These New York crumb cake muffins have a few qualities that elevate them a step above others. They not only incorporate lemon zest and browned butter, they also have additional crunchy crumbs hidden inside each muffin. Genius.
The recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I used the zest of an entire lemon and modified the baking time for a convection oven. They were quite large but baked perfectly in a standard muffin tin. Great.
Yield: 12 muffins
For the Topping:
- 1/2 cup/115 grams unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 1 1/3 cups/165 grams all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup/110 grams dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice or cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
For the Batter:
- 3/4 cup/180 milliliters sour cream
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (I used the zest of 1 large lemon)
- 1 1/2 cups/190 grams all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup/135 grams granulated sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup/115 grams unsalted butter (1 stick), cut into 1-inch slices and softened
- Heat oven to 375 degrees, preferably on convection, and line a 12-cup muffin tin with liners.
Make the Topping:
- In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt butter, then let it simmer until the foam on top falls to the bottom of the pot and turns brown, 4 to 6 minutes. It will smell nutty when it’s ready. Immediately pour butter into a small bowl to keep it from getting any browner, and let cool for 5 minutes.
- Whisk together flour, sugar, spices and salt in a medium bowl.
- Pour in the brown butter and stir, pinching the mixture together, until crumbs form. Set aside.
Make the Batter:
- Whisk together sour cream, eggs, vanilla, almond extract and lemon zest in a mixing bowl.
- In a large bowl, using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a handheld electric mixer, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt until combined, about 10 seconds.
- Add softened butter and beat for 20 seconds to work it into the flour.
- Add egg mixture and continue beating until the batter is very smooth, about 1 minute.
- Sprinkle a scant tablespoon of the topping crumbs into the bottom of each muffin liner. (I used a cookie scoop.)
- Spoon the batter on top of the crumbs, dividing it evenly. (I used a large cookie scoop- plus a little bit extra- per well.
- Bake muffins for 5 minutes to firm up the tops so the crumbs don’t sink into the batter. Remove muffin pan from the oven and lower heat to 350 degrees.
- Sprinkle the remaining crumbs on top of each muffin. (I used 1 tablespoon per muffin, rationed with a cookie scoop.)
- Continue to bake until the muffins are springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 17 on convection or up to 30 minutes longer.
- Cool on a rack for 15 minutes.
- Use an offset spatula or butter knife to lift the muffins out of the pan. Finish cooling muffins on a rack.