Several weeks ago I had this idea for a fig-and-goat-cheese-filled muffin. While the filling didn’t work as I had hoped (it tasted fantastic but sort of split the muffin in half oddly), the plain muffin itself, created from my plain shortcake/biscuit recipe, was worth making again. And sharing.
So on Thursday, one of the hottest days of this year, I decided I needed to bake another batch. Because baking on a 95 degree day in a house without air conditioning or even ceiling fans makes perfect sense, of course.
This is an incredibly easy, awesomely versatile muffin batter. You could easily add a little sugar and some lemon zest, or a little brown sugar and apples, or even top this with strusel. As is, this is actually a savory muffin batter, so you could easily serve the muffins on the side of a dinner (Thanksgiving anyone?) or for breakfast, or with a sweet spread for dessert. As an added bonus, I included the recipe for the fig and goat cheese filling at the bottom. I wouldn’t include this inside the muffins, since that didn’t work very well, but I’d most definitely serve it with them. Or in a big bowl by itself.
These muffins are lighter than air, and oh-so buttery tasting.
Elisa’s Buttery Plain Muffins
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (for the batch pictured I used 1 1/2 cups of white and 1 cup of wheat, but truthfully I think I prefer all-white, since the wheat flour made them a little dense, as wheat flour often does)
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 cup
coldbutter, cut into 1/2 inch squaresmelted ***
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
Stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
Add butter and use a pastry cutter or your fingers to mix the ingredients together and create a ragged texture, like you would if you were making biscuits or pie crust. The idea is to cover all the fat molecules with flour, but you want to work quickly. Don’t let the butter melt! Add the butter ***, milk and egg and stir to combine. Don’t worry if there are a few lumps; muffins should only be stirred just enough to incorporate the ingredients. If you make these and want to add any ingredients to the batter, add any spices or other dry ingredients before mixing in the butter and any wet or chunky ingredients with the milk.
Spoon 1/4 cup each of the batter into 12 prepared muffin cups (you can either use buttered muffin tins or paper cupcake liners). Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove from pan to cool completely on a rack.
Fig and Goat Cheese Spread
- 1/2 lb onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 oz goat cheese
- 4 oz fresh figs (if you don’t have fresh figs I’d suggest using 2 oz dry ones, since they’re lighter than fresh ones and very sweet)
In a small pan, combine onion, garlic, thyme (remove the stem please!), butter, and salt. Cook on low until onion is soft and begins to carmelize (NOT get dry and brown!!!). Remove pan from heat and cool for 5-10 minutes. In a food processor, combine goat cheese and figs (you probably only need to cut off the stem, as fig skins are typically edible) with the onion mixture and process until smooth. This is incredibly rich, but will freeze beautifully! Enjoy!
*** Edited 06/05/11 – For some reason yesterday I decided to be lazy and just melt the butter and throw it in. It was SO good. Fluffier than the original (which was already pretty fluffy). So I’ve amended the recipe to reflect melted butter (but you can really do it either way). 🙂