Thursday, September 20, 2018

Plum-Almond Muffins


Although I enjoy berries very much, stone fruits are my favorite fruits of the summer. I feel like plums don't get the respect they deserve. They are often overshadowed by fuzzy peaches, juicy nectarines, and even petite apricots, but plums rank pretty high on my list.


Plums come in many different varieties, and range in colors from their skin to their flesh. I recently had an abundance of juicy red-fleshed plums in my kitchen, and decided to use a few of them in this lovely muffin recipe.


Muffins are incredibly simple to make, even for a hesitant baker. The key is to avoid over-mixing the batter, and voila: perfect muffins every time!




These particular muffins are studded with sweet ruby-red morsels of plum, and peppered with sliced almonds both within the batter and on top.


I was using up the last of the sliced almonds in my pantry, so I didn't have enough for what the recipe suggests, so I scaled down and used what I had on hand. The muffins were still perfect, but I would imagine they would have a bit more texture if you use the full amount. I love them exactly as they turned out, and have no regrets on scaling down the almonds.


You can easily make standard size or jumbo muffins with this recipe. I usually make standard muffins, but decided to exercise my neglected jumbo muffin pan this time around.


Plum-Almond Muffins
Makes 12 regular or 6 jumbo muffins
(From Muffins & Biscuits)

Almond Streusel:
2 1/2 Tbsp cold salted butter, cut into 1/2-in [12-mm] pieces (I used unsalted butter)
1/3 cup [45 g] all-purpose flour
3 1/2 Tbsp firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup [40 g] sliced raw almonds (I was running low, so I only used about half this much)

Batter:
6 Tbsp [85 g] salted butter, melted and cooled (I used unsalted butter)
2 eggs
1/3 cup [80 ml] whole milk
2 tsp almond extract (I used amaretto instead)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups [185 g] all-purpose flour
2/3 cup [130 g] granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup [120 g] sliced almonds, toasted (I was running low, so I only used about half this much)
8 1/2 oz [240 g] fresh plums, pitted and cut into 1/2-in [12-mm] chunks

Preheat the oven to 350°F [180°C]. Line a 12-well standard or 6-well jumbo muffin pan with paper liners or coat thoroughly with nonstick cooking spray.

To make the streusel: In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse the butter, flour, and brown sugar in 1-second intervals until the butter is cut into pea-size pieces. (Alternatively, combine the butter, flour, and brown sugar in a bowl and use two knives or rub between your fingers to break up the butter into pea-size pieces.) Stir in the raw sliced almonds. The streusel should be a mixture of crumbly and chunky. Set aside.

To make the batter: In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and the eggs. Add the milk, almond extract, and vanilla and whisk until well combined. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the toasted almonds.

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and use a rubber spatula to carefully fold together until almost combined. Gently fold the plums into the batter. Be careful not to overmix, or your muffins will be tough; the batter should still have a couple of streaks of flour.

Divide the batter equally among the prepared muffin wells and mound each well with an equal amount of the streusel.

Bake until the tops are golden brown and a muffin bounces back when you poke it gently in the center with a finger, 22 to 26 minutes for standard size or 30 to 35 minutes for jumbo.

Remove the muffins from the oven and let cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes. Carefully lift the muffins from the pan and transfer them to a wire rack to cool a little more. (Use a butter knife to lift the muffins out if you didn’t use paper liners.) Serve warm.

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