The name of these muffins is a mouthful. In fact, the muffins themselves are a mouthful! But I couldn't bring myself to shorten it, it's just... so... accurate!
The original version of this recipe actually called for dates, but I'm not the biggest date fan. So when I heard that the author sometimes uses candied kumquats instead, I signed right up for that version. This was my first time using quinoa flour. It gave the muffins a wholesome, nutty flavor that was fun to try.
These were by far the moistest muffins I've ever made. As in, so moist that even though they were fully cooked, they were a fork-and-knife (or if you're hungry me, fork and hand) operation.
Candied Kumquat Brown Butter Streusel Pecan Muffins
Adapted from the Big Sur Bakery Cookbook
Makes 1 dozen muffins
For the streusel topping:
1/4 cup pecan halves
1/2 vanilla bean
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (packed) light or dark brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
For the muffin batter:
1/2 cup pecan halves (optional)
1 cup unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for coating the pan
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (packed) light or dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Grated zest from 1 orange
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup quinoa flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup chopped candied kumquats
1. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 375F
2. Scatter the pecans (if using), for both the streusel topping and the muffin batter, on a cookie sheet and toast until they're golden through the center, about 10 minutes. (To check if they're done, cut one open and inspect the color inside.) Let them cool and then roughly chop them. Use 1/4 cup of chopped pecans for the streusel, and reserve the rest for the muffin batter. Leave the oven on.
3. To make the streusel topping: split the vanilla bean lengthwise with a paring knife, scrape out the pulp with the back of the knife, and put the pulp and the pod in a small saucepan. Add the butter and melt over medium-high heat. Cook until the butter separates and the white milk solids start to brown and smell nutty, about 7 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean. Pour the hot brown butter into a dry bowl, place it in the freezer, and leave until solid, about 30 minutes.
4. Remove the solidified butter from the bowl and scrape or chop it into small pieces. Combine the butter, flour, brown sugar, and salt in a bowl and work the mixture with a pastry blender until crumbly. Mix in the chopped pecans and refrigerate the streusel until ready to use.
5. Butter a 12-cup muffin pan and set it aside.
6. To make the batter: in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one by one, and mix to incorporate. Mix in the vanilla extract and orange zest. Combine the all-purpose flour and the quinoa flour in a bowl. Then add the combined flours in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the kumquats and the reserved pecans.
7. Fill each prepared muffin cup about 2/3 full, and sprinkle each muffin with a layer of streusel. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the muffins cool completely in the pan. Then remove them from the pan by running a knife around the edges. Serve.