Well, the Big Day is finally here: I got to be the one to select the TWD recipe for the week! In case you haven't been the one to choose a recipe yet, let me just say there is a lot of pressure going into this honor. First, you have to actually select a recipe that has yet to be chosen out of this huge book of recipes and get over the fact that someone may frown at you for your choice (a really hard thing for me); Second, you have to be willing to visit ALL the blogs and comment on as many of the posts as you can (a huge time commitment, but also a fun one); and Third, you have to answer the Questionnaire they send to you so that you can share with the world your most intimate secrets for them to post on the TWD site that week. YIKES, a lot more goes into this than meets the eye.
I knew I wanted something simple as I am all about simplicity on a daily basis, something that would appeal to a good portion of the bakers, something that didn't cost a lot as sometimes recipes can get a little pricey, and better even if everyone did not have to run to the store or search around town for hard to find ingredients, something seasonal that would make the house smell like fall or get one in the mood for the upcoming holiday season, something that would be kid friendly (I have a couple of those and all), something I might possibly make again and again and be delighted that I found a wonderful repeat recipe, something NOT chocolate, but perhaps with some lemon or at least the possibility of lemon in there somewhere, and something that didn't take a lot of time or use up lots of pots/pans/utensils/dishes in the making. So, with all of that in mind, I set out to find the definitive recipe that would fulfill all those wishes.
How did I do? At my house, I did very well...this is a great recipe that definitely met all my criteria and expectations (yes, I added the optional lemon zest from one full lemon). I always follow the recipe as closely as possible the first time I make it, without any add-ins or changes, so I followed this one exactly and it was perfect as written. Perfect. Did you get that? Perfect! We loved the muffins even more than I thought we would.They are tender, moist, flavorful, easy, and melt in your mouth! It made 12...I told the guys it only made 10. Yep, I ate TWO, one warm straight out of the oven, and one a little later (I had to know if they were good at room temperature, right?) and both were absolutely delightful.
Each week, the hostess/host gets to post the chosen recipe on her/his site. Dorie Greenspan has graciously and generously specifically indicated that the recipe can be posted on the site of the person who chooses the recipe that week. So, without further adieu, thanks to the author herself, here is the recipe for Allspice Crumb Muffins from the cookbook Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, found on pages 16-17.
Allspice Crumb Muffins
For the Streusel:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
5 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
For the Muffins:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1 lemon (optional)
Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter or spray the 12 molds in a regular-size muffin pan or fit the molds with paper cups. Alternatively, use a silicone muffin pan which needs neither greasing nor paper cups. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet.
To Make the Streusel: Put the flour, brown sugar and allspice in a small bowl and sift them through your fingers to blend. Add the bits of cold butter and toss to get irregularly shaped crumbs. Set aside in the refrigerator for the moment. (You can make the crumbs up to 3 days ahead and keep them covered in the refrigerator.)
To Make the Muffins: 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 extract together until well combined. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and, with the whisk or a rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend. Don't worry about being thorough--the batter will be lumpy, and that is just the way it should be. Stir in the lemon zest, if you're using it.
Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups. Sprinkle some streusel over each muffin, then use your fingertips to gently press the crumbs into the batter.
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. Next week: Erin of Prudence Pennywise picked Sweet Potato Biscuits, page 26.