07 March 2014

Brown butter raspberry rye muffins with cacao nibs

Look, just say the title of this post a few times and you'll know what I mean. I have a good thing on my hands here.

I may be sitting in my kitchen, listening to a slightly ABC Family teen-show sounding 'favorite coffeehouse' mix on Spotify this morning, but I am certainly not envious of being at an actual coffee shop. I've got beans from our favorite joint down the road, and, these muffins.

Brown butter raspberry rye muffins with cacao nibs. I am swooning. Perfectly sweet, just a tad alternative, and the kind of thing that came together in no time, baking up while I made the bed, washed my face and ate two grapefruit slices. I have my man's appetite to thank that they happened. See, I'd made a little batch of these almond flour and chocolate muffin beauties yesterday with the intention of saving two for breakfast but lo and behold only one remained in the tin this morning. And it was certainly Ed's on-the-go dibs.

That was fine. Alone, I was about to try the famous oatmeal going around the blogosphere, when I heard an alliteration of a muffin flavor in my head. Raspberry rye cacao...raspberry rye cacao.

Bakers tend to have a little obsessive thing about getting to enjoy the first muffin just when it's cool enough. It's a small sacrifice of fiddling around first thing in the a.m., for a sensory reward. So if I can help it, I try to avoid making anything but pumpkin, banana and bran muffins/breads which age well, in advance and save the more delicate berry stuff for the day of.

A few Saturdays ago, I really wanted to make a simple, rye-based muffin and I hoped for inspiration from Kim Boyce. She has one in the book, but it involves banana and cooked oats--not what I was after, so I hunted a bit...and I didn't find much! I mean, I was surprised. Then I got a little more stalkerish (well not really, it's easy to find) and found a recipe in the Oregon Live that Kim had contributed, for blueberry rye coffeecake muffins. Bing-go. So I made those a Saturday or two ago, as I showed you. After, though, I realized I could have fussed less.

So I gave it my own spin. The base recipe of brown butter, yogurt and half rye flour would be kept, but I would nix the chopping of nuts in the a.m., cinch the sugar a little, and use up the handful of raspberries I had. Then a shower of cocoa nibs and brown sugar. This was much quicker, and using less berries helped them puff a little more. I also altered the temp a bit to 375 for the first 10 minutes, then about 355 for the last 15. Every other well filled, they popped out of the amply-buttered tin, then I let them cool on their sides a la Kim for an un-soggy bottom. I tell you, this woman has taught me so much.

And no, the cacao nibs are not optional...well, I suppose, if I were out of nibs, I'd try shaving some bittersweet dark chocolate over the tops with the raw sugar with potentially good results. I've done that before. But really, don't deprive yourself of the nibs, and get a good brand. You'll start dreaming of all kinds of things to throw them into. When cooled, I coaxed them into the freezer double wrapped. I have a feeling next week, they will make mornings a little more delightful.

Brown butter raspberry rye muffins with cacao nibs
Adapted from Oregon Live
Makes 5

Notes: Don't have raspberries? I've also tried this with 1 oz chopped dark chocolate and chopped oven-dried pear, 1 tsp orange zest and a squeeze of it's juice in addition to the nibs.

1/2 cup / 57 grams rye flour
1/2 cup / 63 grams all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon  
2 ounces (55 grams/1/2 a stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup /120 ml whole milk plain yogurt (I was low, so I used about 75% yogurt and 25% buttermilk/ sour cream mixed to equal 120 ml- worked fine)
1/2 an egg, beaten (25 grams or 1 oz)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1/4 cup raspberries, sliced in half if large
1 T/15 g cacao nibs
2 tsp coarse sugar and/or brown sugar

Place the oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

First  brown the butter. Cut in a few pieces and add them to the pan. Allow the butter to melt, stirring occasionally, until the foam has subsided and the milk solids have dropped to the bottom of the pan and browned (don’t let them get too dark). Remove from heat and immediately pour browned butter, including flecks, into a heat-proof bowl to stop the cooking.

Put your raspberries, sliced if large, in the freezer for a few minutes, to help them stay intact. Measure your nibs and sprinkling sugar.

In a large bowl, stir together the rye flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon.

Whisk yogurt, egg and vanilla extract together, then add the cooled butter to it. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients and gently stir to just combine. Add in a just a few raspberry pieces and sprinkle of nibs, reserving the majority. Of both.

Scoop the batter into greased muffin pans two-thirds of the way full. Alternate filling every other space to ensure the muffins bake evenly. Drop a few berries among each muffins, aiming for the sides not the center and sprinkle the nibs/sugar generously over the top.

Bake for about 25 minutes. 10 minutes at 375, and lower the temp to 355 for 15 more minutes, or until golden brown and the tops spring back when lightly touched and a skewer comes out almost totally clean.

Let the muffins cool slightly in the tin, then pivot them onto their sides  to ensure a dry, not soggy, crust. Continue to cool by themselves on a wire rack.

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