I rarely bake. I'm really not a very well-rounded foodie. Growing up I was quite the baker, but I lost interest along the way. I love cooking dinners, lunches and breakfasts, even many desserts, but let me tell you, it's been awhile since I've made a muffin. Somewhere in my grown-up world, muffins got cast aside as a heavy, calorie laden food that just wasn't worth those calories. I've been quite content spending my food cash at the Sour Cream Imporium, Bacon Fat-o-Rama, and The Ginasium.
However, if anyone can inspire me to bake, it's Ms. Cream Puff herself. She proclaimed these the best muffins ever and she's quite adamant that they will kick your muffin's ass into next week. So, I had to try them. I wanted to bring something baked and homey to my friend Kim. She got married this weekend and since she put me up for the entire time, the only thing to do was to be a good houseguest and bring muffins. And wine. Good pairing, eh? You know...something for the morning and something for the evening!
Next time you're a house guest or are having some, bake up a batch of these and they'll be gone before you know it. These, I'm happy to say, are worth every sinful bite. I got many compliments all weekend about these muffins!
I actually find these muffins incredibly light and airy - not at all like those coffee shop versions that weigh 3 pounds each. They really aren't overly sweet, either, which may surprise you, given all the brown sugar. The topping is just perfectly sweet and crusty which goes so well with the very tender crumb of the muffin. Even those of you who normally only like muffin tops will devour the whole thing, I assure you. You can substitute any fruit you like in these, but if you use berries (fresh or frozen) like I did, toss them with just a teaspoon of flour before folding them into the batter. They won't burst (making your muffins blue) and they will hold their place in the batter instead of sinking to the bottom. A good little tip for any muffins, coffeecakes or breads!Blueberry Muffins topped with Pecan Streusel
(adapted from Cream Puffs in Venice
and Adapted from The Best of BetterBaking.com by Marcy Goldman)
1 Tbsp cold unsalted butter
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
a generous 1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/3 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
1 1/2 Tbsp lemon zest, grated
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract, optional
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 3/4 cup blueberries (or other fruit: apples, peaches, bananas, coarsely chopped)
Cut together the streusel topping in a small bowl with a fork or pastry cutter. It should be coarse and grainy, like sand. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners. Get out 2 bowls - one for wet ingredients and one for dry.
Mix together the dry ingredients in the bigger bowl (the flour, salt, baking and soda powders). In the other bowl, whisk together the oil, brown sugar, citrus zest and egg. When smooth, whisk in the buttermilk and extracts. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture. Gently mix together until fully combined. Do not overmix. Fold in the fruit with some care. The batter will be stiff.
Fill the batter equally among the 12 muffin cups all the way to the top. Cap each muffin with a hefty amount of the streusel topping. It will seem like a lot, but use it all. Bake for 15 minutes and then lower the temperature to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) for another 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest in the pan for another 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack. Makes 12 muffins, obviously. Ivonne says they freeze wonderfully, too!