Super-streusel muffins

The combination of a snow day and the presence of extra sour cream in the refrigerator can be a dangerous thing.  It can lead to the making of decadent treats. For me, it led to the making of these "super-streusel" muffins a couple of weeks ago.
I think our winter started off pretty calmly...after last year's relentlessly long winter and countless snow storms, I initially thought that maybe we would be lucky this year.  Looking at it now, it seems we just had a late start!  We've had our share of snow, a couple of snow days/school closings, and in general, it has been extremely cold and icy out.  All that said, I'm really grateful we haven't had issues with power outages like we did a couple of years ago.  It's hard to complain when you're warm and toasty in your own home.

The cold leads me - and keeps me - in the kitchen, and it seems to be making us hungry all the time!  During a snow day, we seem to be doing the following on repeat: cook-eat-shovel.  I can barely keep up with my fellas' appetites!  But with all the calories we're burning from snow-shoveling, I think we can handle some hearty meals and a few sweet treats.  
And these muffins were one of the sweet treats I baked during the last snow day.  I had leftover sour cream after making the mini chocolate bundt cakes.  Since sour cream always makes me think of coffee cakes, it's no surprise I ended up here with what I'm calling "super-streusel" muffins.  I call them that because these muffins are loaded with streusel/crumb topping - the ratio of muffin to streusel topping is almost 1 to 1.  No one's going to complain about insufficient streusel here!

This recipe I used was intended for large, or jumbo, muffins.  Since I don't have a jumbo muffin tin, I improvised.  I used my regular-size muffin tin and set tall paper baking cups within the openings.  This gave me the height I needed to imbed all that streusel-goodness within.  I bought these paper cups eons ago (they must have been on sale) and I'm happy I finally had a reason to use them.  Alternatively, you could buy and use similar tall parchment cups or make your own!
Instead of following the recipe and doing a layering of streusel in the middle of the muffins and then placing more on top (which would work better if you had the jumbo tin), I kept all the streusel on top of the muffin batter.  To get it all on there, I lightly pressed some of the streusel on top of the batter first and then topped them off with more.

The cake itself is super moist and fluffy, the topping is simply sweet and crunchy. Frankly, these muffins have many of the elements that provide you with an express route to goodness in baked goods: butter, sugar, sour cream...It's full-on muffin indulgence for a snow day!


A question about streusel...
With all this streusel business, I want to reach out to any streusel-experts out there with a question.  Not having much experience, I always thought I preferred making streusel or crumb topping with cold butter - the type where you cut small pieces of cold butter into your brown sugar and flour mixture.  That's how this recipe goes.  But after doing it this time and thinking longer on it, I now feel like the melted butter method might work better.  It seems easier to stir in melted butter to get even clumps.

Is there any particular reason to do it one way or another?  What's your preference, if you have one?  I am just thinking/questioning out loud but any thoughts would be interesting and appreciated!
I made a small batch (half-dozen) of these muffins.  I might need a snow day - and intense snow shoveling - to justify making and eating them again!  I'm not exactly eager for any snow storms or snow days so I'm not sure when we'll be enjoying these super muffins again.  I do know that snow days do come with its set of perks, treats like these being one of them!


Recipe:

Super-Streusel Muffins
Adapted from Martha Stewart

- For 6 muffins - 

*You will need tall paper baking cups for this recipe to hold in the abundant streusel topping.  You can see instructions for making your own parchment baking cups here.

For streusel topping:
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

For muffins:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg

Make streusel topping: Stir brown sugar, flour, salt, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl.  Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Set in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Make muffins: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place tall paper baking cups* (such as parchment baking cups) into 6 cups of a regular-size muffin tin.  

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Place butter, sour cream, granulated sugar and vanilla into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat together on medium-speed until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg until combined. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.  On low-speed, beat in the flour mixture until just incorporated.

Divide muffin batter into the 6 prepared muffin cups.  Top muffins with half the streusel topping.  Gently press the topping down slightly into the batter.  Then top with remaining streusel (it will look like a lot of streusel topping).  Bake until golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the muffins comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let muffins cool in pan, on a wire rack, for about 5 minutes.  Remove from the muffin tins and let cool completely on wire rack.  



