There is nothing quite like time itself. Time, in all its indifference, shows no favor or compassion for one's life circumstance. Try as we might we can't undo certain events that we'd rather not have had to experience, nor can we gain a single second by cajoling and catering to it and well, much less by worrying. Am I right? All that to say that the time we've been endowed with is, in essence, what we each have to work with. It expects too much of us it seems; to use it wisely because it won't stop even if the world depended on it--quite literally.
I hope my thoughts can translate on paper (or post) the way I intend them too. As you may be aware I like to be real and honest about my life, so if you're here thinking "just get to the recipe already" and prefer to do without the gushing details, please feel free to scroll down to the bottom. I don't mind!
It is hard to believe that Selah just turned three years old and that she will be a big sister in just short of two months. On some days I've felt that time was ruthlessly out to get me. That's when I realize that this is a sign for me to take a deep breath and renew my mind. Pregnancy has been much more strenuous on my body this time around, though ironically, I feel like I'm physically more in shape than ever before. To say that disciplining a toddler is a challenge would be a major understatement, and I'm afraid that I've let those stressful moments steal what little patience remained in my mental reservoir when battling the 'trying threes' with Selah. I also admit that guilt and self doubt have riddled my mind probably more often than they should, but I'm learning to let go slowly but surely.
With everything behind me and before me, though, I can't think of a better way to be rewarded in life. To be the mom, the caretaker, and the life giver of a certain little soul is perhaps the most daunting and honorable task I can think of...next to being the kind of surgeon who is ultimately responsible in a life and death situation, of course. I'm excited to welcome little Tabitha very soon and I'm certainly hoping for a smooth transition for Selah. Lord knows how much I pray that I'll be equipped to distribute my love as fairly as possible.
With that in mind, I'm still surprised after all these years that baking is one of my favorite outlets amid overwhelming situations. The more stirred up I am inside, the more I seem to bake. And course, I think scones, muffins, cakes, and yeast breads are the greatest stress relievers. The more I knead and wait for the dough the rise, the bigger the sigh of relief. Ah, such is the way the mind of a food lover and/or baker works, I guess. I'm curious to know how many of you feel that way?
And to answer your question which is blaring from behind the screen, yes. Yes I believe the world needs another muffin recipe. While I do admit that muffins, right along with chocolate chip cookies and quick breads which have become the culprit of repeats in the world of food blogging because really--how many more variations can one come up with, is what we all secretly ask ourselves--this recipe should absolutely make it into your baking endeavors. It's a foolproof recipe if you are looking for a simple, restaurant quality muffin. The kind of muffin that you can bring to any function or brunch for the precious women in your life, or simply the kind to stock up in the fridge for those pregnancy cravings and when you can't be bothered to make a trip to your favorite bakery. It truly is as easy as dumping all the ingredients together; I guarantee it will be a crowd pleaser.
I have made so many variations in the past and though I can't say they were bad by any means, none of them have boasted of this muffin's perfectly well balanced crumb. While butter produces a richer flavor than oil the result is comparable to a slightly more dense quick bread, whereas a perfect ratio of oil and sour cream will take any muffin recipe from pretty good, to a moist, airy, and cloud-like dream...the kind that you pull apart with two fingers on each hand and then immediately after you experience steamy little pockets of joy, gently unweaving into chewy bites of goodness.
The peanut butter streusel is crunchy and harmonizes with the pillowy quality of the muffin. I've learned that much like a pie crust, the key to obtaining that sublime texture of streusel we're all after, is to use butter in its coldest form.
I recommend enjoying these with yerba mate, a robust cup of Puehr (my choices of tea), or with straight black coffee.
Most Moist Muffins with Crunchy Peanut Streusel
Makes 10 regular sized muffins
Time: 28 minutes including baking time
Equipment: large mixing bowl, rubber spatula, muffin tin, pastry cutter or box grater with medium setting
Ingredients for muffins
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup sugar (can be reduced to 1/2 cup)***
1 large egg, room temp
1/2 cup neutral flavored oil (vegetable, safflower)
1/2 cup full-fat sour cream
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
oil for the muffin tin compartments
Ingredients for streusel
1 cup all purpose flour
pinch of salt
5 tbsp cold unsalted butter
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
confectioner sugar for dusting
Preheat your oven to 350 F degrees. I suggest making the streusel first so you can place the mixture in the freezer while you make the batter. This step of keeping a cold buttery crumb is what makes the streusel crunchy after baking.
For the streusel, simply cut cold butter into the flour and salt mixture with a pastry cutter, or shave the butter on the medium setting of a box grater. Add peanut butter, brown sugar, and cut/mix everything so it forms clumps of different sizes, or simply use your fingers to incorporate. Place in the freezer as you move on to the batter.
For the muffin batter, stir the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. You can reduce the sugar to 1/2 cup if you prefer a less sweet batter, but I recommend the whole 3/4 cup. Follow a whole egg, oil, sour cream, milk, and vanilla. Make sure to incorporate and fold the batter just enough so there aren't dry pockets remaining; do not over mix!
Lightly oil the bottom and sides of the muffin tin compartments. Pour the batter at about 3/4 of the way up to the top, and sprinkle with the coarse streusel chunks. Bake for approximately 23-25 minutes depending on your oven; until inserted stick or toothpick comes out clean. Dust with confectioner sugar.