I’m not a party girl. Even though I’m only 22, my partying days
are gone never came. It’s something I live with, and really don’t mind most of the time. I don’t yearn to be the stereotypical twenty something out drinking and partying every night, getting little to no sleep, and barely functioning during daylight hours. That’s not my idea of a good time, and I’m guessing it never will be. That doesn’t mean I’m not curious what it’s like to go to a nightclub with a group of friends and dance the night away. Not that I don’t wish I could drink more than half of a cosmo when out to dinner without feeling like I got hit by a truck.
A night out typically ends by nine or ten at the latest and leaves me, even when I’ve consumed no more than a bottle of water, with a scratchy throat, pounding head, and the desire to curl up into a ball and sleep for as long as possible. As you might be able to guess, this leaves me not going out at night much, but sometimes I throw caution to the wind and tell my body to suck it up so I can have some fun.
For the past few years one of those nights has been Fashion’s Night Out, a worldwide celebration of the fashion industry that kicks off New York Fashion Week each September. Since I live in Southeastern Michigan, not exactly a fashion mecca, options are limited and don’t include designer appearances and parties where invites are tougher to get than Super Bowl tickets. As far as I know Neiman Marcus throws the biggest party in the area for the night, and as I love it there, I’m always happy to go and have a fabulous time.
This year was no exception; the team there did an amazing job. Mom and I met up with our friends from the dentist office to watch the fashion show from our front row seats. The show was great with some local celebrities walking the runway. The DJ played all the best music to keep the night lively and the show rocking. It was great chatting with our friends and so nice to spend a few minutes talking and taking pictures with the local celebrities who were incredibly nice. And as much as I like to go home at the end of the night, Mom and I were pretty much the last to leave, chatting with all our Neiman Marcus friends too. Each year the event gets better and better; I can’t imagine how they’re going to top this year’s event.
I spent Friday recovering, and getting my flu shot (yuck!), and I needed a little something to help me along the way. These Plum Almond Muffins did just the trick. The muffins are crazy moist with different varieties of sweet, juicy plums. I also included a little ball of almond paste in the center of each muffin. This is optional but a nice surprise. The crumble on top of the muffin isn’t so optional. It is the best part of the muffin and my new favorite crumb topping. It looks kind of weird because it’s white even after baking, but it tastes so good, just like the topping on my favorite Entenmann’s coffee cake when I was a child. I love when I bake something that brings me back to childhood. The almond paste is so yummy in the crumble, giving a hint of flavor and texture. Here’s the thing about these muffins: they’re messy. When I took them out of the pan they kind of fell apart, which is why you aren’t seeing any of them out of the pan. You can make them less messy by making more, smaller muffins, or baking them in paper liners (or both), or you can just live with them being messy because they taste so good!
Whether you spent the previous night partying or staying home relaxing, these muffins will get your morning off to a great start.
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup demerara sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon pure almond extract
- ½ cup almond milk
- 2 heaping cups plums, peeled and diced into large pieces
- ¼ cup demerara sugar
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup Homemade Almond Paste, divided, or more
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil 10 cups in a muffin tin generously. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. In a large bowl, combine oil, sugar, eggs, extracts, and milk. Stir until fully combined. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture and stir until a batter forms. Fold in plums.
- Using a regular ice cream scoop, scoop batter into prepared muffin cups, filling all the way to the top, dividing remaining batter among cups. Form 10 balls from roughly half of the almond paste. They should not be very big. Push them down into the center of each muffin, so the batter covers them entirely.
- Make the topping. In a small bowl, combine remaining almond paste (about ¼ cup) sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Mix with fingers until there are only very small lumps. Distribute evenly among muffins, pressing gently into the batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out with only a few moist crumbs, rotating halfway through if necessary. The topping will still look like flour, but will taste amazing. May be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days, or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 4 months. Thaw at room temperature for several hours or in a 350 degree F oven for 15-20 minutes.