Brown butter blueberry streusel muffins

Brown butter blueberry streusel muffins

I was looking for a recipe to use up some leftover blueberries and well, this recipe had me at brown butter. Okay, at streusel too.  You know how I am a sucker for streusel!  Please don’t be intimidated by the brown butter. It sounds fancy, but really you just melt butter in a saucepan until it turns golden brown.  As long as you don’t burn it, that’s all there is to it.  The first time I made brown butter, I was nervous.  I almost dumped it because there was a bunch of brown specks.  I thought for sure I messed up.  It sure wouldn’t be the first time. But after a quick check online, I realized that’s just right.

I only used half the amount of the blueberries called for in the recipe because that was all baby Alex would spare.  But, I liked it this way because the berries didn’t overwhelm the taste of the muffin. And, oh my goodness, the muffin itself is delicious.  I am the only one in the family who likes blueberry muffins.  I have told you before that my family is a little crazy, right?  I didn’t want to eat all the muffins, so I brought them to work and had some very happy coworkers.  As I was eating my muffin, I was thinking how good it was, even without the blueberries.  It would make a lovely crumb cake muffin that my coffeecake-loving husband would go crazy for.  I think I’ll try that next time, maybe even with a ribbon of cinnamon sugar or sweet cream cheese?  This is the perfect base for experimenting with different flavors. But, I have to say, blueberry is a darn good place to start.

Brown butter blueberry streusel muffins

Yield: 12 muffins

For the muffin:

7 Tablespoons unsalted butter cut into a few pieces

1/3 cup buttermilk    I used regular milk

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups fresh blueberries   I used about 1 cup

Place rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat to 375 F. Line a standard muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.  Set aside.

Place a small skillet (not nonstick or you won’t see the color change) over medium heat.  Add the 7 tablespoons of butter.  Move the butter around with a spoon until it is melted, turns a medium brown color and smells nutty. Remove from the heat right away, before it turns black.  Transfer to a bowl to cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, yolk, and vanilla until well combined. Stir in the cooled brown butter.

In a separate medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Pour in all the milk mixture and stir gently with a spatula. Do not over mix. Carefully fold in the blueberries then divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin pan.  I used a medium cookie scoop.   Make the streusel topping.

For the streusel topping:
3 Tablespoons very cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar

Combine the 3 ingredients in a small bowl.  Rub together with your fingers until the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the muffin batter in the cups.

Bake the muffins for 20 – 22 minutes, or until a little golden.  Test with a toothpick.  Cool in the muffin tin for 15 minutes before removing. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Source:  Joy the Baker Cookbook via Pennies on a Platter


Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Icing

Hello everyone!  I feel like I have been gone forever.  We have had a terrible cold virus taking us out one at a time.  First it was my daughter, then baby Alex got croup, then me and now my husband.   Somehow, only Jack was spared, knock on wood.

This month, my friend Eva at Eva Bakes picked pumpkin and sweet potatoes as the theme for What’s Baking.  I am so grateful for the support Eva has always given me and my blog.  Us bakers stick together!  So, if you get a chance, head over to Eva’s wonderful blog and check out her oh so fabulous looking desserts!

As I have said before, my husband is a super picky eater.  But surprisingly, at least to me, he loves sweet potatoes.  I have never baked with them before because I am not really a big fan.  So, I decided to go with pumpkin instead, since we both like it.  I made pumpkin bread a few weeks ago and it was delicious.  But, I wanted to do something different.  I came across these pumpkin cookies with brown butter icing and thought…pumpkin, spices, brown butter, frosting?  Umm..yum!

The batter of these cookies is simple to put together, but then Martha recommends piping the dough onto a cookie sheet.  Well, for 6 dozen cookies, that sounded like it would take forever.  I thought the batter was definitely thick enough to use a cookie scoop for portioning.  They may end up looking a bit nicer Martha’s way (doesn’t it always?), but I thought my way turned out just fine and was a heck of a lot faster.  Although these are called cookies, they have a cake-like texture, more like a whoopie pie.  If you have never made brown butter before, it’s really easy.  You just melt butter in a pan until, you guessed it, it is brown.  You just have to be careful to not go to far and have the bits turn black.  Then, I’m sorry, you will have to start over.  The addition of brown butter to the frosting, instead of the usual softened butter, gave it almost a butterscotch flavor that was crazy delicious!  When I was done frosting the cookies, I let Jack and Sammie eat the last bit of frosting in the bowl while I cleaned up.  All I could hear was Mmmm….Mmmmm  and when I took the bowl away it was almost clean enough to put back in the cabinet.  Sammie didn’t even want to taste the cookies because she hates pumpkin, she says.  Yet, after some convincing, she ate two before I cut her off.   Jack kept saying “These are so good mom”, baby Alex kept pointing to the container to ask for more, and all Justin could say was “Oh.My.God”.  So, yeah, I think my family liked them okay.

Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Icing

Yield:  6 dozen  (I got 4 dozen)

For the cookies:

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger

3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

2 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin (14 ounces)   Almost a whole 15 oz can

3/4 cup evaporated milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in a medium bowl.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle, mix the butter and brown sugar on medium until pale and fluffy, ~3 minutes. Mix in eggs one at a time.  Reduce the speed to low.  Add the pumpkin, evaporated milk, and vanilla. Mix until well blended, ~ 2 minutes. Note:  The mixture will look curdled, don’t worry.  Add flour mixture and mix until combined.  It shouldn’t look curdled anymore.

Martha says:  Transfer 1 1/2 cups batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip (such as Ateco #806) and pipe 1 1/2-inch rounds onto parchment-lined baking sheets, 1 inch apart. I used a cookie scoop and it worked great.  Bake the cookies, rotating sheets halfway through baking.  When done, the tops should spring back, ~ 12 minutes. Cool on sheets on wire racks for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire rack and cool completely before frosting.

For the brown butter icing:

4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon evaporated milk    Save the remaining milk to thin the frosting out if it thickens too much while frosting all the cookies

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract     I used vanilla bean paste….I love those specks!

Measure the confectioners’ sugar and put into a large bowl.  Set aside.  In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Cook the butter, swirling pan occasionally, until golden brown, ~ 3 minutes. Watch carefully, you want brown bits, not black.  Immediately pour the browned butter into the bowl of confectioners’ sugar.  Make sure to scrape any browned bits from sides and bottom of pan.  Pour in the evaporated milk and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Spread about 1 teaspoon icing onto each cookie. If icing stiffens, stir in more evaporated milk, a little at a time.   Let sit for a few hours to set before packing up for storage.  Make sure to place wax paper in between each layer to prevent sticking.

Source:  Martha Stewart

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