Y’all, we have a whole week not to let Christmas morning brunch get on top of us. Yes, we have our Yuletide standbys… I can’t seem to let go of that brie-sausage-mushroom-cheddar-parsley-bread casserole. Everybody always carves into it and it’s so good! All ooey gooey cheese and spicy sausage. Clearly I’m hanging on to that dish one.more.year. But sometimes you want to add a new flavor, a new dimension, if you will. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not introducing haggis to Christmas morning, oh, God, no! No, I’m wanting to serve a tasty bite, something baked and of tender morsel. Something out of character for me because it’s not often I bake muffins. So, yeah, I thought this year we should enjoy nutmeg muffins slathered with cinnamon honey butter and I set about making that happen. To my new, this year favorite Christmas carol, “My Favorite Things” sung by Luther Vandross from The Best of Love album, volume 2, I put my ideas to paper. Over and over I played that song, it’s such a great arrangement and, for some reason, I really enjoy the lyrics. I believe everything outside is covered in snow, I recall satin and velvet, Gran Marnier and roaring fires. Martinis and cool jazz. Carefree Christmas lunches and chilly beach parties. My single years with Jimmy as it turns out. Wonderful, happy years. Those days when you had lots of love AND lots of money! Anyway, after taking copious notes it came time to put down the pen and pick up a wooden spoon. And change the freakin’ song. I decided on “I Want To Come Home For Christmas” sung by Marvin Gaye on the Motown label. That voice…! Dang, y’all. Makes me totally melt. I decided on a muffin that wasn’t so sweet it made your teeth ache. I wanted a bread-like texture as that of a cake doughnut. Something with an earthy, warm flavor involved. For me, that’s this muffin. Glorious little nuggets with the most discreet suggestion of taste, these muffins hold their own on the sideboard, circled by brie, sausage and mushroom casserole, fresh berry salad lightly tossed with Framboise, every Christmas cookie in the house, brown sugar and cayenne thickly cut bacon and a couple of pitchers holding cold, tart mimosas and spicy-hot, savory bloody Marys. Oh, it’s so pretty and so much fun. I love it all! And these muffins can be baked and frozen before serving so easy-peasy. Gently warm in a low oven prior to serving. I included in this post my recipe for cinnamon honey butter. I wanted to replicate the yummy, sweet cinnamon honey butter Mama bought in the dairy section of the grocery store… more than 50 years ago. It’s no longer made, or at least I can’t find it, ergo my 3-ingredient butter. This butter is also fabulous on biscuits, pancakes and waffles. Enjoy!…okay, and let me quietly slip in here I’m also adding to this year’s Christmas morning menu andouille sausage and grits casserole. Hush! Don’t judge. We’ll talk about it later.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 2 generous teaspoons freshly grated with a fine rasper
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup whole milk, room temperature
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 375°. Grease muffin tins with non-stick spray and set aside.
- In a large bowl mix well the flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg and salt. I use a whisk to make certain it’s well mixed.
- In a smaller, separate bowl, mix the eggs until they are broken up. Add the milk and butter and mix until completely combined.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and, using a spatula, fold in ingredients until just combined. You should still have a few powder pockets and lots of lumps. If you over stir you’ll end up with rubbery hockey pucks. Better to under mix than over mix.
- Divide equally into muffin tins. If baking mini-muffins, use a small melon-baller for even baking. For standard muffins, a 1/4 measuring cup works well.
- Bake 14-15 minutes for mini-muffins and 18-21 for standard size.
- Cool muffins on a rack for 10-15 minutes.
- Serve plain butter or with cinnamon honey butter. Recipe follows.
Cinnamon Honey Butter
- 4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
- 3-4 teaspoons honey
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Combine all ingredients and mix well.
- Cover and chill.
- Let soften before serving.