Cinnamon Crumb Cake Muffins
Somewhere between muffins and mini-crumb cakes, these tender breakfast treats have a surprise layer of crunchy, cinnamon-scented crumbs hiding underneath. Browning the butter for the crumbs adds a rich, caramelized depth that rounds out the flavors of vanilla and lemon zest in the batter. These muffins keep well for several days stored airtight at room temperature, and freeze perfectly for up to two months.
- Serves: 12 persons
- ½cup/115 grams unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 1 ⅓cups/165 grams all-purpose flour
- ½cup/110 grams dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 ½teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼teaspoon ground allspice or cardamom
- ¼teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¾cup/180 milliliters sour cream
- 2large eggs
- 2teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼teaspoon almond extract
- ½teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 ½cups/190 grams all-purpose flour
- ⅔cup/135 grams granulated sugar
- ¾teaspoon baking soda
- ¾teaspoon baking powder
- ½teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½cup/115 grams unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into 1-inch slices and softened
Step 1Heat oven to 375 degrees and line a 12-cup muffin tin with liners.
Step 2Make the topping: In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter, then let it simmer until the foam on top falls to the bottom of the pot and turns brown, 4 to 6 minutes. It will smell nutty when it’s ready. Immediately pour butter into a small bowl to keep it from getting any browner, and let cool for 5 minutes.
Step 3Whisk together flour, sugar, spices and salt in a medium bowl. Pour in the brown butter and stir, pinching the mixture together, until crumbs form. Set aside.
Step 4Make the batter: Whisk together sour cream, eggs, vanilla, almond extract and lemon zest in a mixing bowl.
Step 5In a large bowl, using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a handheld electric mixer, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt until combined, about 10 seconds. Add softened butter and beat for 20 seconds to work it into the flour. Add egg mixture and continue beating until the batter is very smooth, about 1 minute.
Step 6Sprinkle a scant tablespoon of the topping crumbs into the bottom of each muffin liner. Spoon the batter on top of the crumbs, dividing it evenly.
Step 7Bake muffins for 5 minutes to firm up the tops so the crumbs don't sink into the batter. Remove muffin pan from the oven and lower heat to 350 degrees. Sprinkle the remaining crumbs on top of each muffin. Continue to bake until the muffins are springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes longer. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Use an offset spatula or butter knife to lift the muffins out of the pan. Finish cooling muffins on a rack.