Friday, September 16, 2011

Nocello Walnut Muffins

We all like recipes in cookbooks and on the net to have pictures.  Somehow it is hard for me to use a recipe if it does not show a picture.  I guess it is just a comfort level having it there.

The funny thing about the recipe I found for these muffins is that I did not like the picture.  It just was too dark and the tops look burnt.  The tops were sprinkled with brown sugar and brown sugar is the type of sugar used in the batter also.  Because of the appearance, I chose to use granulated sugar in these.  I also substituted sparkling sugar for the brown sugar on top.

The strangest thing about the recipe is that you add the liqueur to the butter mixture.  The butter is melted first, but I am not sure if the butter solidified or curdled after the liqueur was added.  It did not seem to alter the final taste though.  It was just a little bit difficult to get it mixed in with the dry. I have made an adjustment because of that.

These muffins are a great item to have with coffee or tea in the morning.  They have a moist crumb and a crunch from the sugar topping and walnuts inside.  The Nocello and the spices add the right balance of flavor.  This recipe makes 1 dozen muffins.

Nocello Walnut Muffins
courtesy of The Perfect Afternoon Tea Recipe Book

3/4 cup milk
2 tbs Nocello or any walnut liqueur
2 beaten eggs
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled to room temp
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
pinch of allspice
pinch of cardamon
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup light brown sugar or granulated sugar
2 cups flour
3/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
sparkling sugar for topping (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Prepare a muffin tin by greasing the top edge of the cavities and lining with paper cases.

Sift together the flour, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cardamon and baking powder.  If using brown sugar-measure out (lightly packing) 1/2 cup and take out 1 tbs and reserve for topping.  Then stir in the light brown or granulated sugar.  Then mix in the walnuts.  Form a well in the center of the dry ingredients and set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, butter and milk.  Then stir in the Nocello/walnut liqueur.  After all is blended, pour into the formed well of the dry mixture.  Carefully fold the ingredients together, taking care not to over mix.

Fill the 12 paper case lined cavities with the batter,  making sure all are evenly filled.  Sprinkle the light brown or sparkling sugar on top of each muffin.

Place pan in oven and bake for 15 minutes.  Muffins are done when the batter has risen and the tops have a toasty golden hue.  Let muffins cool for 5 minutes in pan and then transfer to rack to finish cooling.
                                                **LAST YEAR: Hazelnut Cookies**