So, we’ve all been there, right? We have a nice big warm sweet-smelling cinnamon roll, and while sure, the outside layers are wonderful, the ultimate goal, the very best part, the delightful, delectable bite that we save for last is that part right in the center, where it is the most tender and sugary-cinnamon-gooey. So it occurred to me…there should be a muffin that does this for us. Takes us straight to the center of the cinnamon roll. And lo, these Middle Of The Cinnamon Roll Muffins were born.
I made these one recent morning when the teenager had one of her best best best college friends over for a visit. They were getting up early for some reason or another (and by early I mean before lunchtime…that is the college equivalent to the crack of dawn) and I figured that having warm muffins that tasted like the center of cinnamon rolls would soften the blow. For teenagers, getting up “early” is almost as bad as losing your cell phone, or having the midnight show of The Dark Knight sell out before you nab your tickets. For me, staying up past 10pm feels like I am pulling an all-nighter. As a result, there is usually someone awake in my house 24 hours a day…we’re like a 7-11. At least until the teenager goes back to school. (Sniffle.)
Anyway, back at the muffins, this is one of those happy recipes where I usually have all the stuff I need for them right in my cupboard. The batter is a quick, basic sugar muffin batter…butter, eggs, flour, sugar and a few other things. The inside of the cinnamon roll part comes from a separate mixture of ground pecans, cinnamon and brown sugar. Once you have both of these mixtures together, you spoon them into paper muffin cups in layers – a scoop of batter, a scoop of cinnamon mix, a scoop of batter, a final sprinkle of cinnamon mix. Don’t worry about getting the batter spread neatly over the cinnamon mix in the center…it’s all going to bake together just fine.
Once the muffins are out of the oven and cooled a bit, the last thing you have to do is mix up a quick little powdered sugar glaze…powdered sugar, a little milk and a little vanilla. I like to spoon the glaze into a zip-close sandwich bag and snip off the end of the bag to make a little pastry bag…this lets you make artistic little squiggles. But drizzling it off of the end of a spoon will taste just as scrumptious.
Now put them on a plate and watch everyone drift into the kitchen…if they weren’t waiting there already. I may never feel the need to eat an entire cinnamon roll ever again!
Middle Of The Cinnamon Roll Muffins
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup finely chopped pecans
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup milk
1 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons milk
1. Line a muffin tin with 12 standard sized paper liners and preheat oven to 350.
2. Mix together flour, baking powder and salt.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together brown sugar, pecans and cinnamon.
4. Put butter in a mixer and beat on high speed until fluffy, about 30 seconds. Reduce speed to medium and slowly pour in sugar, scraping down the sides of the mixer as needed. Beat for about 2 minutes.
5. Add egg, beating well, followed by vanilla.
6. Reduce speed to low and alternately add flour mixture and milk in about 3 stages.
7. Spoon one tablespoon batter into each muffin cup. Top with a generous teaspoon of cinnamon mixture. Spoon remaining batter on top of each muffin, and then sprinkle with a generous topping of cinnamon mixture.
8. Bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool in the muffin tin until the muffins are cool enough to take out, and then remove and finish cooling on a rack.
1. Mix sugar, vanilla and milk in a small bowl until smooth.
2. Drizzle glaze over top of muffins (or you can make your own disposable pastry bag by filling a zip-close sandwich bag with the glaze, snipping off one corner with a scissors and squeezing the glaze out through the opening.