I do have to agree with Ellie and Ivonne and say these are definitely "kick ass" muffins. In fact, I would also agree and say these are the best muffins I have tried. These muffins are so deadly that maybe you will get sued for making people hooked to them. I can say that I couldn't stop eating them, and I'm serious here. There are usually a couple of things that I can't stop eating. Chocolate is one of them, along with fruits like cherries, lychees to name a couple and strangely, green mangoes with dipping sauce. Well now I can add these muffins to the list. What does it for me with these muffins is that the texture is great, but its the streusel topping that I love so much. It goes so well with the muffin that I can't stop eating them.
The muffins look a bit ugly, but they are seriously good. People were hesitant to try them at first. I choose to use blueberries as my fruit of choice, and they added this blue/green colour to the muffin when baked. Combined with the brown topping, it didn't look so good. I'll let you use your imagination to decide what they look like. However, once people tried one, they went back for seconds. In fact, I hadn't brought enough muffins to work as everyone wanted seconds, and late comers missed out entirely even. Such is the deliciousness (is that a word) of these muffins. As Ivonne wrote, the key to this recipe is the reaction between the buttermilk, baking powder and baking soda to create this lovely texture.
So some tips for a good bake:
* Do not overmix the batter as the muffins will be tough rather than soft and fluffy.
* I find all types of fruits work, even those with more moisture in them. They all bake into a beautiful soft texture.
* The nut streusel topping is sensational so I'd highly recommend you make it. You can chop the nuts finely for a finer crumb or more roughly for more texture.
* Don't overfill the muffin tins as the muffins really rise and the streusel topping wall fall over the side and onto your oven.
Nut Streusel Topping
1 tbsp chilled unsalted butter
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts/pecans
1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl till you have a crumbly mixture
2. Set aside if using immediately, or store in the fridge till you want to use it.
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tbsp grated citrus zest or 2 tsp lemon juice
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cups all-purpose (plain) flour *
Pinch of salt
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1 3/4 - 2 cups fruit (if using large fruits you may want to coarsely chop them)
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C ^ and line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
2. Mix together flour, salt, baking powder and bicarb soda in a bowl then set aside.
3. In another bowl, combine the oil, brown sugar, citrus zest/lemon juice and egg. Once combined, stir in the buttermilk and vanilla extract.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix till combined but do not overmix. Once combined gently add the fruit and mix in. Leave to sit for about 5 minutes and check the batter consistency - if it is still quite watery then add a little more flour as the batter should be quite stiff and hold it’s shape.
5. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups and fill pretty much to the top. Don’t do anything silly like smooth the tops over as muffins look tastier when their tops are messily puffed! Sprinkle whichever streusel topping you’re using evenly on top of each muffin and make sure they are well covered as when they cook they expand a lot and suddenly there isn’t as much streusel as you thought there was!
6. Bake for 15 minutes, then lower temperature to 160 degrees C^ and bake for another 10 minutes. When the muffins are done they will spring back when lightly touched.
7. Let the muffins cool in the tray for 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.