Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Browned Butter Berry Muffins

Here's the thing... I picked strawberries with my best friend Elizabeth recently. Lots of them. Get ready for a few strawberry recipes because I just don't know what else to do. I mean, I came home with a gallon of strawberries that are ripe... like the kind of ripe where they'll die if I don't use them quickly. So we come to the first of many strawberry recipes: Muffins. Not just any muffins, mind you. Browned butter strawberry muffins adapted from these browned butter blueberry muffins I found at Joy the Baker. Scroll down, and you'll see that I also made a batch of blueberry to accompany the strawberry. You know, for comparison purposes and all. Between you and me, I'll always like blueberry muffins better than any others, but this strawberry version will definitely find its way to my life again... probably after next year's harvest.

Browned Butter Berry Muffins

7 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup whole milk
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh berries
For the Topping
3 Tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 1/2 tablespoons sugar
Put a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line muffin pan with paper or foil liners
Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Keep an eye on the butter. Melt and cook down the butter until little brown bits appear in the pan. The crackling will subside and butter will begin to brown fairly quickly after that. Keep a close eye. Remove from heat.
Whisk milk, egg, yolk and vanilla until combined. Add the brown butter and stir to combine.
Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl Add milk and butter mixture all at one and stir gently to combine. Gently but thoroughly fold in the berries.
Divide the batter among muffin cups and spread evenly.
To make the topping combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and blend until crumbly. (A pastry blender works best.) Sprinkle evenly over the batter in the cups.
Bake until golden and crisp and a wooden pick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack for 15 minutes before removing from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Like I said, I got this recipe at Joy the Baker. She got it from The Gourmet Cookbook.

I used to be intimidated by scratch baking. Now I don't understand what the big deal is, especially considering the results achieved through the little bit of extra effort. Besides, baking is relaxing if you take time to do it. So let's get started... Here are the products shown: Measuring Cup Set, Measuring Spoon Set, Adjustable Measuring Spoons, Easy Read Measuring Cup, Double Strength Madagascar Vanilla, Stainless Mixing Bowls, Large Cutting Board. By measuring everything out before mixing anything, you don't have to worry about forgetting ingredients or adding them twice. Ever started measuring salt, taken a phone call, and forgotten whether or not you already added it to a flour/sugar mixture? Considering what doubling the salt will to to baked goods, it's not a risk I'm willing to take.

This is what browned butter looks like. The recipe directions are very specific about how to do this, but just know it might take a little bit longer than you'd expect. Be patient, but be watchful. Browning butter brings out its nutty flavor, and it makes baked goods more complex and less run-of-the-mill. Also, it makes the kitchen smell good. This is the 1.5-Qt. Saucepan from the Executive Cookware Collection, and that's the Mini Mix 'n Scraper full of butter. I'm in love with all of the scrapers, and I adore the fact that I can leave them in pans without worrying about melting. Yes, this hung out in the butter the entire time it cooked. Silicone, baby!

Pop quiz: What's the thing full of strawberries called? Is it a bucket? Is it a basket? Neither. According to the box at the strawberry farm, this, my friends, is a busket. That tidbit of knowledge was worth the long drive, the hard picking, the sweltering heat, and the price of the berries. Did I mention the sweltering heat? This is Alabama. Ok, so it's time to get intimate with these berries, inspecting them for imperfections, cutting their tops off, that kind of thing. I'm using the Large Cutting Board laid across my sink, and the 3 1/2-inch Paring Knife is going to make quick work of cutting. Well, not quick, but it will take a lot less time than any other knife. My strawberries are in the Colander & Bowl Set, and I'm going to measure them into an Easy Read Measuring Cup.

And just like that, I've got two cups of berry pieces. My dry ingredients and egg mixture are in separate Stainless Mixing Bowls, and I'm about to whisk them together using the Stainless Whisk.

You'll see a picture similar to this one anytime I post cupcakes or muffins. The Stoneware Muffin Pan combined with the Large Scoop make for perfection every time.

For the topping, combine the cold butter, extra flour, and extra sugar, and use the Pastry Blender to mash it up. The key to a good topping: Do. not. let. your. butter. get. soft. That's why I never use my hands for a job like this. For one, I get butter and stuff all under my fingernails, and that's just nasty (for me and for you), but the main thing is just that the heat of my hands melts the chunks. So use a Pastry Blender, and thank me later.

Hey, those don't look like strawberries! This is the Stoneware Muffin Pan of blueberry muffins, and I didn't want these guys to feel left out. They were amazing! The thing about these that made me so happy was that each muffin was pretty much overloaded with fruit. Note: This is not my way of saying each muffin was overloaded with healthy, just that you don't get jipped on the blue (or - let's just be honest - purple).

All of the muffins are loaded up and ready to go! I took these to my Sunday school class, and I was pleased that I didn't come home with leftovers. A clean plate is a nice compliment, especially when it started off with 24 full size muffins in a room full of people who already ate breakfast.

Take your favorite fruit, add it to this batter, and prepare to write a letter professing your love for me. I'll understand completely.

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1 comment:

  1. I hope you saved me one of these! I need to make some stuff. If those strawberries go bad, I think I'll weep.