I like coffee cakes topped with lots of crisp, buttery crumb topping. Coffee cakes aren’t the only baked good you can add streusel to – even cookies and pancakes are fair game – and, frankly, I wish that I would remember to add a crumb topping to my goodies a lot more often. These Blackberry Crumb Muffins have a tender, berry-packed muffin base, but are a standout because of a spiced crumb topping that takes these from good to great.
The crumb topping is very easy to make and doesn’t require any special mixing. In fact, the butter is melted and then stirred into the other topping components. This creates a crumb with a great consistency that is easy to work with and a great contrast to the rest of the muffins. I added ground cinnamon and ground allspice to the crumb mixture, which gives it a nice hint of spice and touch of color, but doesn’t dominate the rich, jammy flavor of the berries.
The muffin batter itself is a buttermilk and vanilla batter, loaded with fresh blackberries. Blackberries are very large when compared to blueberries and raspberries, so they give the muffins a cobbler-like texture. The berries really stand out – both in flavor and color – for muffins that both look and taste terrific. I prefer to use fresh blackberries when I have them available, however frozen berries can be used, as well. If you are using frozen berries, use them from frozen and dust them with a touch of all purpose flour before stirring them into the batter to prevent the color from running. You may also need to extend your baking time by a minute or two.
Blackberry Crumb Muffins
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
5 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (approx 8-oz) fresh blackberries
Preheat oven to 375F. Line a standard muffin tin with 12 paper liners.
In a small bowl, make the topping. Stir together all dry ingredients, then stir the butter in to the flour mixture. Mix with a fork until the butter is well incorporated and the mixture forms sandy clumps. Set aside.
Next, make the muffin batter. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter, sugar and egg until well combined. Stir in half the flour mixture, followed by the buttermilk, and vanilla extract. Stir in remaining flour mixture, mixing just until the dry ingredients are incorporated and no streaks of flour remain. Fold in blackberries until they are evenly distributed.
Divide muffin batter evenly into prepared baking cups. Cups will be very full. Divide streusel mixture over the muffins (be generous, and don’t worry if some of the streusel doesn’t seem to “stick”)
Bake for 21-24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached.
Turn muffins out onto a wire rack to cool completely, then store in an airtight container if not serving immediately.
Makes 12 muffins.