Ever woken up on a snowy morning with about 8 inches of powdery goodness on the ground outside and immediately thought "I must have something freshly baked, warm, and delicious for breakfast!" ? Today is just such a day, and I went straight to one of my favorite coffee cake recipes from Cooks Illustrated. Their recipe makes 12 delicious muffins; mine makes just 4.
Here's some tips on the recipe: (1) It calls for a food processor, which makes this easier, but is not necessary. I happen to have a mini prep machine, but you can chop those pecans with a big ole knife and mix the rest by hand. (2) It calls for 1 Tbsp (or about 1/4th) of an egg. You can beat an egg and dip out a Tbsp, or ---HERE'S A BIG SECRET ALERT -- buy some egg substitute and keep it on hand. I wouldn't use it for gooey stuff like cookies and custards, but it really makes no difference in cakes, breads, and other fluffy baked items. If you're doing a lot of dividing, egg substitute is a great thing, because eggs themselves are hard to split up.
Coffee Cake Muffins (care of Cook's Illustrated)
2 Tbsp pecans
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup flour
1/4 c sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp butter, soft
1/3 tsp baking powder
pinch baking soda
3 Tbsp sour cream
1 Tbsp beaten egg or egg substitute
1/4 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350º. In a food processor, blend pecans, brown sugar, and cinnamon until nuts are about the size of sesame seeds. Remove from bowl of processor and set aside. (Alternately, finely chop pecans by hand and mix with brown sugar and cinn.)
In now-empty processor, combine flour, sugar, and salt until well mixed. Add butter and process until incorporated, about 4 1-second pulses. (Alternately, cut butter into mixture.) Take out 1/4 cup of this flour-butter mixture and and add it to the pecan-brown sugar mixture. To the remaining flour-butter mixture, add baking powder and soda, pulsing to mix.
Stir together sour cream, egg and vanilla. Add to flour-butter mixture and pulse just until flour is moistened, 5 or 6 1-second pulses. Add streusel (pecan-brown sugar-flour mixture) to batter, RESERVING 3 Tbsp to sprinkle on top of muffins. Mix with a gentle hand.
Divide batter between 4 paper-lined muffin tins. Sprinkle with reserved streusel. Bake for 15–18 minutes, or until tester comes out clean. Let cool on a rack for 7ish minutes.