taste: spiced muffins

 

warm muffins for a rainy day

That grey wall outside? Pretty much the colour of the sky yesterday. So, muffins! We had nothing much in the house, so I hunted around for some dead simple recipes, and found cinnamon-sugar muffins on Epicurious. My tweaks were small – agave nectar for the sugar in the muffins themselves, and therefore less milk, that was about it. These were best eaten hot from the oven. They made the kitchen smell amazing, and were a sweet and soothing antidote to the hammering rain outside.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and grease a 6-muffin pan.

In a small bowl, sift together two tablespoons sugar (ordinary granulated will do, but some good demerera or organic brown sugar would be even better) with a teaspoon ground cinnamon. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, measure out one cup flour (all-purpose or plain), one and a half teaspoons baking powder, a generous pinch of salt and about half a teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg. I considered playing around here and adding ginger, but I’m glad I kept it simple. The nutmeg flavour is simple but pronounced and somewhat unexpected, and marries well with the cinnamon topping.

In another bowl or in a mixer, beat together one stick/8tbsp softened unsalted butter and half a cup agave nectar. Substitute 1/3 cup sugar if you prefer. The agave nectar doesn’t create the same creamy texture of butter and sugar – it’s a wetter, less pretty mix, but it works out fine in the end. A hand whisk is a useful tool for getting the butter lumps smooth.

Add and beat in one egg, followed by the flour mixture. Add a little milk to loosen the mixture – I used 1/4 cup or 4tbsp, you may need a little more if you use sugar rather than agave.

Divide the batter between the muffin cups and smooth the tops. Sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar topping and bake in the middle of the oven 20 mins, or until they are springy on top, and a knife or toothpick comes out clean. Eat as soon as they’re cool enough to handle, while they’re still warm enough to give off some fragrant wisps of steam when you break them in half.

 

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