I read cookbooks now. It’s a thing I’ve been meaning to do for ages and finally began doing over my last winter break. I started off easy, with Joy the Baker‘s cookbook (creatively titled Joy the Baker Cookbook), because it only has 100 recipes and I knew, from reading her blog, that it would be a breeze.
True confessions: I … don’t actually like Joy the Baker that much. I read her blog regularly for a long time, but after awhile she just started to rub me the wrong way. There’s a lot of prescriptive gender ideas folded in among all that butter and sugar, not to mention a lot of discussion of food as “naughty” and “good,” neither of which I am here for, no sir. Food-wise, a lot of her recipes feel less thoughtful and more “how many different things can I cram in here?” And to be totally honest, I went to see her on her book tour and the vibe was really, really weird. I’m not a huge fan is what I’m saying. But she has created many recipes that I enjoy, and her cookbook is a pretty good resource for breakfast items and baked goods. At worst, I know what I’m getting into. At best, I get something delicious. In addition to her pound cake, which, with adaptations, is my go-to for all my pound cake needs, I have made three recipes from this cookbook. Today we’ll talk about muffins.
I have tried two of Joy’s muffin recipes, Brown Butter Blueberry Muffins and Peach Cobbler Muffins. They are basically the same muffin, but with different spices and fruits added. Here’s the basic muffin recipe:
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup milk
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsps. baking powder
3/4 tsps. salt
For streusel: 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
3 tablespoons sugar
From here, you can go any which way you want. Want to go the Brown Butter Blueberry route? Brown the butter and mix with the wet ingredients before combining with dry, and add 2 cups blueberries right at the end. (Bake for 20-ish minutes at 375.) I used frozen raspberries since I had them on hand, and I have to say … I was seriously underwhelmed by this recipe. The muffins were way too sweet, and the white sugar in the streusel made it sandy, which is shall we say unappetizing. Had I made it first, I might have lost all faith in Joy’s muffin abilities. Luckily, I made the Peach Cobbler Muffins first, and they are fucking outstanding. Here’s what you add to that basic muffin to make it a Peach Cobbler Muffin, and worthy of being put in your face:
Substitute 1/4 cup brown sugar for 1/4 cup white (leaving you with 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/4 cup brown)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 additional tsp. vanilla extract (bringing you to 2 tsps. vanilla)
1 1/4 cup peaches
For streusel: Substitute 1/4 cup brown sugar for 3 tsp. white sugar
Pinch of salt
Pinch of nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
Combine wet, combine dry, add peaches, bake for 20-ish minutes at 350. Why is the temperature different? I got no fuckin’ clue.
These additions make a world of difference, turning a too-sweet but also bland muffin into something subtle and delicious. But keep in mind, you can go anywhere with the basic muffin recipe Joy provides. I would recommend subbing brown sugar for white in the streusel and in the muffin itself no matter what else you decide to do, and I’m a sucker for vanilla extract so always up that shit, but really, the world is your oyster.
Do not put oysters in your muffin.