Monday, September 13, 2010

Muffin Monday: Browned butter orange oat muffins with banana-orange cream-cheese filling

This past spring, I finally discovered the joy that is browned butter when I made Mae's dad a batch of Nigella Lawson's burnt butter cupcakes for his birthday. I vowed that I would make a batch of browned butter to keep in a vat in the fridge and use in everything. I haven't actually done that (yet), and it's probably for the best. But how could I resist working it into a muffin? These are toasty goodness- the browned butter, toasted oatmeal, and toasted pecans in the filling. Enjoy!

Banana-orange cream cheese filling/spread

2 small ripe bananas
1/2 c. orange juice
2 whole cloves
4 oz. cream cheese, cut into pieces
1/4 c. finely chopped toasted pecans (optional)

Chop or break the bananas into a few large chunks and put them together with the orange juice into a small skillet. Add the cloves. Turn up heat to medium high. As the bananas soften with cooking, mush them up, and cook until the mixture is reduced and thickened. Turn off the heat, remove the cloves, and stir in the cream cheese, then the pecans. Remove from heat and let cool. This can be made a day or two in advance.  It actually makes about twice as much as you need for the muffins, but it's so good you'll want extra (for spreading on the muffins, or toast, or pancakes, or....).

Browned butter orange oat muffins

1 stick butter
1 c. buttermilk
1 egg
finely grated zest of 1 orange
1 c. rolled oats
1 c. All Purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
 1/2 tsp baking soda

Preheat your oven to 350 and grease up your mini-muffin tins.

First, brown your butter. In a small pan (8 inches wide and at least an inch deep, because it'll foam a lot), melt the butter over medium heat. Let it continue to heat-- it'll foam at first, then gradually begin to darken. Let it go until it's so dark you think, "Oh no, it's ruined!", then carefully strain it into a heatproof receptacle (pyrex is good). I assure you that unless it actually bursts into flames, you won't have ruined it (unless you forget to strain it, in which case you'll have nasty burnt sludge in your muffins, and you don't want that). Let it cool.  There won't be quite a 1/2 cup anymore, but that's fine.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cooled butter, the buttermilk, egg, and orange zest.

Next, toast your oats.  Go ahead and use the same pan you browned the butter in (after it's cooled a bit so you don't instantly burn your oats). Heat them over medium heat, stirring frequently, until they're beginning to turn golden. Take them off the heat and let them cool for a few minutes, then whisk them into the liquid mixture.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined.  Fill the muffin tins halfway; add a 1/2 tsp of the filling mixture in the center of the batter, then cover with a little more of the batter. Bake 10-12 minutes. (If you don't want to be bothered with filling them, you can spread it on just like frosting on a cupcake. That would be stylish!)

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