Raspberry Streusel Muffins

Raspberries always feel like an indulgence to me–no matter in what form they are served. Within muffins, they make a surprise appearance since blueberries dominate that breakfast pastry as the expected berry addition, yet a raspberry muffin is a perfect vehicle for this luscious berry to shine. Brilliant scarlet morsels of raspberries encased in buttery batter offer an irresistible tanginess to these muffins and balance the extra sweetness from the crunchy streusel topping. Truly, these muffins are exceptional.

One of my favorite features of raspberry muffins is that you do not need to use fresh raspberries to create perfect muffins; frozen raspberries work just fine. Keeping a bag of frozen raspberries in the freezer will also allow you to easily make this recipe on a moment’s notice. And regarding the streusel, it is an extra step in creating these muffins but will be worth every minute of your time. When I know in advance that I will be making raspberry muffins, I often assemble the streusel topping the night before, cover it, and keep it in the fridge until the morning. It will harden a bit as a result, so when I am ready to use it, I break it up with a spoon first, then use my fingers to crumble it over the muffins. This can be a welcome time saver on a busy morning. Whatever strategy you choose, get ready for luscious muffins.

makes 12 regular-size or 6 jumbo muffins

the streusel topping:

1/4 cup unbleached flour

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

3 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into bits

the muffins:

2 cups unbleached flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups fresh or frozen raspberries, large ones cut in half

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1 1/4 cups milk

6 tablespoons melted butter

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter the insides and top of a regular 12-portion or jumbo 6- portion muffin pan.
  2. For the topping, combine the flour, two sugars, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Drop in the butter and using your fingers, rub it into the mixture to form tiny crumbs. Set aside.
  3. For the muffins, in a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt and mix thoroughly. Place the raspberries in another bowl and sprinkle on a few tablespoons of the flour mixture to coat them. (This will prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the muffins when they are baking.)
  4. In a medium-size bowl, beat the egg and stir in the vanilla, almond extract, and milk. Pour this mixture into the flour mixture along with the melted butter. Stir until mixed halfway, then gently stir in the raspberries until everything is evenly mixed.
  5. Spoon into the prepared muffin pan, then sprinkle the streusel topping on the top of each muffin.
  6. Bake 18-20 minutes for regular-size muffins and 27 minutes for jumbo muffins. To make sure they are cooked thoroughly, insert a small pointed knife in the center of a muffin; it should come out clean.
  7. Cool 5 minutes before removing from the pan. Serve the muffins warm or room temperature–not piping–hot because the raspberries will be too soft.

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