Pralines and Cream Muffins

Breakfast / Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

I wish I could tell you these Pralines-and-Cream Pecan-Caramel Muffins had flax or wheat germ or some redeeming value. They do not.

The batter is loaded with the most incredibly moist mixture of butter, brown sugar and pecans. Delicious on its own. But then you add a tiny dollop of caramel sundae topping. Hide the caramel under a few spoonfuls of a smooth, tangy cream cheese mixture. And then take a deep breath and sprinkle pecan-brown sugar-butterscotch streusel over each one. Now, you’ve got something lethal special enough for any holiday brunch, dessert or Thursday morning.

If you can’t eat all of these fresh from the oven, don’t worry. They are equally amazing the next day, and the smell … If I hadn’t sent them to work with Jeff, I’d have spent the day popping the container open, huffing them like pecan-caramel whippets.

Officially, these are muffins and therefore great with coffee, but they make a mean dessert with a scoop of ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce. Perfect for curling up and watching “The Biggest Loser.”

P.S. For this recipe, I used jumbo raw Georgia pecans ordered online from Oh! Nuts. Why, why, why hadn’t I thought of ordering nuts online before? I’ve been making substitutions every time I couldn’t find hazelnuts. Now, I have a pound of them. And a pound of pecans. No wonder squirrels have started circling the house.

Pralines-and-Cream Pecan-Caramel Muffins

Adapted from Marcy Goldman’s “A Passion for Baking”

Makes 12 large muffins or 24 regular muffins

    Pecan Streusel Topping:

  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butterscotch or caramel chips, optional
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
    Cream Cheese Topping:

  • 6 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    Muffin Batter:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup very finely chopped pecans
  • 12 squirts of butterscotch or caramel sundae topping, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 12-cup large muffin pan (or two regular 12-cup pans) with paper liners, and generously spray liners with nonstick spray. Place pan on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
  2. For Pecan Streusel Topping: In a food processor, grind nuts, both sugars, and butterscotch chips, if desired, to make a fine meal. Add butter and pulse to blend. Put mixture into a mixing bowl. (This is a fine, gravelly streusel.)
  3. Without cleaning food processor bowl, blend Cream Cheese Topping ingredients well and then spoon out into another bowl. Chill in the refrigerator.
  4. For Muffin Batter: Blend butter with both sugars in food processor until well blended; then add egg and vanilla and mix well. Add buttermilk, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nuts and blend well, making sure no unblended sugar or butter is stuck in bottom of bowl.
  5. Scoop some batter into each muffin cup, filling about half full. Add a small spoonful of sundae topping to the center of the batter. Add a spoonful of Cream Cheese Topping over the center of the batter, and then carefully add streusel.
  6. Bake 30 to 35 minutes until muffins seem firm to the touch when gently pressed with fingertips. Let cool 5 minutes before removing from pan.

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33 thoughts on “Pralines and Cream Muffins

  1. I actually have a freakish number of jars of Smucker’s caramel sundae topping in my fridge right now. It’s one of my little quirks, a love for “make your own ice cream sundae” parties. Yet whenever I call people to come on over to make their own sundae, I always forget about the toppings left over from my last raging sundae-making bash. Therefore, I feel like it is pure fate that your post should come along when it did, because now I know what I am going to do with some of my leftover toppings. Love the mail-order nuts, by the way!

  2. Oh…curse those darn Weight Watchers points. I bet these go off the scale. They look totally worth it, though.

  3. Oh my goodness…those muffins look blissful on their own, but with ice cream and caramel sundae topping? Tremendous. I’m definitely giving these a try next time I have oven access…

  4. Everyone’s muffins I have seen so far look great, but if I had to vote now, yours would definitely win. I’d happily sit in your living room to watch the Biggest Loser with you if I could have a muffin!

  5. I only like redeeming values in human beings.
    Your comment about eating them with ice cream while watching the biggest loser it too funny. Actually your writing is just fun to read in general.
    I love the photo in the sunshine.
    I am with honeyb, I vote these as the most enticing muffins ever.
    Bookmarked and thanks.

  6. There are so many things I love about your blog. The humor. The photos. But perhaps the best thing is the “more is more” dessert philosophy. Between these muffins and the pie from a month or so ago (the apple-cream-cheese-caramel monstrosity) I am going to gain 35 lbs. Thanks, yo.

  7. I’ve always been hazy on the cupcake/muffin line when it comes to muffins like these. Does calling it a muffin make it seem healthier? Or is there some kind of baking specification? Anyway, these look awesome, but for sure I would not be handing these to my kids at 7 in the morning. No. Way. I’d be saving for them for after I got them off to school!

  8. Ya know…I always end up snacking during the Biggest Loser, too. Shameful! These look absolutely amazing. I’ve been thinking of getting that cookbook. It’s nice to see something out of it. Thanks for posting this.

  9. Wow, that looks absolutely delicious! Great post, you did such a nice job presenting the pictures too…I am definitely going to have to try that recipe this weekend! Thanks :)

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