Sunday, February 17, 2008

Nothin' Says Lovin' Like Somethin' In My Muffin

As I'm starting to clean out my pantry in preparation for this summer's round of preservation, I'm astonished at the quantity of jam I have stashed away. I haven't taken a mini-census of all the jam jars, but it would be fair to say I have way more than I'm going to eat by the time summer rolls around.

What's a girl to do?

OK, the logical thing to do would be to bake bread more regularly and feast on jam-slathered toast as a regular occurrence. I just can't bring myself to do that, though. That's way too predictable.

Instead, this morning I pulled out the Sour Cream Muffin recipe from the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking book and –- you guessed it -– modified it to suit my tastes for the day.

I replaced the sour cream with strained semi-local plain organic yogurt, used spelt flour instead of whole wheat, reduced the quantity of sugar (and tossed in a little local maple sugar), and added cinnamon and cardamom to the batter. But the biggest change of all came from replacing the fresh or frozen fruit called for in the recipe with a half-pint jar of My Fabulous Aunt's peach jam.

I mixed the jam into the dough and then scooped it into the greased muffin tins before adding a simple streusel of maple sugar, chopped walnuts, more spices, and melted butter.

The muffins smelled so good as they baked –- warm, fruity, spicy, and altogether inviting -– that when they came out of the oven, I could barely restrain myself from tucking into them right away. (I did, of course, else all you'd see here would be crumbs.)

The luxurious peach flavor worked its way throughout the muffins, and the spicy crunch on top made the perfect counterbalance to the moist crumb. In short, another winner of a breakfast treat!

And that is definitely somethin' to love.

Jam and Streusel Muffins

According to the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking instructions, you could make this batter and refrigerate it for at least an hour, which allows the grains to absorb more liquid. I found, though, that even without that rest period the muffins turned out perfectly moist and tender. You may also want to modify what spices and flavor extracts you use depending on what kind of jam you add to the batter.

2 c whole wheat pastry or spelt flour
1/2 c unbleached flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
4 T unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 c sugar (I used cane juice crystals)
1/4 c maple sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 c strained plain yogurt
1 c peach jam

1/4 c chopped walnuts or pecans
1/4 c maple sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
2 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease muffin tins and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter with sugar and maple sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and almond extract and beat well. Add yogurt, mixing until batter becomes creamy. Add dry ingredients in two additions, mixing just until incorporated. Add jam and stir until well distributed throughout the batter.

Combine nuts, maple sugar, and spices for streusel in small bowl. Add melted butter and mix with your (clean!) fingers for even distribution.

Scoop batter into prepared tins, filling cups only 3/4 full. Sprinkle streusel on top and press lightly into batter. Bake muffins for 20-23 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove tins from oven and set aside for 5 minutes before removing muffins to wire cooling rack.

Makes 18 muffins


At 2/21/2008 1:54 AM, Blogger Bri said...

Jennifer, I think you've TRULY outdone yourself. These sound absolutely divine. Now I just wish I had tasty local preserves to throw into a batch of muffins. I may have to wing it. Thanks for sharing your tweaks on the recipe!

At 2/21/2008 7:02 AM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

A few days out, they're a little on the dense and slightly dry side inside, but they're still good. Hope this at least gives you a good reason to make or stock up on jam this year, Bri! :-)


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