Raspberry Almond Muffins with Cinnamon Sugar Topping

I’m still on my muffin kick. This week, I explored Raspberry Almond Muffins. Rather than attempting to mix in actual (fragile) raspberries into an otherwise sturdy dough, this calls for a teaspoon of raspberry jam in the center of the batter.

Raspberry Muffins

Previously, I’ve had all kinds of problems baking with jam in the center of dough: the jam sinks to the bottom, explodes/oozes out of the top, seriously sucks and pisses me off, etc. Fortunately this batter is sturdy enough for the jam, which transfuses itself through the muffin nicely during the baking process. After half of the batter is placed in each muffin cup, a small well is made inside for the jam to go into. This is very important, as the jam will move around when you spread the rest of the batter on top. For example, a couple of my wells weren’t deep enough and the jam was spread to one side and baked on that side. The muffins don’t look any different, but it took me a few bites before I found the fun, jammy center.

I know. It’s rough.

Raspberry Jam

After they came out of the oven, I jacked up the action by dipping the tops in melted butter, then a cinnamon sugar mixture.

Raspberry Almond Muffins with Cinnamon Sugar Topping
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar, less 1 tablespoon
1 ounce almond paste, crumbled (3 tablespoons)
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cups plain low-fat yogurt
12 teaspoons raspberry jam
Vegetable cooking spray or additional unsalted butter for muffin tins

Cinnamon Sugar Topping
4 tablespoons butter, melted and warm
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon

Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl; set aside.

Beat butter, sugar, and almond paste with electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in one-half of dry ingredients. Beat in one-third of yogurt. Beat in remaining dry ingredients in two batches, alternating with yogurt, until incorporated.

Spray twelve-cup muffin tin with vegetable cooking spray or coat lightly with butter. Spoon one-half portion of batter into each muffin cup. With small spoon, make well in center of each cup of dough. Spoon 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons raspberry (or any flavored) jam into each well. Fill with remaining batter. Bake until muffins are golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Set on wire rack to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove muffins from tin.

For cinnamon sugar topping: Melt butter. Meanwhile, mix cinnamon and sugar for topping. Gently dip muffin tops into warm, melted butter, then into cinnamon sugar mixture. Serve warm.

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Blueberry Muffins with Streusel Topping

I’m trying to think of what I could possibly say that would do these muffins justice.

Blueberry Muffins with Streusel Topping

Nothing really comes to mind so I’ll let the picture speak for itself.

Since I whipped together the Ellie Krieger Apple Muffins, I’ve been on a muffin kick. They’re a great morning treat that goes well with coffee or tea or simply stuffed into your mouth a la cart. These muffins in particular are dreamy: The light and fluffy texture of the muffin is out of this world. Plus, there’s an added bonus — a simple, homemade blueberry jam is swirled into each muffin for a little extra goodness.

Blueberry Muffin Swirled Jam 2

This is another Cook’s Illustrated recipe that I am proud to share. If you want to cook and you’re looking for one source that never fails, Cook’s Illustrated is it.

I know you’re sick of hearing me say that, but I just can’t help myself. Last week I bought two more Cook’s Illustrated books (The Best 30-Minute Recipe and Baking Illustrated) and I really can’t wait to share what I’ve been cooking out of them. But first, these muffins.

Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry Muffins with Streusel Topping
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Streusel Topping
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
Pinch table salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and warm

Muffins
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 1/8 cups sugar (8 ounces) plus 1 teaspoon
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly (1/2 stick)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. FOR THE TOPPING: Stir together sugar, brown sugar, salt, and flour in small bowl until combined. Drizzle with warm butter and toss with fork until evenly moistened and mixture forms large chunks with some pea-sized pieces throughout. Set aside.

2. FOR THE MUFFINS: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray standard muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Bring 1 cup blueberries and 1 teaspoon sugar to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing berries with spoon several times and stirring frequently, until berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced to ΒΌ cup, about 6 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.

3. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl. Whisk remaining 11/8 cups sugar and eggs together in medium bowl until thick and homogeneous, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in butter and oil until combined. Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla until combined. Using rubber spatula, fold egg mixture and remaining cup blueberries into flour mixture until just moistened.

4. Divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups. Spoon teaspoon of cooked berry mixture into center of each mound of batter. Using chopstick or skewer, gently swirl berry filling into batter using figure-eight motion. Sprinkle streusel topping evenly over muffins.

Apple Muffins

I don’t keep breakfast items readily available in the house. There’s always dry cereal, but we don’t use the milk fast enough to warrant keeping a lot of it in the refrigerator, and the cereal sits alone, unwanted. I like breakfast, specifically something that goes well with my coffee. Yep, you guessed it — more Ellie!

Unfortunately a lot of my photographs that I took didn’t come out well so, just a few minutes ago, I set up a little faux photo studio made from pages of a white “While You Were Out” message pad.

It was the best I could do.

apple-muffin-1

I wish these were a lot more photogenic. Sadly, their modest appearance just doesn’t do the taste justice. These little gems are moist, sweet muffins with tender bits of apple baked throughout. And they’re delicious. Coming from someone who generally dislikes apples, that’s quite a statement. But that’s not the best bit. What really makes this little gem is the tasty brown sugar, cinnamon and pecan streusel on top.

Apple Muffins 2

These go together fast and they’re very easy, not to mention that they contain a lot of nutritious things your body needs — such as the applesauce and whole wheat. And yet, I don’t taste the “diet” element in this, something I am incredibly picky about. I don’t drink diet sodas nor do I eat a lot of sugar substitutes. They don’t taste right to me. These scrumptious muffins taste dynamite and you’re giving your body good, too.

Most importantly, it’s great with my coffee. I take two of these to work with me in a little plastic sandwich bag so I can eat them at my desk. They’re incredibly moist and surprisingly sweet and, because they’re in muffin format, they’re portable.

The recipe was adapted from Ellie Krieger’s book that I’ve been going on and on about. You’re probably sick of hearing about it by now, but I’m just in love with what I’m able to find inside. Remember those portobello lasagna roll ups I made not too long ago? I remade them the other night using creminis and turkey sausage. So yummy.

Anyway, most of the ingredients for this recipe were already in my cupboard, except for the applesauce. The only applesauce I had contained sugar, and what the recipe recommends is natural. To compensate, I cut the brown sugar in half, and still came out with something really special. My version is below. You can find Ellie’s original in her book, or on the Food Network website.

Apple Muffins
Adapted from Ellie Krieger

Cooking spray
3/8 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup lowfat buttermilk
1 Golden Delicious apple, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch pieces

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a 12-capacity muffin pan with cooking spray. In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of the brown sugar, the pecans and cinnamon.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose and whole-wheat flour, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk the remaining 3/4 cup sugar and oil until combined. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk in the applesauce and vanilla. Whisk in the flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the buttermilk. Whisk just until combined. Gently stir in the apple chunks.

Pour the batter into the prepared muffin pan and sprinkle with the pecan mixture. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center of 1 of the muffins comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the muffins to loosen them and unmold. Cool completely on the rack.

I’m going to keep making these so I can have them on hand. I have a lot of leftover blueberries in my fridge so I’m going to switch those in for the apple and see what happens.

apple-muffin-bite