These muffins are so rich that they hover precariously on the boundary between muffins and cupcakes, thanks in large part to that extra few minutes creating brown butter.
By Sara Clevering
We haven’t had a winter that we can legitimately complain about, but even so, by the time spring makes its gentle, halting return, I’m looking forward to the flavors of summer. Luckily, the August sunshine of peaches can be had in April, with this recipe using peach slices directly from the freezer.
And if you can’t eat them fresh, the next best way is maybe in warm, aromatic muffins. Muffins spruced up with a special trick.
Browning the butter in this recipe makes these muffins that you’ll more than love (and not just because the magic trick requires very little extra effort). Browned butter is rightly known as beurre noisette in French, literally “nut butter”: gently heating the butter coaxes a rich, nutty aroma out of the resulting liquid amber. These muffins are moist, and indulgent, studded with chunks of golden peaches and candied ginger and crowned with a ginger-scented crumb topping. In fact, they are so rich that they hover precariously on the boundary between muffins and cupcakes, thanks in large part to that extra few minutes creating brown butter. Debate what they actually are between bites.
- 6T (3/4 stick or 85 g) unsalted butter
- ⅓c (80mL) whole milk
- 1 large egg
- 1t vanilla extract
- 1½c (6.6oz/185g) all-purpose flour
- ½c sugar (4oz /112g)
- 1½t baking powder
- ¾t salt
- 2c frozen peaches (about 8 oz or 230 g; 16 frozen slices) diced
- 2 oz (55g) crystallized ginger, diced (about ¼c)
- 1t ground ginger
- 3T (42g) cold unsalted butter cut into ½ inch pieces
- ½c (2.2 oz/62g) all purpose flour
- 3½T sugar
- 1t ground ginger
- Preheat the oven to 375F/190 C. Line or butter 12 muffin tins.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter melts, let it continue to cook, watching carefully all the while. It will start to slowly (then very quickly!) brown. When you see dark solids starting to fall to the bottom of the pan and notice a rich, almost caramel-like aroma rising from the butter, remove it from the heat. (You may need to transfer it to a new container to cool so that it does not continue to cook in the residual heat of the pan. Be careful as once it’s properly browned it can burn very quickly). Don’t worry about the darker brown grains at the bottom; they are part of what gives the butter the distinctive flavor. Allow the browned butter to cool somewhat. (It does not need to completely cool, but should be cool enough that it does not cook the eggs when you mix the wet ingredients together).
- Stir the dry ingredients together (except for the peaches and ground ginger). Stir the wet ingredients together, and add to the dry. When mixed, gently fold in the peaches and chopped candied ginger. Fill 12 muffin tins.
- Make the crumb topping: Mix the flour, sugar, and ginger together and then rub the butter pieces into this mixture with your fingers. Sprinkle evenly on top of the filled muffin tins.
- Bake 25 minutes if using fresh peaches, and 35-40 minutes if using frozen. Remove from oven, and cool slightly before removing from muffin tin. Enjoy!
Sara sees cooking and baking as a delicious way to connect with the past and travel the world from her kitchen. She is commited to preparing homemade, unprocessed meals for her family and is always looking for tricks to fit this into a busy schedule. Sara is currently in the Boston area after several years living in London, Spain, and the Czech Republic, and travelling extensively in Eastern and Western Europe, always making sure to experience local culture through food. She also blogs with her sisters at www.threecleversisters.com