I don’t think of muffins fondly. They are my personal Everest. Possibly, I could pin it to the fact that I’m on the dense side of the great muffin divide. I don’t like them cake-y and dainty. I like to eat them warm, with an almost crisp exterior and really soft inside leaving so many crumbs behind as you eat them, you’re sure to find your way back home. The pathos is that I’ve never been able to make them just as I like them. But muffins have been important to conquer recently. You see, I eat brownies for breakfast and icecream for lunch. Muffins make sure I get my required intake of fruit nutrients. I saw some irresistibly red dried cranberries a few weeks ago, along with blueberries and I was sure I was going to make muffins. While I’m sure it doesn’t compare to the fresh, organic stuff, I really wanted the tang of dried cranberries. Use fresh berries if you can (not strawberries – they bleed out) and they’ll bleed out a little but they’ll make sure your muffins look real good while doing so.
But the thing I really want to talk about is just how fabulous brown butter is. I cannot believe I haven’t ever done this before! Essentially, you melt butter in a skillet till it becomes frothy and crackles. You may burn the first batch because you love the way it makes your home all fragrant and inviting. You may want to bottle up the scent and use it as a candle. You may. The only problem I have with brown butter is, now I can’t get enough of it. I hate obsessions. Now I’m googling recipes with brown butter as king, all wide-eyed. If you think about it, it is research after all.
P.S – The crumb topping is optional. I personally don’t like anything getting in the way. I did add the topping on some using this recipe here.
Brown Butter Cranberry Muffins
Yields: 9 muffins (although recipe said it makes 12)
7 tbs (approximately 100 g) butter
1 1/4 cups (150 g) all purpose flour
3/4 cup (180 g) caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup milk
3/4 cup dried cranberries + handful to sprinkle later
1. Pre-heat the oven to 175 deg C. Line a muffin tray with muffin cases.
2. In a skillet, add the butter and melt over low heat. Do not stir. Melt, till it becomes frothy (solids have settled on the bottom and it appears frothy on top) and smells incredible. Pour into a heat proof bowl immediately as butter will continue to burn if left on the skillet. Leave aside to cool.
3. In a bowl, whisk together egg + yolk. Add milk and vanilla extract. Add browned butter and whisk to combine.
4. In a separate bowl, add dry ingredients whisking once to combine. Add all at once to brown butter mixture and fold it in till combined. Sprinkle cranberries into batter and pour into muffin cases. With the remaining handful of cranberries, stud each muffin, using crumb topping if required.