Saturday, July 30, 2011
The other day I had a sudden, intense craving for a baked treat with cinnamon. I couldn't decide what would fit the bill, so I went about my day. Meanwhile, Alyssa went through some of my cookbooks and found that I had marked this recipe. She prepared the muffins for me and I was able to meet my craving with these delicious muffins we served as dessert for dinner.
½ cup toasted walnut pieces, coarsely ground
8 tablespoons (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled (divided into 3 tablespoons + 5 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon salt (divided into ¼ teaspoon + ½ teaspoon)
2 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
2 cups (8 ½ ounces) all-purpose flour
2/3 cup (4 5/8 ounces) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup (8 ounces) buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Prepare muffin tins by spraying with Baker’s Joy or lining with paper muffin cups.
To make the filling for the muffins, stir the ground walnuts, 3 tablespoons melted butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, and ¼ teaspoon of the salt in a small bowl until well blended. Set aside.
Beat the egg whites in a second medium bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until stiff but moist peaks form, about 2 minutes. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt until uniform. Set aside as well.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, buttermilk, the remaining melted butter, and vanilla until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until moistened. Then gently fold in the beaten whites just until no streaks of white are visible.
Fill the prepared muffin tins halfway with batter, smoothing it out to meet the sides of the indentations. Top each with 1 tablespoon of the cinnamon and walnut mixture. Divide the remaining batter equally among the tins, filling them three-quarters full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the muffins are well browned and a toothpick inserted in the center of one muffin comes out with a few mosit crumbs attached.
Set the pan on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Gently rock each muffin back and forth to release it. Remove the muffins from the pan and cool for 5 minutes more on the rack before serving.
- Add ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips to the batter before stirring in the flour mixture.
- Dip top of each baked muffin in Vanilla Dip. To make Vanilla Dip, stir together 2 tablespoons water, 2 teaspoons light corn syrup, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a small saucepan until the salt dissolves. Place the pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer without stirring. Once it simmers, remove at once from the heat and stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Stir in 1 ¼ cups confectioners’ sugar in ¼ cup increments until the dip is smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl to cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
- Top the muffins with Nut Crunch Topping before baking. To make Nut Crunch Topping stir together ½ cup (3 ¾ ounces) light brown sugar with 3 tablespoons melted & cooled unsalted butter. Add 1/3 cup finely chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts or almonds) and 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon flour. Stir until the mixture can be pressed together into clumps between your fingers. Before baking, sprinkle the topping evenly on the muffin tips by squeezing and crumbling the mixture between your fingers, using approximately 1 ½ tablespoons per muffin.
Recipe source: The Ultimate Muffin Book