Making a muffin that's sophisticated and delicious is no easy task. The problem? It’s easy to make a bad muffin. I’ve done it. With the wrong ingredients or techniques, they turn out dense or dry or flat, or, even worse, sticky.
This weekend, I wanted the runway model of muffins. I wanted moisture, perfect chewiness, and golden brown crisp.
After reviewing innumerable muffin recipes (and making a few bad ones) I learned the secret ingredient to a great muffin: sour cream. It gives muffins a creamy texture, moistness, and bright flavor. It also browns better, adding a crunch to each bite.
Batter mixed wtih sour cream and dried cherries soaked in Vietnamese cinnamon, sugar, and Kirsch turned out a delicious muffin with the elegance of a European pastry.
Sour Cream and Cherry Kirsch Muffins
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 cup sugar (plus 1 tablespoon for cherry mixture)
4 tablespoon butter, softened
1-1/4 cup full fat sour cream
3/4 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup dried cherries, chopped
2 tablespoons Kirsch
1 teaspoon Vietnamese cinnamon
Heat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 12-cup muffin pan with butter.
Mix together flour, salt, and baking powder. In a small bowl, mix together dried cherries, Kirsch, cinnamon, and a tablespoon of sugar and let sit.
Using a KitchenAid equipped with a paddle attachment, mix together the egg, sugar, and butter until light and fluffy. Add sour cream and mix until evenly blended.
Slowly mix in flour mixture until a thick, sticky batter forms. Add in the berry mixture and pecans and mix until combined.
Divide the batter into the muffin cups, and bake until the muffins are light golden brown or a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 – 30 minutes.