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Monday, October 11, 2010

Allspice Muffins

I've become rather forgetful as of late.  It gets frustrating at times: relying on email reminder messages or daily to-do lists.  I am hoping that once I graduate, this nonsensical habit will stop, but I'm afraid that it will not.  I, and countless others, are too reliant on "reminders" but I have always been strong in the birthday capacity.  I think this is because birthdays are so special to me.  Every one deserves a day where all attention is dedicated to them and pampering is a necessity.

So, imagine my embarrassment when I forgot not one, not two, but THREE birthdays in one week.  This was an unfortunate, depressing feeling.  Forgotten birthday number one was semi-cured with flowers.  Forgotten birthday number two was semi-cured with these muffins.  I was torn between a few different recipes I had been meaning to try, but in the end settled on Dorie Greenspan's Allspice muffins from her cookbook, Baking: From my Home to Yours.  Dorie has never failed me in the past and I was looking for a quick and easy muffin to mix up before heading to school.  One thing that I love about Dorie is that she is not afraid of butter.  This recipe was no different.

I settled on muffins because I was bringing them on a day when I needed to get to school early, so the baking had to take place before I left for the day.  This meant that these muffins were baked at 5:30 a.m. They were fresh.  (All baked goods taste better on the day they are made.)  Even better, I mixed up the streusel the night before so the actual preparation took only 20 minutes.  I didn't have one, but I believe they were received well.  Perhaps the best thing about these muffins was the fact that the house still smelled of baked goodness when I arrived 5 hours later.
Allspice Muffins
Dorie Greenspan:  Baking - from My Home to Yours
Yield:  12 muffins
  • Streusel
    • 1/2 cup AP flour
    • 1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
    • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
    • 5 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
  • Muffins
    • 2 cups AP flour
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 Tbsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
    • 1 stick (8 Tbsp) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
    • 2 large eggs
    • 3/4 cup whole milk
    • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
    • grated zest of 1 lemon (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Prepare muffin tin with either butter, spray, or paper cups.  Place the muffin tin on a baking sheet.
  2. To make the streusel:  Put the flour, brown sugar and allspice in a small bowl and blend.  Add the bits of cold butter, toss to coat, and work the butter into the dry ingredients until you have irregularly shaped crumbs.  Cover and put in refrigerator.
  3. To make the muffins:  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, allspice and salt.  Stir in the brown sugar, making sure there are no lumps.  
  4. In another bowl, whisk the melted butter, eggs, milk and vanilla together until well combined.
  5. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry and whisk gently, but quickly, to blend.  (Batter will be lumpy.)
  6. Stir in the lemon zest, if using.
  7. Divide batter evenly among muffins cups.  Sprinkle some streusel over each muffin and press into the batter.  (There will be plenty leftover!)
  8. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and a tester comes out clean.
  9. Transfer to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing each muffin from its mold.
And as for forgotten birthday number three?  She's still mad... no matter how many kitty treats I have given to apologize.

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