Even though I’m pretty much done with Christmas shopping and feel sort of ready for the big day, it’s still a busy time here at the Circle B Kitchen. People in and out and parties to plan and implement and one just never knows when one might need muffins on a moment’s notice. You can never have too many muffins at the ready, I always say.
I’ve been getting my freezer stocked with goodies that I can pull out and serve unexpected guests, or even expected ones. And these allspice crumb muffins are rather my favorite holiday muffin of the moment.
We have Dorie Greenspan to thank for these and I do thank her because I’m a big fan of allspice which happens to be an integral ingredient in all of my favorite holiday confections (pumpkin pie, pumpkin cake, pumpkin muffins, gingerbread, etc.). You’ll find an array of allspice-spiked goodies in the Circle B recipe index and this one brings that lovely spice front and center, but with the most appropriate amount of restraint (although I might even add just a pinch more next time). It usually shows up to the party with its best buddies, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, but this time it gets to be the star, and I, for one, believe it’s long overdue.
So make yourself or someone(s) you love some of these crunchy-topped, impossibly tender holiday muffins or stash them in the freezer for a spontaneous muffin moment. We all need more of those! Here’s the recipe…
Allspice Crumb Muffins
These are lovely little crumb muffins best eaten when still warm from the oven. Get them made up the night before, cover loosely with plastic wrap, stash in the fridge and bake them off in the morning. Be sure to bring them as close to room temp before baking as you can. If you love allspice as I do, you might consider adding just a pinch more to the batter.
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
Makes 12 muffins
For the Streusel:
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup light brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground allspice
5 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
For the Muffins:
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon ground allspice (or a little more if you love allspice)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
¾ cup whole milk
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
zest of a lemon (optional)
1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter or spray the 12 molds in a regular-size muffin pan or line with paper cups. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet.
2. To make the streusel, put the flour, brown sugar, and allspice in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Add the bits of cold butter and toss, pinching the mixture between your fingers, until you have pea-sized crumbs. Set aside in the refrigerator. (The streusel can be made up to 3 days ahead and stored, covered, in the refrigerator.)
3. To make the muffins, in a large bowl whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, allspice, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the brown sugar, making certain there are no lumps. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk together the melted butter, eggs, milk and vanilla extract until well combined. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and with the whisk or a rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend. The batter will be lumpy; that is how it should be.
4. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups. Sprinkle streusel over each muffin, then use your fingertips to gently press the crumbs into the batter.
5. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a thin knife inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean (but be careful not to overbake!). Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing each muffin. Cool completely on the wire rack. Muffins can be stored, in an airtight container, at room temperature for up to 5 days.