I’m enjoying Muffin Monday way too much. The whole point of it is to have fun and be creative with baking, but I never thought I would look forward to that email each week with the secret muffin recipe to be recreated in some way for the following Monday. It’s exhilarating as I wait on pins and needles to see what I will be inspired by and then what I will come up with.
I’m also creating the best muffins I’ve ever made. Muffins are probably my favorite thing to bake, and I like to think I’m pretty good at making them. I love pretty much every muffin I’ve ever made. But last week’s White Chocolate Cranberry Muffins were crazy good. Sweet, tart, insanely moist. I love them!
When I received this week’s email, I saw it was another chocolate muffin. Baker Street is killing me with all these chocolate muffins. This one was chocolate and caramel. Caramel I can definitely do. So I went to the drawing board to figure out what I could create. I had just made Salted Caramels, so those would definitely make the cut. But I needed more. Eating a date for breakfast, it dawned on me that they would make a great addition, with their natural sweetness and caramel like flavor. But these muffins needed more.
While brushing my teeth, I had a flash of genius. Make the muffins like sticky toffee pudding. I couldn’t wait to get to the kitchen to make them. The muffins were super easy to put together, as I did not soak or puree the dates as in traditional sticky toffee pudding. If you don’t have homemade caramels to stick in the middle, I think store bought ones would work well too. When the muffins come out of the oven I soaked them with a sugar syrup after poking holes.
It came time to do the taste test. These muffins may have been a great idea, but if they didn’t taste good, none of it mattered. One bite . . . and pure heaven. The muffin is super moist with all those dates, softened from baking, that almost melt into the muffins. The vanilla flavor is prominent in the delicate muffins. Caramel peaks out of the center, tasty both warm and at room temperature, but the molten caramel of a warm muffin is hard to beat. It is really the super simple syrup that makes the top melt in your mouth moist and gives a great caramel-like flavor. I was afraid the syrup would be cloyingly sweet, as it’s pretty much made of all sugar. But it was super rich with deep, complex flavor. It was exactly what I was looking for. I think the almond milk in it added that slightly nutty flavor, so I would recommend using it if at all possible. In addition, Lyle’s Golden Syrup is amazing in this and many other recipes. Try to search some out, but honey or maple syrup would probably work in a pinch. Is it weird I’m all excited about Mondays now? If you make these muffins, you will be too!
- 1 stick unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 cup finely chopped dates
- 4 caramels – homemade or store bought
- ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- ¼ cup almond milk
- ¼ cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 10 cups in a muffin tin with paper liners.
- Make the muffins. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. I did this easily by hand, but a hand or stand mixer would work as well. Add the vanilla and eggs and mix until once again light and fluffy. Stir in the flour until it is mostly mixed in, then add the milk and mix until a batter is formed. Stir in the dates.
- Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop batter into the bottom of each prepared muffin cup, filling about halfway. Place about a nickel sized piece of caramel on top of the batter. Do not let it touch the sides of the paper liners. Scoop more batter on top of the caramel, filling all the way to the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes, rotating halfway through if necessary, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs.
- While the muffins are baking, make the syrup. In a small saucepan, cook sugar, milk, and syrup over medium heat until it comes to a bubble. Allow to cook and bubble for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and allow to sit until muffins come out of the oven.
- Once the muffins and syrup are both done, poke holes all over the tops of the muffins using a toothpick and spoon syrup slowly over them, focusing in the center, but making sure the entire muffin is covered. Serve warm or cool completely in pan. May be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 days, or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw wrapped in parchment placed on top of foil in a 350 degree F oven for about 20 minutes.
Muffin Monday is an initiative by Baker Street. A culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week. Drop in a quick line to join her on her journey to make the world smile and beat glum Monday mornings week after week.