stuffed carrot peanut butter muffins

Miss Fats has had a busy back to school month.  That means lots of events, meetings and trying to keep up with coursework, and of course, a ton of baking.  Sunday Sundaes is currently a poor reflection of her efforts since returning to Chicago (and so is, frankly, Miss Fats’ phone), but she’s literally been churning things out too fast to photograph.  Now that she’s fully settled back into the pace of the year, she’s sharing one of her favorite morning baked goods to usher in a whole slew of pastry posts she’s got in the works for you.

IMG_7565Miss Fats’ most regular baking gig includes the bi-monthly workshop she co-coordinates for graduate students, faculty and visiting guests.  This means churning out platters of scones, muffins, loaves and all that bready, breakfasty fun on Friday mornings.  This past week featured one of Miss Fats’ favorite people to bake for, I.  She’s a big fan of any friend who willingly takes seconds and thirds without asking.  I is always game to grab an extra cookie, slice of cake or giant bag of baking bits that Miss Fats shoves into his hands.  So she gave him full license to pick a breakfast item or flavor profile for his workshop.  His choice was the result of a little brainstorming ‘sesh that ended up circulating around the crazy delicious dessert team Miss Fats dined on at Blackbird last spring.  In pure pastry genius nonsense, Blackbird served her up a carrot cake with peanut ice cream that sent Miss Fats over the edge and she’s been dying to try out that flavor combo ever since.  I’s workshop was the perfect place to test out the peanutty waters.  Luckily adores carrot cake and anything peanut butter related, so the challenge was to transform an elegant, James Beard award winning pastry chef’s plate into a bready, handheld breakfast object.  Game on.

The end result was the craziest muffin Miss Fats has ever created: carrot cake stuffed with a cream cheese filling and topped with a peanut streusel and peanut butter drizzle.  But it totally worked.  You got every necessary flavor profile: the sweet spice of the moist carrot cake, the gooey tang of the cream cheese filling, and the salty crumble crunch of the peanut topping.  She might have a new all time favorite muffin.  This muffin boasts the perfect harmony of texture and fall flavors to take your ‘buds to a harmony party (whatever that is).  Though there’s a lot of steps with these suckers, she suspects they could easily be transformed into a lazy loaf or cake as well.  Not to mention, they’re totally worth the muffin work, because who doesn’t love a hand-held object that packs this much flavor and contrast.

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They’re not so pretty, but they’re damn tasty.

Stuffed Carrot and Peanut Butter Muffins:
adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s carrot cake
makes 24 muffins

filling:
8 oz cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

muffins:
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cup oil
4 large eggs
3 cups grated carrots

topping:
2 tbs natural peanut butter
1 tbs butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbs flour
large pinch of salt
1/2 cup chopped peanuts (unsalted, or be sure to adjust salt if yours are salted)

glaze:
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup powdered sugar
pinch of salt (depending on your peanut butter)
water (if needed)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 2 cupcake pans.  Make the filling: heat the cream cheese in a bowl in the microwave for approximately 1 minute.  Stir in sugar and vanilla and set aside.

2. Prepare the streusel: Melt the peanut butter and butter in the microwave.  Using a fork, mix in the flour, brown sugar and salt, until combined and you have a slightly-moist, crumbly mixture.  Add the chopped peanuts.

3.  Make the muffins: In a large bowl, combine the oil, eggs, and sugar.  Mix until will combined.  Add the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.  Fold in the carrots.

4. Assemble the muffins: Distribute approximately 2 tbs of the batter into each cup (filling about half way).  Then follow with about 2 tsps of the cream cheese scooped into the center of your cups.  Top them off with another 2 tbs of muffin batter (Miss Fats actually recommends filling these nearly to the top.  She was disatisfied with how flat her 3/4 filled muffins turned out).  Finally, sprinkle the topping on your filled muffins. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

5. Make the glaze: while the muffins are baking, heat the peanut butter in a small bowl.  Whisk in the powdered sugar, salt, and vanilla.  If the mixture is proving too thick to drizzle, add a little water (this will depend on the consistency of your peanut butter).

6.  After your muffins have cooled for approximately 10 minutes, drizzle the glaze over top.

Six steps to salt-sweet bliss.  The beauty of this recipe is that all its components are tasty little devils on their own.  To cut back on work, Miss Fats recommends skipping the glaze or filling (though she’s pretty sure you’ll regret it!);  though do not skip that crumble, people: crumble is crack.  These guys will store just fine at room temperature in an air tight container for a couple of days.  Though she doesn’t understand why they’d need to: she dares you to just eat one.  No wait, Miss Fats takes that back: don’t even bother.  Just fill your mouth with the crunch-salt-sweet-creamy-tang that is the perfect morning muffin.

