Muffins often don't impress me, but the recipe for these Maple Muffins caught my eye right away. Joe got me Sarabeth's Bakery: From My Home to Yours as one of my Christmas gifts a year ago, and I was drawn to the photo with the golden sides and crackly tops. I also love maple syrup as a flavoring. On first bite, I was surprised because I expected a more assertive maple flavor. But it's more subtle, kind of lightly perfumed with maple, and the walnuts taste a little salty by comparison. Winner.
An additional bonus was how easy the recipe was. Especially compared with the Pains au Chocolat (chocolate croissants) and Pains aux Raisins I made from the book earlier this year! A negative? Pure maple syrup is an expensive ingredient, and the Grade B (it's superior to Grade A) this recipe calls for isn't always sold in supermarkets. My tip is to buy it at Trader Joe's if there's a location near you, since it had the Grade B available and was more affordable.
Also worth mentioning is that I made these in a cupcake pan, and the leftover batter in mini brioche molds. I don't own a muffin pan, and even I have a limit with how much I cram in my kitchen. Sarabeth writes that she's not a fan of paper muffin liners, and I have to agree because the muffins got the most beautiful, golden brown sides without them. If you also opt for a cupcake pan, cut the cooking time short by 5 minutes.
Finally, the recipe also calls for some whole wheat flour. I like King Arthur's White Whole Wheat Flour because it's got all the nutrition of whole wheat, but its taste and consistency are closer to plain white flour. The difference is that it's made from the white wheat berry instead of the red wheat berry, which is used for the more common whole wheat flour in stores.
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Sweet Treats Thursday
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Sweets for a Saturday
From Sarabeth's Bakery: From My Home to Yours
Makes 12 muffins
Softened unsalted butter, for the pan
2¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ cup whole wheat flour
1 tbs baking powder
½ tsp fine sea salt
1½ cups pure maple syrup, preferably Grade B
12 tbs (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, melted
½ cup whole milk
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400°. Brush the insides of 12 muffin cups with softened butter, then brush the top of the pan. (This ensures the muffins don't stick when they rise.)
Whisk the unbleached flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Whisk the maple syrup, melted butter, and milk together in another bowl, then whisk in the egg and yolk. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir just until smooth. Stir in the walnuts. Let the batter stand so the dry ingredients can absorb the liquids, about 5 minutes.
Using a 2½-inch-diameter ice cream scoop, portion the batter, rounded side up, into the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375° and bake until the tops of the muffins are golden brown and a wire cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 15 minutes more. (My note: Make this 10 minutes if you're using a cupcake pan)
Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove the muffins from the pan and cool completely.