Stop Everything. And look at me. The muffin I am about to share with you is literally the Best Muffin I Have Ever Had. After my first bite, I had to close my eyes, bow my head and brace my temples between thumb and forefinger. Thank you Lord, for the gift of the perfect muffin, I whispered. Oh, I can’t get over it! 10, no, 50 stars. My God, it’s just full of stars! After I finished the first muffin, I sighed heavy and happy. Then, calmly, I reached for another. This one I ate it in something like a reverie while leaning against the kitchen counter looking at the sky. Somehow three more went missing by the time KP found the muffins. Stop whatever you are doing, and bake this day what the Lord has made. You will be so so glad.
Adapted Source: Cooks Illustrated
1/2 cup pecans (2 ounces)
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar (1 3/4 ounces)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 ounces)
1 cup granulated sugar (7 ounces)
1 teaspoon salt (I used table salt as opposed to kosher)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick) cut into 1/2-inch pieces and softened
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 cup sourdough starter
3/4 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Get yer 12-cup muffin tin ready.
2. Process nuts, brown sugar, and cinnamon in food processor until nuts are size of sesame seeds, about ten 1-second pulses. Transfer mixture to medium bowl.
3. Return bowl and metal blade to food processor, add flour, granulated sugar, and salt and process until combined, about five 1-second pulses. Sprinkle the 1 stick of butter evenly over flour mixture and process until butter is oat-sized, about eight 1-second pulses. Remove 1 cup of flour-butter mixture and stir with fork into reserved brown sugar mixture until combined to make streusel. Set aside 3/4 cup of streusel for muffin batter and remaining portion for topping muffins.
4. Add baking powder and baking soda to remaining flour mixture in food processor bowl and process until combined, about five 1-second pulses. Whisk together sour cream, egg, and vanilla; add to flour mixture. Process until batter is just moistened, about five 1-second pulses. Add 3/4 cup reserved streusel to flour mixture and process until streusel is just distributed throughout batter, about five 1-second pulses.
5. Divide batter among 12 muffin cups and sprinkle with streusel, pressing lightly so that streusel sinks slightly into batter. Bake until toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out with several crumbs clinging to it, about 18 minutes (mine took more like 25 minutes, but start checking after 18 min), rotating pan from front to back halfway through baking time. Cool muffin tin on wire rack for 2 minutes. Using tip of paring knife, loosen muffins and gently transfer from tin to wire rack; cool for 5 minutes and serve warm.
Seriously, I almost cannot speak. I should just substitute psalms, or proverbs—or just straight Song of Songs for this blog post. I’ll have to make these muffins every day for the rest of my life. Tomorrow you’ll be like, oh, haha, the coffeecake muffins again. And then Friday you’ll start to wonder. In March, you’ll come by my house to see if I’m just lying on the kitchen floor on a bed of streusel. I hope I’m kidding. I’m a little worried about myself already.
But not as worried as I am about Izzy. It’s so cold she doesn’t want to go outside much anymore. She sits on the couch muttering angrily in Russian.
The recipe was a little tricky. Read carefully and don’t overmix the batter. I’m learning that the fluffiness of quick breads is thanks to an almost undermixed batter. The more you mix, the more you develop the gluten, which tethers stringily to itself, and thus the more dense the cake or bread. I was paranoid that my lack of food processor would sabotage my muffin (a funny thing to say, now that I stare at the sentence). But it didn’t— I was as ginger with my wooden spoon as Serena Williams is with her ankle. Enjoy these as soon as you possibly can. As featured on my favorite sourdough community, www.sourdoughsurprises.blogspot.com.
These are the muffins arranged with the tulips brought to me by my lovely friend Johanna.