Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Muffin Me Up! Almond Tres Leches Muffins

Don’t faint, now. I really do bake sometimes. I’m not a baker, per se. Unlike cooking, I’ve never really felt drawn to baking. Oh, I can do it; I just rarely do. Whenever I do don my baker’s hat, I’m usually pleased with the results. Take today’s muffin for example.

I recently stayed at a resort that offered a breakfast buffet. In addition to the homemade potatoes, scrambled eggs, made-to-order omelets, thick crisp bacon, glorious belgain waffles, etc., they also had a large baked goods table.

It was a tiered set up with various kinds of baked goodies. I passed by on the first morning, as I’m not only not a baker, I’m not much of a sweet eater either. The second morning, as I passed by the baked set up, I caught a glimpse of a lovely almondy-blonde looking muffin. I swear that thing all but sprouted arms and waved and uttered, “Psssst, lady, try me!”Since I’m a fan of Marjie’s blog, and she always has baked goodies including a recent post on almond pound cake, I thought maybe I should give this little baked gem a try. Well, well, well. Let me just say that I think I now know what all the fuss is about! The little muffin was delightful! Very moist, almost creamy if that’s possible, with a full almond flavor that I just love. It reminded me of a moist pudding pound cake, and I think my eyes might have rolled back in blissful maneuver a couple times while I devoured, I mean nibbled, on the pint sized creature.

After we got home, I decided to try to recreate the muffin masterpiece. But where to begin? I don’t know enough about baking to pinpoint its ingredients. All I knew was that it was almond flavored, very moist, and 100% good.I searched the internet, found this recipe, and got out my mixing bowl. Alas, it’s not the recipe of the muffin I had on vacation. On the bright side, though, it’s very good and easy to make. Plus, last night I was up late and had on Alton Brown’s Good Eats. His show was on successful muffin making techniques. Fate was on my side!

Without futher ado, and with complements to Recipezaar.com, here’s Almond Tres Leches Muffins.

½ cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
½ teaspoon almond extract
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour (sorry, this is not gluten free)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk (from a 14 oz can)
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup milk
½ cup slivered almonds (I omitted as I didn't want almonds IN the muffin)
¼ cup sliced almonds to go on top (I used less)
¼ cup additional sweetened condensed milk

Serves 12

Preheat oven to 390F (yep that’s 390 – see note below). Grease 12 regular size muffin cups with shortening or line with paper cups. In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar on medium speed until smooth. Beat in almond extract and eggs. With wooden spoon, stir in flour, baking power, 1/3 cup condensed milk, whipping cream, milk, and ½ cup of the almonds just until combined (about 14 strokes – don’t over mix leave it lumpy).Divide batter evenly among muffin cups about ¾ full. Sprinkle ¼ cup sliced almonds evenly over batter. Put in oven, and turn up the heat to the full 400F degrees. Bake 15-20 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 10 minutes, and drizzle each with 1 tsp of the additional condensed milk. Serve warm. Make yummy noises.

NOTE: Alton Brown suggests preheating your oven just slightly below the desired temperature. Then, when you place the muffins in the oven, crank up the heat to the full desired temperature. His reasoning is that ovens cycle on and off, and if you put your muffins in during the off cycle, your muffins won’t rise properly. By turning up the temperature when you place the muffins in the oven, you guarantee that you are hitting the “on” cycle, and it takes very little time to heat up. Alton has spoken. All I know is that the muffins turned out beautifully. If your muffin method works for you, then I wouldn’t change anything. But if you’ve had problems with flat or spreading muffin tops, give this method a whirl.
These are really good. To be honest, I like the other ones that I had at the resort much better, but these come in a solid second place. They are easy to make, look gorgeous, and taste good. Mr. It’s All Gouda was pleased.Do you have a favorite muffin? What about muffin technique? Paper muffin cups or sans cups? Oh, and do you have any ideas what the name of the muffin I’m after is called? Remember ... it’s almondy, extremely moist like a pound cake, and blonde. I really can’t call the resort to inquire for the recipe because they had like millions of different kinds of muffins ... there’s no way I could decode it enough to figure it out. Man, I wish I really DID know the muffin man!


Anonymous said...

I LOVE muffins. This one is going into my "paula" fine for sure. I think my favorite is a carrot muffin and I use the paper liners (if I have them that is.........which reminds me.........).

Marjie said...

I love mini muffins, because then I can have 2 and not feel (too) guilty. You know I love almond flavored foods, too, so I would love these. I've never made rich muffins like these; they're almost like cupcakes! Excellent result!

And, I always turn off the oven then turn it back on, to force it to cycle "on" at the beginning of the baking. I'm glad an expert says that's the right thing to do.

Dawn said...

these sound sooooo good!! nice!

noble pig said...

The almond extract flavoring is what I love, it always just tastes so darn good.

Grace said...

these muffins are all kinds of awesome, paula! even though the mere mention of belgian waffles distracted me for a minute, i quickly returned to feelings of appreciation for your creation. lovely combo!

Cheryl said...

That is a good lookin muffin! I love Alton but at times he makes things just a bit too complicated for little ol me!

Irene said...

Oh my gosh, these are like my favorite things about muffins and my favorite things about cake all together. Awesome!

Lynda said...

These look amazing, Paula! We are muffin lovers,so I'm excited to have another yummy looking recipe to try. And thanks for sharing the oven tip; I'll try it next time.
I use liners quite often, but I've found that the lower fat muffins stick to them, so it now depends on the fat content of the recipe as to whether or not I use liners.

Robynn's Ravings said...

You make EVERYthing look good, Paula!!

Karine said...

These muffins look delicious! Thanks for sharing!

Pam said...

You are a great baker - look at how perfect those muffins turned out.

I've bookmarked this recpe, my kids would love them.

Pam said...

Great tip from Alton. I'll try to remember that next time I get up the nerve to bake.

Lo said...

OK -- you've totally got me by the toe here. Almond AND tres leches??!! Over the top. And they're gorgeous.

Sure you don't do a bunch of baking on the side when we're not looking??

The Blonde Duck said...

I watched the same Alton brown show!! I've been craving dulche de leche ever since!

inadvertent farmer said...

I LOVE muffins. Since going vegan I have been trying to tweak my favorite recipes to get them just right. Your's look awesome,

Thanks for visiting my blog! Kim

Sandra said...

Alright, that's not fair. I come to return your kind call to my blog and what do I find. Temptation. Now I'll have to make these and the eat them. Oh well. Thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog. Now I'm off to try to erase this delicious memory from my mind.

Lisa said...

These do look delicious. Nice job. The muffin man would be proud!

Mickle in NZ said...

You know, I'm sure you could tweek the recipe - replacing the flour with ground almonds (aka almond meal) and maybe a little gluten free flour mix to make these suitable for your young lass.

And it would make them even "almondy-er"!