May 19, 2009

the case of the sinking streusel

When I think of a streusel topping, an image of a crumbly, golden brown sprinkling of absolute delight promptly comes to mind.


Well, it promptly comes to mind right after this:


By definition, a streusel is a crumbly mixture of fat, sugar, and flour and sometimes nuts and spices that is used as topping or filling for cake. So naturally, that's what I was expecting to see when pulled my coffee cake muffins with a streusel topping out of the oven, but it's not what I got. Nope, I got something far more exciting--craters!


My guess is that because the proportion of sugar-to-flour was so lopsided, the sugar overwhelmed the binding power of the flour (hee--that rhymes) and that resulted in those sunken pits of caramelized goodness. Whatever the reason, you'll find no complaints here. In addition to that sweet surprise, the muffin itself was quite lovely--light, moist, and spicy, full of nutty crunches and fruity chews.


Bonus--Eb got a workout.

Cratered Coffee Cake
(adapted from this recipe)

2 cups starter (hello, Eb!)
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon (don't you judge me)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup dried cranberries

Pseudo-streusel:
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon (I repeat, don't you dare judge me)
1/4 cup margarine

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and lightly flour a 9x13-inch baking pan, line a muffin tin with cups, or spray down your silicone baking molds.
In a large bowl, stir together the starter, oil, eggs, and sugar. In a smaller bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the pecans and cranberries and toss to coat. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and mix well; break up any flour clumps that form. Pour into the prepared pan(s) and sprinkle with the topping (see below).

To make the pseudo-streusel, combine the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Cut in the margarine until the mixture resembles very coarse crumbs.

For a cake, bake the batter for 30-40 minutes. For muffins, bake 20-25 minutes. For mini muffins, bake 15-18 minutes. Test with a toothpick for best results, but be sure to test the muffin part and not the caramel caverns.



I heart hearts.

And hey--don't forget about the giveaway!

57 comments:

Maryann said...

haha! "don't judge me". I always say that! xox

Jeff said...

I did a Homer Simpson drool when I first saw the pic too.

Funny you post simpsons too because I have been posting this all morning:
Lisa: No I can't! I can't eat any of them!
Homer: Wait a minute wait a minute wait a minute. Lisa honey, are you
saying you're *never* going to eat any animal again? What about
bacon?
Lisa: No.
Homer: Ham?
Lisa: No.
Homer: Pork chops?
Lisa: Dad! Those all come from the same animal!
Homer: [Chuckles] Yeah, right Lisa. A wonderful, magical animal.
-- Of species porcine, "Lisa the Vegetarian"

Nicely done and looks beautiful and well drroooollll......

Lori said...

A tablespoon of cinnamon? I will judge you a genius. Sorry I couldnt help that.

One other thing. Yum-a-licious!

Pam said...

No judging here - bring on the cinnamon. I think these crater muffins look AMAZING. Now, if only we were neighbors we could be sharing them with a cup of coffee right now. Yum.

doggybloggy said...

doh....these look like a nice new idea and I bet I could pop three in my mouth without you even knowing....

Robin Sue said...

I do hate it when my streusel sinks but it is nice to find it so snuggly inside!

Bunny said...

Gooey goodness everywhere, now that's my kinda muffin, hooray for Eb!!

Dawn said...

LOL!
cinnamon in mass quantities is how we roll

Lisa said...

Oh yes! The craters are the best part of a streusel cake. That way there is a chance to find yummy streusel-ly goodness in any random bite. I don't know the reason but experience tells me it's true.

Foodie with Little Thyme! said...

I would rather have inside than on top. YUM!

OhioMom said...

You just never can have too much cinnamon goodness, and a hidden surprise is so much better :)

lisa said...

Cratered or no, coffee cake muffins sound delish! And, the amount of cinnamon sounds fine to me.

Culinary Wannabe said...

Coffee cake in a more convenient form - sign me up! And glad to see Eb's still around. :)

dessertobsessed said...

this looks so good! the heart shaped one is so cute!

Mrs. L said...

Ah, craters have never looked so good!

The Blonde Duck said...

I'm all about crater strusel!

Marjie said...

I'll take cratered coffee cake muffins, thank you!

pigpigscorner said...

WOW that stuff is loaded with cinnamon..lol

Abby said...

They look PERFECT to me.

And I see we have something in common: flour and flower are pronounced the same! Hee.

Stacey said...

That looks ridiculously good!

Ingrid said...

oh, yum! I'm likin' the yummilicious filled craters.
~ingrid

Shelly said...

Oooo yet another yummy sourdough recipe of yours I'm gonna have to try, Grace! I was doing a Homer drool as well while reading your post!

Helene said...

Still look good. I think I would have a different ratio of sugar, butter & flour. May work next time.

Elyse said...

This is a genius, happy accident! A puddle of caramel streusel in my muffin?! Where can I sign up? Sounds fabulous to me. These muffins look fantastically delicious. And I would never judge you for using so much cinnamon; in fact, some (reade: I) might call you a culinary goddess for such cinnamon usage.

Lynda said...

I won't judge you, I'm too busy drooling! I can only imagine what they must have smelled like baking with all that cinnamon; Heavenly, I'm sure!

Lexie said...

That's funny! I go through more cinnamon than anyone I know...and that's only putting it in my coffee and oatmeal :)

Those caramely pits look so tasty!

What is starter (the 1st ingredient)?

Julia said...

Some people work very hard to get the streusel swirls throughout, and look... you got it on the first try! And I agree with all the other comments and your judgment call to add more cinnamon -- brilliant!

KJ said...

Serendipity at its best.

kat said...

Sunken or not I bet that was a fabulous muffin!

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

The only important proof is in the tasting and this looks mouth watering delicious! Great job!!

Lindsey said...

As long as it tastes good, that's all that matters! I've never made anything sweet with starter before, just good old bread. And my husband tried to make his own starter once, and well, it was a disaster and made our kitchen smell for days. So he resorted to the King Arthur Flour starter, and now he's neglecting that one as well...

Leslie said...

Oh the top or in the middle ..oh my still is yummy

Fresh Mommy said...

Well, at least it's a yummy crater! As long as it tastes good I don't care what it looks like... well, to a point I guess.
:)
~Tabitha~

freshmommyblog.com

Jessica@FoodMayhem said...

Homer Simpson pic describes my sentiments exactly.

Bridgett said...

That is one delicious looking crater! You have the best little treats. I'm loving the cinnamon too.

Donna-FFW said...

Those craters look moiuthwatering to me. Bet they still tasted great.

foodhoe said...

This is why I like to visit your blog, that looks and sounds so delicious.

Juliana said...

Well, in spite of the small crater...it still looks moist and yummie. As for the cinnamon, I am fine with the amount. By the way, thank you so much for taking time to visit my site.

Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

Oh yes isn't streusel da bomb? All that rich, buttery, sweet goodness. I think I'd gratefully sink my teeth into these :) LOL at "don't judge me". Au contraire Grace, we've come to expect cinnamon!

Maria said...

I am a huge cinnamon fan. Everything is better when it is invited to the party!

kimberleyblue said...

aw, i think they look sweet, little sunken hole and all.

besides, all that really matters is how good it tastes!

Hornsfan said...

those look quite tasty to me - cratered or not!

noble pig said...

Hey I love craters...a lot. I'm sure they were delicious.

Jacque said...

Hey, you can say these "have character", or they're "rustic"... as long as they taste good, no one will care.

They sure look nummy!

P.S. I agree on Zachary Quinto... I looked at some "glamour shot"-type pics of him after seeing Star Trek and couldn't believe it was the same guy.

Sophie said...

How lovely!! I heart cinnamon!! Looks so yummie, Grace!!

Psychgrad said...

Ha! It's actually kind of cute. I'm imaginging your muffin getting hungry, midway through baking, and eating the streusel topping. I'm sure the muffins acted all innocent when you open the door of the oven. (Yes, I tend to personify food)

Katie said...

Doesn't matter if it sunk or if it stayed on top anything with Streusel sounds good in my book!

emily said...

I've had this same thing happen to me before when I made some blueberry streusel muffins. It was so depressing. I love the picture!

Julia from Dozen Flours said...

oh... me want! yummmm!

Paula said...

Aw man, you slay me ... "power of the flour"! Ha! Love the heart shape; and in that first photo, the crater looks heart shaped, too? Coincidence ... I think not! These look so good that of course they crater would form a heart shape! YUM!

Nick said...

They look good to me, I'd still eat em! Always a fan a Homer and his timeless wisdom.

hot garlic said...

Hilarious on the cinnamon. Way funny, I always put at least that much in and think the same thing! Everything I bake with cinnamon looks burned or overly toasted. Not so, just the crazy cinnamon dumping I did whilst making the recipe. No, nope, it wasn't an accident. I like it that way. I did it on purpose. It's SUPPOSED to be like that. Haha.

Albany Jane said...

Oh man, I love these ones that sink. I think they're always just gooier, thus better!

mikky said...

the imperfection of these made them perfect for me... :) looks really good...

Deborah said...

Yeah, I would not complain either!

Sophie said...

Still lookin' moist and tasty! I've gotta say, I always have the hardest time with crumbles myself, you're right, getting the proper ratio isn't easy :P.

Gloria said...

Ja,ja, Really Grace I love beacuse you always make me laugh, so healthy!!!!! I think look amazing!!!!! Gloria