As breakfast options go, coffee cake is pretty high on my list of indulgent favorites. As if it weren’t enough that you get to eat cake for breakfast, there’s usually also a layer of brown sugar streusel, and let’s face it – you can never go wrong with streusel. The only problem with coffee cake is that most recipes make enough to feed an army and while I could certainly eat coffee cake for breakfast every day for a week (or two…) something tells me it’s not the best choice. These muffins are a great solution; you can scale back the recipe to make just a few – I halved it for 6 this time, but I can see also see making 1/3 (with 3 eggs in the recipe it would divide easily) so the temptation is even reduced a bit more.
When these muffins emerge from the oven, they look pretty unassuming. Even with the glaze, you might be tempted to walk by them if they were sitting on a table among several other breakfast options. But, once you peel back the liner, they become a lot more enticing. The ring of streusel, previously hidden in the middle of the muffin, becomes visible around the outside edge – a dark contrasting line against the otherwise pale muffin. Cut the muffin in half, and then you can really appreciate the thick layer of delicious cinnamon sugar streusel that awaits. The best part is that since the streusel is inside of the muffin, and not on top, it doesn’t fall off while the muffins are baking or as you’re trying to eat them.
I added a few mini chocolate chips to my streusel layer on half of the muffins, but I think I liked the ones without the chocolate just as much so you can go either way. It’d be fine to skip the liners too, especially if you wanted to highlight the streusel – I just prefer not to have to scrub baked on brown sugar off my muffin pan
Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake Muffins
from America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book
1 cup (7 oz) granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups (7.5 oz) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (3.5 oz) packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
mini chocolate chips (completely optional)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners (or grease well with butter).
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the granulated sugar, 1/2 cup of flour, and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar until combined. Remove 3/4 cup of this mixture to a medium bowl and whisk with the remaining 1/4 cup of brown sugar and the cinnamon to make the streusel for the muffins.
To the remaining sugar mixture in the food processor, add the remaining 1 cup of flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda and pulse until combined. Scatter the butter evenly over the mixture in the work bowl and pulse about 10 times, or until the pieces of butter are the size of small pebbles. Add the eggs and sour cream and pulse until the batter comes together – it will be quite thick. The batter may look dry at first, just keep pulsing, it’ll come together!
Add about 1 generous tablespoon of batter to the bottom of each liner in the muffin pan. Top the batter in each well with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the streusel mixture then sprinkle mini chocolate chips over the streusel – I used about 10 per muffin, but you can use more or less (or skip them entirely) depending on your preferences. Distribute the remaining batter evenly in the wells. Don’t worry if it doesn’t completely cover the streusel – it’ll spread and cover as it bakes. Bake for 20-24 minutes, or until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.
Remove the muffin pan to a wire rack and let the muffins cool for about 5 minutes, then transfer them to the rack to cool completely. Meanwhile, if you want to glaze the muffins, you can put it together. Add 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar to a bowl then whisk in about 2 tablespoons of milk – add it a little at a time until you achieve your desired consistency. Drizzle over the tops of the muffins.
Makes 12 muffins