I saw people in bikinis today. People. In. Bikinis.
Friends… apparently it’s time. Granted, I live in Los Angeles. It’s SunnySunTown.
Just a few days ago I was eager and ready for summer. Summer is great, right!? Well… I was mostly thinking about watermelon, picnics, and late night tacos. I was NOT thinking about bikinis. I’m not ready to think about bikinis. I’m medium ready to think about tankinis… and that’s about as far as it goes.
I tend to have really strange reactions to seeing people in bikinis. I make muffins. It’s sort of a knee-jerk reaction. People are wearing very little clothes in public? Right… right. I’ll be right back. I have to go make a dozen, and eat at least two muffins. (brb. no bigs)
I want to pack these muffins with as much flavor as possible.
In my kitchen, flavor generally starts with browned butter.
The process of browning butter takes the cold stick of yellow butter, and makes it a golden brown, nutty smelling, butter liquid.
It is divinity.
I made simple sugar fragrant and utterly lovely by adding fresh vanilla bean.
I split a vanilla bean, scraped out the seeds and rubbed it into granulated sugar. I used my clean fingers. This pretty much creates the best perfume ever.
Next flavor? Espresso!
Instant espresso powder is one of my secret weapons in the kitchen. …I’ll throw it in the eyes on any burglar that breaks in my house.
It also adds an amazing depth to chocolate desserts. Brownies and chocolate cakes are brilliant with just a touch of instant espresso powder re-hydrated in a bit of hot water.
In these muffins, the espresso powder isn’t hidden behind dreamy chocolate. The coffee flavor is combined with browned butter and vanilla sugar to create… well, a dang lovely breakfast muffin batter.
I filled the muffin cups halfway with the vanilla, brown butter batter… then I stirred the espresso mixture into the remaining batter and topped off the muffin cups. Yea… vanilla and coffee in these humble little muffins. No biggie.
Streusel and cinnamon too! It wouldn’t be coffee cake without a streusel.
These are good thinking and planning muffins. Grab your calender and coffee… settle in. Avoid any and all thoughts about bikinis.
Or! Put on a pair of cowboy boots and a little dress and take these muffins for brunch times. Totally the right move.
These muffins are tender and flavorful. The coffee flavor is alluring and not too sweet. They’re like little cupcakes you can totally get away with enjoying in the morning. It’s just good breakfast eating.
Coffee Coffee Cake Muffins
makes 12 muffins
10 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
2 large eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons istant espresso powder mixed with 1 1/2 tablespoons warm water
For the Topping
3 Tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Put a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pan with paper or foil liners.
Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Keep an eye on the butter. Melt and cook down the butter until little brown bits appear in the pan. The crackling will subside and butter will begin to brown fairly quickly after that. Keep a close eye. Remove from heat.
If using vanilla bean, split the vanilla bean down the center, scrape the seeds out, and in a small bowl, rub the vanilla beans into the granulated sugar. I used my fingers and it worked like a charm. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, and vanilla. Add the brown butter and stir to combine.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl Add milk and butter mixture all at once, and stir gently to combine.
Divide half of the batter among muffin cups. Stir the espresso and water mixture into the remaining batter. Divide the espresso batter between the twelve muffin cups.
To make the topping combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the batter in the cups.
Bake until golden and crisp and a wooden pick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes. Keep an eye on them… they dry out quickly. Cool in pan on a rack for 15 minutes then remove from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.