tuesdays with dorie / baking with julia: buttermilk crumb muffins

I don’t make muffins often. To be honest, I don’t really enjoy anything sweet in the morning, and, to me, muffins are just un-iced cupcakes masquerading as breakfast. Tuesdays with Dorie kicks off November with Marion Cunningham’s recipe for Buttermilk Crumb Muffins. A friend was coming over of visit on Sunday afternoon, so I decided to make a half batch of these muffins to go with our warm cups of tea.

The batter comes together easily. Fat is combined with a flour / brown sugar mixture. The recipe calls for Crisco, but I used butter instead. You could use a pastry blender or a pair of knives, but I enjoy the tactile step of using my fingers to rub the butter into the dry ingredients. The mixture transforms into sandy crumbs in just a few minutes. At this point, you set aside some of this mixture to use as streusel topping later.

Warm spices (cinnamon and nutmeg) along with some leavening are mixed into the bowl before stirring in buttermilk and egg. Now, you are ready to fill the muffin tins with batter, sprinkle with the reserved topping, and bake. It couldn’t be easier.

The muffins both looked and smelled wonderful when they came out of the oven. Unfortunately, getting them out of the pan wasn’t so easy. The flat-topped muffins had risen and partially baked onto the top of the muffin pan, just like the picture. I did neglect to oil the top of the muffin pan, just the cups, and they wouldn’t budge. In the process of trying to free the tops from the pan, every single top came off. I ended up with two-part muffins: tops and cakes. Not the most attractive treat to serve to a guest. Fortunately, good friends are forgiving. (And, I don’t think I overfilled since I got 10 muffins from a half batch that was supposed to make 14-16 muffins.)

As for flavor, these muffins tasted good. They reminded me of the buttermilk coffee cake from Margaret Fox’s Morning Food from Café Beaujolais. We especially enjoyed the tops. They reminded my friend of her grandmother’s snickerdoodle cookies, chewy and sweet. Warm from the oven, they hit the spot for our afternoon treat, but I’m not sure I’ll make these again.

If you’d like the recipe, this week’s host Alisa from Easier Than Pie shares the recipe, along with a vegan version of the muffins. To see how the other bakers made out with their muffins, you can follow their links at Tuesdays with Dorie to read all about it. The recipe can also be found in Dorie Greenspan’s baking tome, written with Julia Child, Baking with Julia.

One final note: if you are a US citizen, please take the time to vote today! I know it sounds corny, but voting is a privilege that not everyone in the world enjoys. Take the time to exercise your right to vote and to support the candidates and issues that you believe in. Everyone’s vote counts, and you could be the one to make the difference in an incredibly close race today.


Posted on 6 November 2012, in Baking, Tuesdays with Dorie and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Fortunately, I DID remember to oil the tops of the pan – which meant that my overflown muffins slid out. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a baking sheet on the lower rack nor had I lined the oven floor to catch the batter that dripped over the sides of the pan onto the oven floor. Holy stinking kitchen, Batman…
    Good friends are forgiving and love you all the more for making a warm treat for them to enjoy :-)

    (P.S. I voted – #24 at the poll. People have fought very hard to give us that privilege – definitely don’t want to waste the opportunity)

  2. You can not go wrong with the tops tasting like a snickerdoodle cookie! Yummy

  3. Muffin tops are always the best! Since my muffins resembled the Grand Canyon my tops were near the bottom!
    Yes I did vote, my 23 year old son accompanied me. It was a 45 minute wait but the time went by fast as we visited with friends and neighbors. Yes, voting is a right we should never take for granted.

  4. I was number 980 at my polling place! Sorry these didn’t stay together for you but I definitely agree- they tasted great!

  5. Your muffins have a lovely color to them. I made these tonight, Betsy, and got eight muffins out of a half batch. I had a little trouble getting mine out of the pan, but I thought it was because I let them cool in there too long. Normally I take them out after 5 minutes. John gently suggested that it might have been better if I used muffin cups. (what does he know?! ;) I really loved the crunchy top with the crumb coating.

  6. Betsy, your Buttermilk Crumb Muffíns do look delicious – split top or not, who cares if the taste is good but it can be annoying if the things that you baked so lovingly will not budge from the baking pans! I love the smell that emanated from the oven while they were baking too, warm spices like cinnamon and freshly groung nutmeg are wonderful to use at this time of year!

  7. I haven’t made these yet Betsy. I’m barely participating in TwD but getting back into it is my plan. I really like Marion Cunningham and admire what she was able to accomplish. I have to agree with you on muffins..cupcakes without icing! I like them with a cup of afternoon coffee or tea. Yours look good!

  8. I wish my tops had tasted like snickerdoodles! Mine were mostly just bland. Nice to know that others had a better experience than mine – flavor-wise anyway! :)

  9. The scent of baked goods does something to the soul, doesn’t it? Snickerdoodles are one of my favorite cookies! Wish mine tasted that way. And yes, I too voted! Oh what a feeling!

  10. I wish I had used muffin liners! Mine got stuck too!
    They would have been great with a cup of tea!

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