New York Dame, Deborah Mintcheff, specializes in editing and authoring “packaged books,” cookbooks that carry a brand name and/or are subject rather than author driven. Along the way, she’s always, always cooking–her recipes and others’. She developed the recipe for these muffins, each a sort of individual streusel-topped sour cream coffee cake, for a New Year’s Day brunch party menu. Their feather-light texture is dotted with melted chocolate and fragrant with cinnamon-sugar.
The muffins are best still warm from the oven with their chocolate deliciously soft. So, Mintcheff prepares the ingredients the day before like this: Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a sealable plastic bag or small bowl. Do the same with ¼ cup of the cinnamon sugar mixture. Put the remaining cinnamon sugar in another bag with half the walnuts; the remaining sugar in another; all the chocolate with the remaining walnuts in another. The next day, leave the butter, sour cream, and eggs at room temperature for about 30 minutes, and you are ready to mix and bake.
Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Generously grease twelve regular muffin-pan cups, including the entire rim of each cup. In a small bowl, whisk together ½ cup of the sugar and the cinnamon. Reserve. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and the remaining ¾ cup sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl occasionally. Beat in the vanilla. (The mixture will appear curdled.) On low speed, add the flour mixture alternately with the sour cream, beating just until blended and beginning and ending with the flour mixture. The batter will be very thick. Spoon half of the batter into the prepared muffin cups, dividing it evenly and spreading it into a layer. Sprinkle ¼ cup of the cinnamon sugar over the batter, then top with half of the walnuts and all of the chocolate. Spoon the remaining batter on top. (It won’t look perfect and it doesn’t have to cover completely.) Top with the remaining walnuts then sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon sugar. The cups will be filled high above their rims.
Bake the muffins until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Place the muffin pan on a wire rack and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Invert a jelly roll pan over the muffin pan and invert. Lift off the muffin pan. Place the muffins, right side up on the wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Makes 12 muffins
- 1 1/4 c Sugar (divided use)
- 1 1/2 t Ground cinnamon
- 2 c All-purpose flour
- 2 t Baking powder
- 1/2 t Baking soda
- 1/2 t Salt
- 6 oz (1 1/2 sticks) Unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 Large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 t Vanilla extract
- 1 c Sour cream, at room temperature
- 1 c (4 oz) Walnuts, chopped
- 4 oz Bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces