Have you ever looked at a recipe and thought that maybe you can just round up on the butter, to make it easier on measuring? I just felt that if one is to add 14 tablespoons in a recipe, might as well add the remaining 2 tablespoons that one is left with, from two pre-packaged sticks of butter.
My bad. I’m sure there are some recipes where that would spell disaster if you did that. With these, I think, turned out pretty well. Then again, I’m pretty partial to butter.
I’m going to take liberties with the name. Just felt like it. I’m going to call these butterfest muffins. Have a butterfest. As soon as I took a bite, I said to myself, “This is a butterfest in my mouth!”
Don’t we all deserve to have a butterfest once in a while? (I did an internet search for “butterfest”; it looks like there is an actual Butterfest, in Sparta, Wisconsin, but I didn’t see anything about that festival that had to do with butter, specifically. I don’t think they could sue me, it’s not like I’m selling these things!)
So this is based on a recipe from the New York Times. Minus the pears and hazelnuts, of course. (Although I did make a cake of this yesterday and brought it in to work, with pears and a little anise, but the anise flavor practically disappeared. I wasn’t sure how much to add, so erred on the conservative side. I didn’t even tell people there was anise in it, because why bother, if you can’t even taste it? That made me want to do this again, only I didn’t have anymore pears, but had some apples, so decided on apples today.)
So for this, I not only added more anise extract, but also ground up anise seeds. I think it works! No, I don’t think the 2 extra tablespoons of butter are really necessary, it’s really that it made it easier to just drop two sticks of butter into a bowl. A friend said it tastes really decadent, but when I asked him if he felt that there was too much butter, he said that he felt it was fine the way it is. Though, between you and me, I think he’s partial to butter, too!)
apple anise (butterfest) muffins (based on this pear hazelnut cake recipe featured in the New York Times)
8 ounces (two sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
4.4 ounces (scant 1 cup) confectioner’s (icing) sugar
4 ounces (scant 1 cup) all-purpose flour
2 ounces (about 6 Tablespoons) corn meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, (kosher or sea salt)
2 teaspoons anise seeds, ground up first, then measured
2 teaspoons anise extract
1 pound + 2 ounces apples, cored, cut into small cubes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour 18 muffin molds, or use a butter/flour baking spray, like Pam.
Sift flour, corn meal, baking powder, salt, and ground up anise seeds into a medium bowl. Use a whisk to stir ingredients to ensure that the ingredients are well incorporated. Set aside
Using a hand held mixer, cream the butter and icing sugar together in large bowl, until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Scrape down sides of bowl, as needed. Add the anise extract. Beat again. Add the flour mixture by sifting it onto the top of the butter mixture and using the hand-held mixture on low, just until incorporated. Try not to over mix.
Fold apples into the mix, then divide batter into 18 muffin molds, using a spoon to level the tops. Each mold should be filled just below the rims of each mold. Bake for about 20-27 minutes. When tops are slightly golden brown and sides appear to push away from the sides, take out of oven and let sit for 10 minutes, then turn out on wire rack to cool completely. Sift confectioner’s sugar on tops, if desired.