Cinnamon Muffins

cinnamonmuffinsMost of the world’s cinnamon comes from Sri Lanka, but other countries – like Madagascar, China, Vietnam, and Indonesia – also grow and process this popular spice. My favorite cinnamon is Vietnamese, which has a slightly more spicy flavor than your average, from-the-grocery-store cinnamon. I purchase it at Penzey’s in Pittsburgh’s Strip district, along with Mexican vanilla extract and Tahitian vanilla beans for the baker’s version of a splurge.

These muffins include Vietnamese cinnamon of the “extra fancy” variety – and yes, I keep both this and regular, from-the-grocery-store cinnamon in my pantry. I’m a generous measurer of cinnamon as well, so if you’re looking for a more mellow flavor, you can always cut back a bit.

These muffins are prepared two ways; first with what the original recipe called a streusel topping, which I expected to be more crumb-like but turned out to be more of a crunchy coating, and second with a cinnamon vanilla drizzle. Whatever you choose, you won’t go wrong – or if you’re feeling really adventurous, do both! I chose to put the streusel crunch on the first batch, and went with the glaze on the second batch because some of my streusel crunch-coated muffins burned at the edges a bit. When dropping your streusel crunch pieces onto your muffins, be careful to keep them as close to the center as possible, as they can spread and burn. Note: this recipe yielded 20 muffins.

Ingredients

Cinnamon Muffins

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg, beaten

Streusel Crunch (makes enough for all of the muffins)

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces

Cinnamon Vanilla Glaze (makes enough for 8 muffins)

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • About 1 teaspoon water

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners; my recipe yielded 20 muffins.

Make the streusel crunch: in a small bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Cut in butter, or rub in with your hands, until the mixture comes together; the original recipe said this would go crumb-like, but that didn’t happen to mine. I had to pull it apart and place drops of it on the muffins, rather than sprinkling it.

Make the muffins: in a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Make a well in the center.

In a large glass measuring cup, combine milk, melted butter, vanilla, and egg and whisk to combine. Pour into the well in the dry mixture and mix until just combined and no dry streaks remain.

Using a 2-inch cookie scoop, drop scoops of dough into prepared muffin tins. If using, place drops of streusel crunch on tops of muffins.

Bake for 18-2o minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and immediately remove muffins to a wire rack to cool completely if glazing.

Make the glaze: in a small bowl, combine powdered sugar and cinnamon, stirring to combine. Add vanilla extract, then add water about 1/4 teaspoon at a time to reach a drizzly consistency.

Drizzle over cooled muffins; I placed my drizzle in a small zip-top bag and piped it on, but ypu could just drizzle it with a spoon.

 

Advertisements

Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

pumpkin streusel muffinsPumpkin is not just for fall cooking and baking, my friends. Pumpkin puree is available year-round, making pumpkin treats like muffins, quick breads, smoothies, even pumpkin ravioli a possibility in any season.

These muffins are similar to coffee cake, and I admit, they could use some ginger. I didn’t realize I was out of ginger until I started whipping up this batch yesterday, and I figured the cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice would hold their own. While these muffins are definitely tasty, and the crunchy streusel topping gives them great texture, next time I’ll add about 1/2 teaspoon of ginger to the mix.

I also think these muffins could benefit from a light drizzle or glaze, made from powdered sugar and water and maybe a dash or two of cinnamon. Next time, perhaps!

Ingredients

For the streusel topping

  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

For the muffins

  • 1 2/3 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, plus an extra dash if you like
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 8 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two muffin tins with paper liners.

Make the streusel: in a small bowl combine flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Rub in the butter with your hands until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Stir in pecans; set aside.

Make the muffins: In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg.

In a separate, medium-sized bowl whisk melted butter, eggs, and pumpkin puree until well-combined.

Add pumpkin mixture to dry mixture and stir to incorporate so that no dry streaks remain.

Using a two-inch cookie scoop, scoop batter into prepared muffin tins. Top each with a tablespoon of streusel mix.

Bake for 16-18 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Cool in tins for a minute or two, then remove to wire racks to cool completely. These muffins could also be served warm.