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Recipe Review: Chocolate Butterscotch Muffins

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These little guys are incredibly deceptive.  I mean, just look at them: they look completely harmless and could easily be mistaken for a boring healthy bran muffin.  WRONG.  These are basically cupcakes masking as “muffins.”  Only instead of a fluffy, oil-based cake, you’re getting a rich, dense and moist cupcake-muffin hybrid that’s perfectly paired with butterscotch chips.

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Miss Fats got the recipe from the folks over at The Kitchn, who seem to rarely fail her.  The recipe is incredibly easy: no mixer, no melting chocolate, and no sifting.  Since Miss Fats is lazy, and doesn’t have a dishwasher, naturally she adapted this to be done with one bowl.  That’s right, these chocolate delights can be made with minimal clean up.  All she did to omit the “wet ingredient bowl,” was follow the first step for combining the dry ingredients, then she made a well, threw all the wet ingredients in and made a half assed attempt to stir them together a little before combining everything together.  This seemed to work.  No tragic baking failure occurred.  She did find, however, that her muffins took a little bit longer than the original recipe stated: it says between 17-20 minutes, but Miss Fats’ took closer to 22-25.  However, the instructions to wait until the tops are no longer shiny is the best advice: just watch for that glistening top to transform into a rich and crisp chocolate top.

IMG_0224Miss Fats can’t even look at these.  They are so damn unassuming.  Little do people know that these muffins are in fact rich, chocolately butterscottchy flavor parties.  They are perfectly tender and moist on the inside and the muffins tops crisp up just right for a little bite on your way to fudgey breakfast heaven.  These easily top Miss Fats’ favorite muffin recipes.  Many more will be made in the future.

jelly fauxnut muffins

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A reoccurring subject here on Sunday Sundaes is Miss Fats’ obsession with fried dough.  Clearly she has a bit of problem and should seek help.  Part of this fixation seems to stem from the fact that she does not fry or really experiment with yeast doughs; therefore the doughnut has become a treasured treat that she must seek out from others.  But then she found this recipe: pretend jelly doughnut muffins.

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Could this be Miss Fats’ way to wean herself off the hard stuff? Probably not.  But it might curb withdrawals.

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Now, be warned, these really cannot be conflated with a good jelly doughnut (of which Miss Fats is a HUGE fan and believes they get a terrible rep: more on that rant later).  THESE ARE MUFFINS. DO NOT BE MISTAKEN. But these little treats will provide some jam-filled pastry goodness with their crumbly, buttery muffin texture and surprise center.

These little guys can be made with whatever jam you have on hand.  Miss Fats went for variety with raspberry and lemon curd.  She found that the lemon curd did sink to the bottom a bit and didn’t provide the pretty little center, but that sharp citrus flavor may have won the battle between the two.

Jelly Fauxnut Muffins:
adapted from Baked Doughnut Muffins with Blueberry Jam
makes 12 muffins

3/4 cup melted butter
1/3 cup yogurt
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
12 tsp of jam or preserve of choice

1/4 cup sugar (for rolling)
1 tsp cinnamon (for rolling)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease cupcake pan.  In a large bowl, mix sugar, yogurt, milk, eggs, and vanilla until well combined.  Mix in butter as best you can.  Add the flour, baking powder and salt, and mix until just combined.

2. Spoon about 2 tbs of the batter into the bottom of each tin.  Follow with 1 tsp of jam in each.  Top each off with the remaining batter, trying to completely cover the jam dolups.  Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until golden brown and fully cooked through.

3.  Allow muffins to cool for a few minutes in pan.  However you should run a knife along the edges to make sure none of the jam seeped out and has stuck to the sides of the pan (this will only make for a sticky mess if you allow it to harden).  In a small bowl, mix the sugar and cinnamon.  Roll each muffin in the mixture.

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These muffins ended up with a crispy browned, sugar-coated outside, and tender, buttery inside.  Though Miss Fats would never say these live up to real jelly doughnut, they’ll do fine when she needs a filled pastry-object.  Miss Fats highly recommends digging into these while they’re warm with a hot cup of coffee.  Close your eyes and pretend it’s the real deal: these will almost take you there.