The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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January 22, 2013

How to write a muffin recipe in the Smitten Kitchen

(Continued)



               Plum Poppy Seed Muffins

               Yield: 12 standard muffins

               6 tablespoons (3 ounces or 85 grams) unsalted butter, melted and browned and cooled, plus butter for muffin cups

               1 large egg, lightly beaten

               1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar

               1/4 cup (50 grams) packed dark or light brown sugar

               3/4 cup (180 grams) sour cream or a rich, full-fat plain yogurt

               1/2 cup (60 grams) whole-wheat flour

               1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour

               3/4 teaspoon baking powder

               3/4 teaspoon baking soda

               1/4 teaspoon table salt

               Pinch of ground cinnamon

               Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

               2 tablespoons (20 grams) poppy seeds

               2 cups pitted and diced plums, from about 3/4 pound (340 grams) Italian prune plums (though any plum variety will do)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Butter 12 muffin cups.

Whisk the egg with both sugars in the bottom of a large bowl. Stir in the melted butter, then the sour cream. In a separate bowl, mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and poppy seeds, and then stir them into the sour-cream mixture until it is just combined and still a bit lumpy. Fold in the plums.

Divide batter among prepared muffin cups. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until the tops are golden and a tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Rest muffins in the pan on a cooling rack for 2 minutes, then remove them from the tin to cool them completely.

Cooking Note

You don't create seven muffin recipes in a year without learning a few things.

I found that you could dial back the sugar in most recipes quite a bit and not miss much (though, if you find that you do, a dusting of powdered sugar or a powdered-sugar- lemon- juice glaze works well here); that a little whole-wheat flour went a long way to keep muffins squarely in the breakfast department; that you can almost always replace sour cream with buttermilk or yogurt, but I like sour cream best. Thick batters - batters almost like cookie dough - keep fruit from sinking, and the best muffins have more fruit inside than seems, well, seemly. And, finally, in almost any muffin recipe, olive oil can replace butter, but people like you more when you use butter - and if you brown that butter first, you might have trouble getting them to leave.

 

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