The Tuesdays With Dorie assignment this week was Allspice Crumb Muffins, chosen by Kayte of Grandma's Kitchen Table. I "met" Kayte pretty early in my TWD days, and I liked her immediately. How could I not? She's fun, kind, and truly interested in everything and everyone around her. What's more, we have a lot in common - we're nearly the same age and share interests, including cooking and baking for our families.
When the October TWD recipes were announced, Kayte explained her choice to me: "I figured you could use them for Muffin of the Month for 'Mom!' Tell her I picked them out just for her!" That's the kind of friend that Kayte is. She remembered that I had a project of baking muffins this year for my mother, and she picked this recipe partly so that my baking would serve double duty: TWD participation and m.o.m. all rolled into one!
What's even more amazing is that my mom has a million food sensitivities and allergies, and Kayte managed to choose a muffin recipe that fits within my mother's narrow range of acceptable ingredients! For a long time I'd had my eye on the allspice muffin page in Dorie's book and I was hoping that somebody would choose the recipe soon so that I could bake it for my mom. Leave it to Kayte to read my mind!
- I made 1 1/2 recipe: 1 dozen for my mother and half dozen for us.
- It's always fun to use my spice grinder (coffee bean grinder in disguise) - I ground whole allspice berries. It turned out with some rather large bits, so I put some sugar in with allspice and it ground finer.
- In a bid to reduce the saturated fat in the muffins, I reduced the quantity of butter in half. for the other half butter, I used part oil and part plain yogurt.
- For the crumb mixture, I used King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour but I later wished that I'd remembered to use oat flour. The crumbs tasted great - the allspice took the buttery sugary goodness to a whole new level. I would have been just as happy to stop after the crumbs and serve them in a bowl with a spoon. By the way, for my fellow crumb-topping lovers, Sarah of Blue Ridge Baker just posted some sbrisolona cookies that are in effect entirely made of crumb topping.
- I substituted white whole wheat flour for half of the all-purpose flour in the muffins.
- The muffins rose nicely in the oven (well, they should, with 1 T baking powder!) and made lovely "muffin tops". They would have been very hard to get out of the pan - without ruining the crumb top - had I not used silicone muffin molds. As it was, even with pushing from below and loosening the best I could, large segments of the crumb tops spalled off while I was trying to release the muffins from the pan.
My husband sampled a muffin that was fairly fresh from the oven. His reaction: "Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm. That's good, good, good!" And he added, "those are unconscious." (That's high praise in case you were wondering)
I loved the allspice in these, especially in the crumb topping. The muffins are simple, straightforward, delicious, and seasonal. I can see myself making them often in the cool-weather months, when warm spiced baked goods really hit the spot.
And Kayte, my mom liked them too!
You can find the recipe on Kayte's post or on pages 16-17 of Dorie Greenspan's book, Baking: From My Home to Yours.