Friday, June 6, 2014

Nutmeg Muffins

Nutmeg Muffins
I have many recipes to share, but I've been so busy lately that it's been hard to find the time to share them with you.  Much, much, much going on with the end of the school year approaching, school concerts, recitals, soccer tryouts, colds, and new puppies. "What?", you say. "New Puppy?" Well, yes, indeed! We got a new puppy!


Oh, What a face!!!

It was a surprise from Gary, who just last year was telling everyone he could that we would never be getting anymore pets in this house. Well, as usual, I don't listen to his verbosity.  I know him better than he knows himself, and he is a softy to the core.

Having this grand plan in the works for a couple of months, he came home this past Saturday with my new baby, Riley, surprising us all.  He's such a sweetie and getting along wonderfully with his big brother, Milton. It warms this mommy's heart to see Milton playing again while at the same time taking on the protective role for the first time ever. At last, he's an Alpha Dog!

So, in honor of my little nutmeg cutie, I thought this would be the perfect time to share my recipe for, what else, but Nutmeg Muffins. Why not?
Nutmeg Muffin
Ode to the nutmeg muffin


Nutmeg has become one of my favorite spices.  In the past, I have always thought of it as just one of those spices you think of for pumpkin pie.  It's the smell of Thanksgiving and the fall season.  I never used it much outside of my pies.  Then, we began going to a restaurant in Swansboro, North Carolina on the Outer Banks called Riverside.  They are famous for their sweet potato muffins, which combine the sweetness of the sweet potato with a spicy mixture that I had such a hard time recreating.  Fast forward to a trip Gary and I took to Paris, and I suddenly realized that it was the nutmeg that was the key to my mystery.

Nutmeg Muffin
Check out the flecks of nutmeg in the muffin
The French use nutmeg in many of their dishes and sweets.  You can find it both in their sweet breads and their main dishes, especially those made with potatoes.  I began to use it more and more and can't get over the unusual peppery and tart flavor it adds to a recipe.  Too much can be overpowering, but just enough is perfect, especially in sweet muffins.  It adds a spiciness that is perfectly complemented by strong, black coffee, European style.  The smell is intoxicating and just brings a comfort aroma that is untouched by any other smell when you walk through that door.


I have fooled around with muffin recipes using my usual guinea pigs to find out what amounts work best.  After trying out three different recipes, the verdict is in and these made the cut.  I like my muffins soft but dense.  I want to bite into them without them crumbling in my mouth. Better yet, I like the kids to bite into them without leaving a mass of crumbs all over my kitchen table, chairs, and floors.  I also like a buttery taste that is matched by the peppery flavor of the nutmeg.  With this nutmeg muffin recipe, you can serve them with dinner or for breakfast the next morning.  They are best served warm with lots of melted butter.

For a print-friendly version of the recipe, click https://sites.google.com/site/nutmegmuffin/.

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 Tablespoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup whole milk
5 Tablespoons butter, melted and slightly cooled

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease muffin tins (makes 18 muffins).

In a medium bowl, stir together with a fork, the flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt.
Look at the lovely nutmeg...go ahead and take a sniff.

Melting butter
In a small bowl, beat the egg.  Then, stir in the cream and milk with a whisk.  Finally, whisk in the melted butter until the mixture is completely mixed together.
Mixture after melted butter has been added


Add the cream mixture to the flour mixture and stir until the ingredients are just combined.  Do not overmix but do stir until you do not see any streaks of flour.

Spoon batter 2/3 of the way full into your muffin tins.  Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden.  Cool slightly before removing from the pan. Serve warm or freeze for another time.