temperature.  When syrup is cooled, pour through a mesh sieve.  Store in the fridge, up to 2 months.

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