Coffee Cake Muffins

coffee cake muffinAs I’ve mentioned before, any time cake is considered a breakfast food, I’m on board. These coffee cake muffins are a great alternative to the full cake version, especially if you’re baking for a smaller crowd. Today, my small office team welcomed a new colleague, and I wasn’t in need of a whole coffee cake–so this 12-muffin recipe worked out very well. (That’s my desk in the photo to the left, and yes, my mouse pad looks a bit like the Wonder Bread logo.)

I adapted this recipe slightly from a recipe in my trusty Better Homes & Gardens 25th Anniversary Cookbook and have just a few suggestions for further adaptations in the future. Next time I’d like to use pecans instead of walnuts, and I’ll probably use vanilla extract in the drizzle instead of water. The drizzle wasn’t part of the original recipe, but I think it adds a nice hint of sweetness to these otherwise spicy muffins.

Ingredients

For the streusel filling and topping:

  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small cubes
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts

For the muffins:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk or sour milk*

For the drizzle:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • About 1 teaspoon water

*If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can make sour milk by placing 1/2 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice into a glass measuring cup, then pouring in enough milk to make a full 1/2 cup. Let stand for 5 minutes before using. 

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

Make the streusel: in a small bowl, stir together flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Add butter and rub in until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Stir in chopped walnuts; set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Add butter and rub in until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Combine beaten egg and buttermilk or sour milk, then add all at once to the crumb mixture, stirring until just combined. Batter will be lumpy.

Using a one-inch cookie scoop, drop scoops of batter into prepared muffin tin, filling about 1/3 full. Top with half the streusel mixture, then layer the remaining batter and the remaining streusel mixture.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before drizzling.

Make the drizzle: in a small bowl combine powdered sugar and about 1/2 teaspoon water. Stir, adding more water as necessary to reach a drizzle consistency. Place drizzle into a piping bag fitted with a small plain tip and pipe in whatever pattern you like. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

Classic Coffee Cake

classic coffee cakeRemember when people actually visited one another, instead of just interacting online? When they put on nice clothes and went to the home of a friend, relative, or neighbor with the sole purpose of simply spending time with them, catching up, maybe playing a card game or just enjoying a cup of coffee together? This practice may be long gone, but I surely hope it makes a comeback someday.

Whenever I think of such visits, I think of coffee cake, the go-to treat that a savvy hostess would have either already have on hand in case someone stopped by or could whip up at a moment’s notice. I imagine that my grandmothers would have had recipes for coffee cake, though I honestly can’t recall either of them actually baking one.

This coffee cake is a slight adaptation from the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook buttermilk coffee cake recipe; I adjusted the spices and added some drizzle icing for a sincerely delicious treat. This coffee cake went into the office with me earlier in the week and was devoured within about 24 hours. It has a wonderful texture, just crumbly enough but not too crumbly; you could use walnuts instead of pecans if you like, but being a pecan fan, they’re my preferred baked-good nut and are a great match for the cinnamon and nutmeg in this cake.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 10 2/3 tablespoons butter, cold, cut into small cubes
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/3 cups buttermilk (or sour milk, see note below)
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 – 1 tablespoons water

Note: if you don’t have buttermilk, you can make sour milk and substitute it for the same amount of buttermilk that you need. For each cup of sour milk needed, place 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar in a glass measuring cup and add enough milk to make 1 cup total of liquid. Stir together and then let stand for 5 minutes before using.

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of a 13 x 9 pan.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, and salt; add butter and rub in with your hands, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Reserve 1/2 cup of crumb mixture and combine it with chopped pecans for topping.

Stir in baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

In a large glass measuring cup, combine buttermilk and beaten eggs, then add to the dry mixture all at once and stir until well-combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan and sprinkle with crumb/pecan mixture.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely before drizzling, or simply serve warm, right out of the oven, without drizzle.

To make drizzle, place powdered sugar and vanilla in a small bowl and stir together. Add water, a small amount at a time, to make a drizzly consistency; you may need to add more water, then a bit more powdered sugar, to get the consistency you’d like.

Drizzle over cooled cake and allow to set for about 15 minutes before serving.