Thursday, March 1, 2012

Cinnamon Nut Muffins

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...These tangy and sweetly spiced muffins are the result of several staged experiments gone bad. I was trying to create a muffin that had a crackly, sugar crusted top, much like that of a snickerdoodle. My quest began with cookies. Now, part of the problem was I'm not expert with this type of cookie. As a matter of fact, I had my first snickerdoodle just last week and I must admit I was underwhelmed. At the suggestion of the Silver Fox I grabbed a recipe from a source I trusted and made a batch for us to sample. They were fine but neither of us thought the cookies fell into the Remembrance of Things Past category. Not easily discouraged, but for reasons that are still unclear to me, I decided the topping, especially if it could be given some crunch, would be perfect for muffins. Out came the pots and pans and I began my search for what I hoped would be the ultimate muffin. My first attempt was a standard bread-type muffin that I thought was too dry. I moved on and tried a cake-style muffin that had better texture but surprising little flavor. I tried yet again and ended up recreating large French Breakfast Puffs. Still undeterred, I pulled out my go-to muffin recipe, which by the way comes from Cook's Illustrated, swapped out the sugar and added some nuts and spices for additional flavor and had another go at it. I must say the muffins were quite nice, but I was never able to achieve the crunchy top that started the whole experiment. If you are looking for a nicely spiced cake-type muffin, you might want to give these a try. They may not rival Madeleine's in the realm of memory, but they are great with tea. Here's the recipe.

Cinnamon Nut Muffins...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite adapted from Cook's Illustrated


1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon mace
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup golden brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1-1/2 cups plain low-fat yogurt
1-1/2 cups toasted chopped walnuts
Vegetable oil, cooking spray or additional butter for muffin tins

1) Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 375 F. Mix topping cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl.
2) Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, mace and nutmeg in medium bowl; set aside.
3) Beat butter and sugar 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. Alternating 1/3 at a time, beat in the dry ingredients and yogurt until a smooth, thick batter just forms. Fold in walnuts.
4) Spray 1 or 2 12-cup muffin tins with cooking spray or coat lightly with butter. Use large ice cream scoop to divide batter evenly among cups. Generously sprinkle tops with cinnamon sugar mixture. Bake until muffins are golden brown, about 25 minutes for the large muffins. Set on wire rack to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle again with cinnamon sugar. Remove muffins from tin and serve warm. Yield: 12 large or 18 medium muffins.

One Year Ago Today: German Chocolate and Almond Cocoa Cream Cake

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Alicia said...

I read through the recipe and it sounds amazing. I've never heard of mace though. I wonder what flavor that gives these muffins?
Will have to try them.

David said...

Mary, These muffins sound terrific! My wife and I were spoiled by the great muffins we found in the Boston area some years back. Maybe these will get the job done for us... Thanks for the recipe. Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Ginny said...

I love muffins, and these looks so good. I will make six at a time and bake them in the toaster oven. And cinnamon is now really good for diabetes, so this is health food!

Lenia said...

Wonderful recipe!I love the perfume of cinammon!Blessings,dear!

Coleens Recipes said...

What a great breakfast!!

My Little Space said...

Oh wow, what a funny looking muffin! Looks more like a scone. Cute! Have to bookmark this for sure. Thanks again, Mary.
Hope you're having a fabulous day.

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The Blonde Duck said...

With a name like that, how can they not be good?

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Mary, you always amaze me in your quest for "one perfect bite". ;)

I'm sure I would have any of the versions you rejected. LOL!

Hope you have a wonderful day. blessings ~ tanna

Jenn said...

I'm a fan of anything with cinnamon and nuts! I bet they smelled so wonderful while baking too!

Sue/the view from great island said...

I'm on a lifelong quest for the perfect muffin, so I will give these a try, they certainly look the part! it's been ages since I've used mace, I can't even remember what it tastes like.

Sue/the view from great island said...

I'm on a lifelong quest for the perfect muffin, so I will give these a try, they certainly look the part! it's been ages since I've used mace, I can't even remember what it tastes like.

Henry said...

Wow looks delicious, think kind of post makes me visit food blog everyday.

Rachana said...

This recipe sounds wonderful. So flavourful and delicious.

Kim said...

Sometimes, I'm in quest for some stuff to... I totally recognized myself in your description. These muffins, even if they are not what you wanted to achieve looks pretty good!

From the Kitchen said...

May I give you a challenge? One of coming up with madeleines with a crunchy cinnamon sugar topping? Marcel and I would be ever so appreciative!!


Clint said...

The problem I have with your dialogue is that I believe you to be a paragon in all things culinary and I cannot accept that you did not perfectly achieve your goal of the perfect muffin.

JG said...

Mary, these look delicious! If it tastes like a New England Snickerdoodle we'd enjoy them.

Lynda said...

These are great looking muffins Mary, even if they didn't turn out like you hoped. I imagine they'll hit the spot with a cup of tea or coffe to go along. Thanks for sharing!

Amalia said...

I agree, snickerdoodles aren't all that great. But these look way better! I think it's hard finding a good muffin recipe, they tend to be too dry and rubbery so these will definitely have to be the next muffins I try!

The Harried Cook said...

These look great! I would be more than happy to polish off whatevers left on the plate - if there was anything left! looks way yummier than snickerdoodles! Being a HUGE nutmeg fan, I must mention that I love the addition of mace...

Joanne said...

I can't believe you don't like snickerdoodles! I'm sure these muffins are delicious nonetheless...I'm a sucker for anything cinnamony.

Red Nomad OZ said...

Marvellous!! Anything cinnamon works for me - now if only I could find someone to make them for me!!!!

Don't know if you're still interested in passing on a RED recipe + short i/v for my RED Alert series? Totally OK if not! Just askin'!!

Hovkonditorn said...

Ohh, these sound so delicious! Have a great day!

What's Baking?? said...

Determination always pay off, Mary! Nice looking muffin and I especially like the aroma of cinnamon in any bakes. Well done!

Becki's Whole Life said...

I love the flavors in this muffin and I love the sugar topping.

I do love snickerdoodles, but only if they have cream of tartar in them.

tenderb said...

Walnuts and cinnamon..perfect.

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