46 comments:

  1. I have a weakness for anything streusel! The texture of muffins is perfect, Monica.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know what you mean...streusel is one of those things that many of us have a weakness for, I think!

      Delete
  2. I get so hungry when it is cold outside too! Interesting question about the melted vs crumbled butter. I've only done the latter1

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's funny - my husband and I keep rationalizing that our bodies are burning so many calories "fighting" the cold. haha

      Delete
  3. There is MEGA streusel on these! Which is a good thing because the streusel is the best part!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think I fully realize the amount of streusel involved til I was working with it and scooping it in...ooops! ; )

      Delete
  4. Oh my gosh, these are the perfect muffins, Monica! Look at the glorious height of that streusel! My favorite! <3 these!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know we love ourselves some crumb topping, Kelly! : ) I wondered if you have a preference for the cold vs. wet method?

      Delete
  5. I am in love with streusel topping and just can't seem to get enough of it so having a super streusel is a grand idea. Sending some warm breezes your way... Take Care, BAM

    ReplyDelete
  6. You did it now! I could shovel our already shoveled driveway just to justify making and eating these. They look wonderful! I am not sure about the melted or cold but I would think melted butter would be less chunky in the beginning. Cold butter would leave some clumps on top? Just a thought - but who cares - extra streusel topping is the way to go obviously!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. haha - I love it, Tricia. You're so right - who cares as long as it tastes good. I just wonder if I'll get bigger clumps with one method vs. another. Anyway, you stay warm. Wish I had your cookies right now!

      Delete
  7. I know what you mean! After last winter, anything would seem better - but this one is starting to look pretty long. I'd love these muffins, no matter what it was doing outside.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Things can always be so much worse, right, Beth? The cold weather does give me an excuse to stay closer to the kitchen and play. : )

      Delete
  8. Hi Monica, love these streusel muffins, they look perfect inside.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I loved the fluffy cake almost as much as that topping. It's so fluffy and moist! : )

      Delete
  9. Look at that streusel!!! I love it!

    You know, now that you mention it, I actually think I like the melted butter method better too. I've never really thought much about it before but it does seem to work better at getting good clumps! At least in my experience!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Ashley!! I wonder why one recipe uses one method vs. another but maybe it's no particular reason...just that there's more than one way to do the same thing or get to the same result. I'm so happy to know your experience though so thank u! Hope you have a wonderful weekend! xo

      Delete
  10. Haven't tried the melted butter method myself but it's something I should keep in mind next time. I have a feeling melted butter will work well. Because, in fact, you can flavour melted butter with all kinds of stuff (like steeped tea or herbs). As a result, you can have a better-flavoured streusel?? Just thinking out loud...but I think that will work! Will have to try it soon. However, your muffins are just looking good! Speaking of winter, Toronto has been in deep freeze that last month or so. So many days that are -20C and lower. Today, with wind chill, it is -34C. Brrrrrr

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Streusel flavored and scented with tea or herbs?! Love the way your mind works! I wish I could experiment a little more but my little one is not too adventurous (admittedly, I'm something of a traditionalist too) but I love seeing others' creativity. ; ) It is freezing here for sure...snow tomorrow and then something of a temporary thaw on Sunday. Looking forward to that!

      Delete
  11. Thank you for the melted butter method! I love your muffins! They look terrific!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've done crumb topping with liquid fat (oil) and the cold butter. I don't know which is better though lately, I'm thinking the melted for whatever reason. But no matter, you end up with something tasty...we're talking butter and brown sugar, right!

      Delete
  12. These look so soft and flaky. I just want to eat some right now!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The muffins are so moist...that sour cream is magic.

