I tend to associate muffins with New England...why, perhaps it's because they seem so Americana, so puritan, so homey. If I had my druthers, muffins would not be first, or second, for that matter, on my choice of breakfast. But, every once in awhile, I will come upon a bakery that has a flavor combination that either sounds so inviting, or is so out there ingredient-wise, that I indulge just to see two things...what they are all about, and if my instincts were right about what I would think about that particular muffin once I tried it. I have a very strict rule of thumb about any muffin I make..it has to be pretty well packed with what I'm filling it with, whether it be blueberries, chocolate chips, or in this instance, jam. The one thing I really detest is biting into something, only to have the tiniest bit of filling inside. I was at a bakery in West Seattle one day, and got one of their chocolate filled croissants, seeing that at each end the chocolate just seemed to be spilling out. I think all the filling was either end, because it certainly was lacking throughout the rest of it. So, true to my word, this muffin has a very generous amount of filling inside, and by the way, you can change the jam to just about any flavor your heart desires.
2 cups flour 1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt 1 stick butter, melted and cooled slightly
2/3 cup sugar 1 tsp pure almond extract
1 cup 2% milk 1 cup raspberry preserves
CINNAMON CRUMB TOPPING
1 cup flour 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon pinch of clove OR 1/8 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
6-7 tbsp butter, melted
Combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and clove/nutmeg in a small bowl. Stir in the melted butter and gather up and rub the mixture between your fingers to form coarse crumbs. Scatter crumbs over all the muffins and press slightly so mixture will adhere to muffins when they are baking.
I give the instructions about the topping above so that you can have it ready to go after you make the muffin batter. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners or coat the muffin tin with cooking spray. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl, using a whisk or fork until blended. In a larger bowl, whisk together the melted butter, sugar, eggs, almond extract and milk. With a large spoon, stir in the flour mixture just until combined. Fill each cup about half full. Spoon 1 tbsp preserves on top of the batter. Cover the preserves with the rest of the batter. Bake at 375 for 18-22 minutes, until the crumbs just start turning a light brown on top. Remove from oven, let cool just a few minutes, and take out of tin and place on cooling rack. By the way, these will freeze beautifully...just individually wrap and then put into a freezer Ziploc bag. Bon appetit!