Monday, February 18, 2008

Muffins on Monday

It's not often that I get to bake on Monday morning, since I'm usually at work.  I get a day off during the week when I'll be working on Saturday, and this week I had to take it on Monday--the day care is closed for teacher training (they do this every Presidents Day).  I was too tired to bake anything for breakfast yesterday, but I knew I'd have another chance today.  I thought I'd make muffins so I'd have something to eat for breakfast for the rest of the week (no leftovers from bagel experiments this weekend).  I've been on the fence about whether to make other recipes from Baking From My Home to Yours, since I don't know what will eventually end up as a TWD recipe, but decided to go for it.  The thing that was most appealing today was Allspice Crumb Muffins.  

I realized something this morning...  if you're going to insist on working in the kitchen with a child hanging on your legs and crying, don't be surprised if things don't turn out quite the way they're supposed to.  Gillian is recovering from some sort of stomach bug (at least I hope we're done with the worst of it), and has been especially clingy this morning.  As a result, I missed the part in the recipe about putting the crumb topping in the fridge while making the muffin batter. They looked fine going into the oven.  When I took them out, I discovered that the crumbs had melted quite a bit, and the muffin tops were all run together.  Oops.  But hey, they still tasted delicious!  I'm definitely going to have to make these again.  And maybe next time I'll manage to eat them before noon.  =)

Allspice Crumb Muffins
(adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan)

For the crumbs:
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground allspice
5 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

For the muffin batter:
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp table salt
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 stick (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
3/4 cup lowfat milk
1/4 tsp vanilla

Getting ready:  
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Butter or spray the 12 molds in a standard 12-cup muffin pan (I use Pam for Baking).  
To make the crumbs:  
Put the flour, brown sugar and allspice in a small bowl (not too small, or you won't be able to get both hands in there) and sift them through your fingers to blend.  Add the bits of cold butter and toss to coat, then use your fingers to work the butter into the dry ingredients until you've got irregularly shaped crumbs.  Set aside in the refrigerator for the moment.  

To make the muffin batter:  
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, allspice and salt.  Stir in the brown sugar, making certain there are no lumps.  In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk the melted butter, eggs, milk and vanilla together until well combined.  (After I added the milk to the butter, I had to warm it in the microwave for a few seconds because the butter congealed in big clumps.  Then I whisked in the eggs and vanilla.)  Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and, with a rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend. Don't worry about being thorough--the batter will be lumpy, and that's jut the way it should be. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups (I used my #16 disher).  Sprinkle some of the crumbs over each muffin, then use your fingertips to gently press the crumbs into the batter (I missed that part, too).  

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a thin knife inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean.  Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing each muffin from its mold.  

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