Monday, March 26, 2018

Crumb Muffins

I’m a creature of habit. One of my favorite breakfast foods is muffins. Well, I also really like oatmeal, but the last recipe I tried (peanut butter, banana, and chocolate baked oatmeal) was only okay, not great. So I went back to muffins, and since the Engineer is drinking Soylent most mornings and the Little Prince is in a phase where he doesn’t like blueberries, I made a blueberry muffin for one, but it just served to remind me that I don’t like microwaved mug muffins!

Then I made banana chocolate chip crumb muffins, which should have been great, but were really underwhelming. That being said, I had about half of the topping mixture left, and because it contains lactose-free butter (which is like gold around here), I really didn’t want it to go to waste. So I made a batch of the original recipe, the bakery-style crumb muffins, and those were fantastic! I’m not sure how the plain version was so much better than the banana chocolate chip variation, but there you have it. I’m reducing the amount of topping below, so that you don’t end up with way too much, but do try to use lactose-free butter instead of margarine sticks, it’ll make a difference here. These muffins freeze beautifully.

For the crumb topping
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 pinch salt
5 Tbsp. lactose-free butter, melted and cooled
¾ cup + 2 Tbsp. cake flour

For the muffins
2 ½ cups cake flour
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
12 Tbsp. (6 oz.) lactose-free butter, melted and cooled
2/3 cup buttermilk (lactose-free milk with a splash of lemon juice)
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ cup powdered sugar (optional; I didn’t use it)

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 °F. Line a standard 12-well muffin tin with paper liners, or coat the wells with butter or cooking spray; set aside.

To make the crumb topping, whisk the granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt together in a medium bowl. Whisk in the butter until well-combined (the trick here is to avoid over-mixing, as this will turn chunks of topping into finer crumbs). Stir in the flour until the mixture is just combined (again, don’t over-mix – you want nuggets, not sand!), with thick, wet chunks; set aside.

To make the muffins, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl; set aside.

Whisk the butter, buttermilk, eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla together in a medium bowl until combined.
Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and mix with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until just combined; some lumps are fine.

Divide the batter among the prepared muffin wells, filling each one ¾ of the way full. Divide the reserved crumbs among the muffin wells, and gently press them into the batter.

Bake until the muffins are golden-brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 20 to 24 minutes. Cool the muffins in the pan for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Dust the muffins with the powdered sugar just before serving.

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