For the filling:
8 oz. cream cheese (reduced fat is fine), at room temperature
2 tbsp. honey
For the muffins:
3 cups white whole wheat flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
½ tsp. ground cloves
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
4 large eggs
1½ cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree
½ cup vegetable or canola oil
¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
For the topping:*
4 tbsp. white whole wheat flour
7 tbsp. old fashioned rolled oats
3 tbsp. turbinado (coarse) sugar
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
3 tbsp. cold butter, cut into pieces
To make the filling, combine the cream cheese and honey in a bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Transfer to a pastry bag. Pipe into 24 equal dollops onto a parchment-covered baking sheet. Freeze until firm, at least 3 hours or overnight.
To make the muffins, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line muffin pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda; whisk to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree, oil and applesauce. Mix on medium-low speed until blended. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.
To make the topping, combine the flour, oats, sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl; whisk to blend. Add in the butter pieces and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.
To assemble the muffins, fill each muffin well with a small amount of batter, just enough to cover the bottom of the liner (1-2 tablespoons). Place a dollop of the cream cheese mixture into each muffin well. Divide the remaining batter among the muffin cups, placing on top of the cream cheese to cover completely. Sprinkle a small amount of the topping mixture over each of the muffin wells.
Bake for 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving. (It may be hard to resist immediate consumption, but the cream cheese filling gets very hot!)
*Topping is completely optional, and they are good both ways. I think some chopped pecans or walnuts would also be very good mixed in with the topping.