      Delete
  13. I am absolutely LOVING what the sour cream has done to these muffins! I just cannot stop looking at that muffin that's been cut into a half! I want to sink my teeth into it! And there are no two ways about streusel topping! NOTHING can compete with that goodness! <3 LOVEEEEE it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's true, Samina...the texture of the muffins themselves were wonderful. That sour cream really made them so fluffy and tasty. I don't often buy sour cream...is that a good or bad thing? ; )

      Delete
  14. Oh Monica, what you have done to us... :D

    ReplyDelete
  15. Cold weather triggers my appetite big time too, especially in the morning, and these little muffins are just the kind of thing I crave with my cup of coffee!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, we keep blaming it on this cold! That has to be it, right?! These are definitely perfect with a hot cup of coffee at midday (snow-shoveling optional).

      Delete
  16. I love the streusel to muffin ratio here- you can't have too much streusel, in my opinion. ;) These look great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. haha - it's kinda crazy but goes down easy, Betty. Glad you approve. : )

      Delete
  17. We have had plenty of snow days here to go around - no more! LOL love the muffins!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. After spending yesterday morning helping shovel some 7 inches of heavy snow and dealing with a few hours without power, I am so ready for Spring!

      Delete
  18. I love the name of your super lovely muffins. The more streusel the better! I generally use room temperature or cold butter to form the bigger clumps and I always use my hands to make the crumble. That way you can quickly form clumps according to your desire. Another way to get a nice crumble is to mix everything together, then cut into large cubes. Freeze the cubes and then run it through the processor for a few seconds to get a chunkier streusel. It's a long process but the texture is amazing!
    Can you believe that I have never experienced snow in my life? Sending you sunshine and warm hugs from Sydney:-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Sonali. I love reading your methods! I was just reading somewhere else yesterday that it's good to take cold butter but zap it in the microwave 10 seconds. That way, it's cold but soft enough to blend. I think we are all after as much crumble as possible!

      And no snow, ever?! I remember the first time I saw snow when we moved from HK to the US. At this point, I've had so much experience, I can tell you you're not missing much! Enjoy the sun in lovely Sydney!

      Delete
  19. I really feel for all of you who are shoveling snow and snowed in. But, the perks of that are some of these awesome baking goodies and family time.
    Monica those are some awesome awesome looking muffins, who doesn't like butter goodness of the struesel. I use a lot of clarified butter for my struesel toppings, it really gives a nutty flavor. Like you I enjoy that..but I do feel that cold butter is used for a crumb like texture. Where as when we use melted or clarified..we loose the crumb feeling a bit right?...
    Well anyways, I love both. Warm hugs from sunny San Francisco.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Any way you melt it - or not - crumb/buttery topping is hard to resist. I am convinced it's good either way! Using clarified butter, having that around for cooking, must be great.
      Enjoy your sunny SF. I'm jealous.

      Delete
  20. Wow! Look at that beautiful streusel; I like your snow day schedule, with lots of good food after that snow shoveling (: I bet these muffins would be fantastic as jumbo muffins as well!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The recipe I based these on was made for jumbo muffins but since I don't have jumbo muffin tins, I used the high papers and fitted all the streusel on top instead of layering. : )

      Delete
  21. Be still my heart! I'm a sucker for anything muffin or streusel so these are calling out to me!!
    Tina from tinaschic.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hear you! Whoever invented crumb topping...boy, the person was an 'evil' genius. Okay, just genius! : )

      Delete
  22. This side of coast is so warm and already cherry trees are blooming and not much snow in the mountain (my friend said they can see the lawn under the snow!). I can see you are baking often. :) I'm curious about melted butter method on streusel too! These muffins look so delicious. The last photo was a torture. I wish I could bite into it!!! ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a lovely imagine of warmth and color you've got me thinking of, Nami! I think my husband and I seriously need to move someplace warmer (or at least someplace with more moderate temp patterns) when we retire! : ) Intense cold and snow is leading to heavy-duty baking as you can see. Ahh....I am jealous of you in a very good way. Enjoy it!

      Delete
  23. when it's cold and dreary out, I run to the kitchen too, to bake my face off (and then eat everything i baked; it's such a blessing and a curse, really). these are the prettiest things! and I feel like i can smell their warmth and cozy streusel smell from here. i love them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can smell the warmth and flavor of the streusel when I look at these, too! It is almost too good...

      Delete

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...