Confession #119: I love carbs… Brown Butter Pecan Muffins
I have a thing for carbs, or more like, I have a thing for the yummy treats that carbs come in, like perfect soft dinner rolls and fluffy cinnamon rolls. And muffins – I love me some muffins. Unfortunatley (hah!), I’m pretty sure that I get my fair share of carbs with all the baking I do, so when I start to feel a little guilty, I pull out the whole wheat flour (yup, that’s my solution). Then I make whole wheat muffins with brown butter and toasted pecans, and all seems right with the world. :D
I should say that I don’t actually believe that whole wheat necessarily equals healthy. I feel like Alton Brown praising the many virtues of oatmeal and then using it too make butter-loaded oatmeal raisin cookies – I only wish that was considered healthy! But I do think that if we can swap out regular flour in our muffin recipes for whole wheat flour, it’s still a pretty good thing. You know, as long as it still tastes good, which it most certainly does here.
Besides carbs, I may also have a thing for brown butter and pecans, and when you combine all these nutty flavors in one, you start to not care that your muffins are made with whole wheat flour, because they don’t taste dry or boring. Instead, they taste nutty, and a little sweet thanks to a light crumb topping, and you get all these rich deep flavors from brown sugar and cinnamon. After trying these, you might actually find yourself craving whole wheat muffins – a little crazy, don’t you think? Or maybe that’s just me…
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Grease a standard 12-cup muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.
Brown the butter: Warm a small, light-colored skillet on the stove over medium-low heat. Add the cut up butter and whisk occasionally as it melts and starts to foam up. Once bubbling or foaming, whisk fairly constantly as the butter turns a rich hazel color. Once it gets to this point, remove from heat immediatley and transfer to a cold surface. Continue to whisk briefly, and then allow to cool for a few minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking power, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the cooled butter and brown sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Beat in the yogurt and vanilla extract until smooth.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix in on lowest speed until JUST combined. Add the pecans and fold in with a spatula just until combined. Divide batter evenly between the prepared muffin cups.
Combine the ingredients for the crumb topping in a bowl and cut together with a pastry cutter until the mixture is coarse and no large chunks of butter remain. Sprinkle crumbles over the top of the muffins.
Bake muffins in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, just until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean. Cool briefly, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.