Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Cream Cheese Filling

Tis the season for Pumpkin Muffins!

Makes 12 muffins; takes about 1 hour

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon orange juice or milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees; line a standard muffin pan with paper liners or spray each well with nonstick spray.

Measure the flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and mix well to combine. In a larger bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, sugar, oil, egg, and vanilla until well-blended. Add the flour mixure to the pumpkin mixture and use a rubber scraper to blend until no flour remains — be careful not to overmix (batter will be thick). Use an ice cream scoop to fill the muffin pan so each well is about 3/4 full.

Set the muffins aside while you make the cream cheese filling: blend the cream cheese, sugar, flour, orange juice, and vanilla together in a small bowl until smooth. Use a tablespoon measure and drop a level spoonful on top of each muffin. Bake the muffins for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the pumpkin portion of the muffin comes out clean. Let the muffins cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove and enjoy! (Store muffins in an airtight container for 3 days or freeze for longer storage.)