As I mentioned on Instagram recently, I've been stuck in a baking rut. I've taken off the months of July and August to hone in on Matchbox Kitchen's signature style. I want to explore different ways to decorate cakes and experiment with different ingredients and flavors. But sometimes with all the options in the world (especially with so much gorgeous fruit in the summer!) suddenly I'm paralyzed with too many options.
Thankfully, I received lots of flavor pairing ideas that kicked my brain back into motion. I started off roasting some plums with the intention to make ice cream. This ice cream to be exact. Ever since Adrianna blogged about it a year ago I've been wanting to make it! But of course, it's almost my birthday and I'm trying to reduce the amount of sugar I consume before indulging in lots of desserts to drown my fears and sorrows of turning 28 (just kidding, kind of.)
Anyway, back to those roasted plums. Though they came out incredibly sweet and aromatic, I decided not to make the ice cream because I knew I'd eat the whole batch by myself, which would be me essentially downing a bottle of heavy cream. Here I had these gorgeous roasted plums with no where to go. Maybe a cake filling? Folded into scones? Nothing sounded too enticing. And then! (and I promise there is an end to this roundabout story) I came across this blueberry muffin from Honestly Yum. I have to mention that am not a muffin person at all. I mean, I'd rather just eat cake then! But this muffin was beautiful. That gorgeous blue. That fine crumbled topping. Those plump domes. Wait, am I still talking about blueberry muffins?
Then it all came together. Roasted plums instead of blueberries. Cardamom because I will add it to about every unsuspecting baked good to come out of my kitchen. A bit of hazelnut flour for extra depth and flavor. Oh, and since I recently went to Rainbow Grocery (aka bulk mecca/my idea of heaven) recently and picked up some whole grain spelt flour, throw some of that in too. You know, for good measure. I like to to make sure every ingredient I use has it's own flavor.I am personally no longer a fan of plain, clean, perfectly polished pastries. Give me sourdough, give me tang, give me rye, kamut, buckwheat. Give me molasses and brown butter and let every ingredient stand its ground, declaring their well deserved spot in a well deserved dessert!
And that's how these muffins came to be. How were they, you ask? Well, I'm pretty sure that once I open a bakery this is going to be on the menu. Plush, light, tender. Slightly sweet and nutty crumb interior. Bursts of jammy plum throughout. A hint of cardamom lingering in the background. The slightest crisp crumble. A beautiful, plump red dome. All my loves in one perfectly portioned muffin.
Now for some baking notes to help you along the way, because I love the technical aspect of baking, too.
1. Do NOT, I repeat, do NOT over mix your batter. Just like how lumps in pancakes are okay (yes, they are!), you need to see lumps in your muffin batter. Mixing until smooth will kick that gluten into high gear and give you tough and chewy muffins. Less mixing = light and fluffy muffins!
2. You can roast the plums a few days in advance and keep them in an airtight container in the fridge. Simply cut plums in half, remove pit, place them in a baking pan and roast for 20 minutes at 400 F.
3. Browned butter is not necessary but highly encouraged. I also don't blame you for skipping it because this is quite a number of steps for a muffin.
4. If you don't have hazelnut or spelt flour, you can also replace them with all purpose flour. Of course, the final outcome will taste different than intended, but delicious nonetheless.
Have a question? Did I miss something? Let me know in the comments!
- 1 c whole grain spelt flour
- 1 c all purpose flour
- 1/2 c hazelnut flour
- 3/4 c cane sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
- 2 large eggs
- 4 tbsp browned butter, melted and cooled
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 c buttermilk OR 1/2 c milk + 1/2 c yogurt
- 1 c roasted plums
- 2 tbsp butter, melted
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp hazelnut flour
- 2 tbsp all purpose flour
- Whisk together flours, salt, cardamom, and baking powder. Set aside.
- Beat eggs and sugar together until smooth and thickened. Add butter and oil and mix until thoroughly combined. Add buttermilk/yogurt mixture and mix.
- Add wet ingredients to flour mixture and gently mix until just barely combined. It is okay to see lumps. Do not overmix as this leads to a tougher/chewy muffin. Let batter rest in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
- While the batter is resting, preheat oven to 425 F.
- Mix together streusel ingredients until a crumble forms. Set aside.
- With an immersion blender, puree half of the roasted plums until smooth and liquid. In a separate bowl, mash the rest with a fork, being sure to keep a few chunks here and there.
- Prepare standard sized muffin tin with liners. Fill each liner one third full, then dollop some mashed plums inside. Top off liners with more batter. Each muffin should be almost filled completely.
- Top each muffin with a teaspoon of plum puree. Using a skewer, stir the puree until it reaches the edges. Top off muffins with a generous sprinkling of streusel.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Serve with any remaining roasted plums.