Simply Sinful Cinnamon Muffins: a real square deal

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Simply sinful.

Now if that’s not a culinary come-on, I don’t know what is.

Considering this signature spice’s spicy/sweet, fiery nature, is it any wonder that “sin” and the first syllable of CINnamon are homonyms?

In fact, scientists have compiled data showing the aroma of cinnamon is a powerful male aphrodisiac. (I think I’ll just leave it to you to decide what to do with THAT particular bit of information…)

It’s also well-known that the cinnamon-y smell of an apple pie in the oven is a wildly effective home-sales tool; brokers often advise those having an open house to throw a pie into the oven just as prospective buyers start knocking on the door.

Bottom line: who can resist the smell and flavor of cinnamon? Particularly top-quality Vietnamese cinnamon, whose higher-than-normal oil content gives it over-the-top flavor, and the ability to thoroughly permeate anything to which it’s added.

Think apple desserts. Snickerdoodles. Coffeecake. And, of course, these tender, buttery muffins. With cinnamon in their topping; rich, thick cinnamon filling, plus cinnamon chips in the batter, they’re a veritable cinnamon-y symphony.

Want to bring every guy in the house into the kitchen? Bake up a batch of these babies, and see what happens!

Preheat your oven to 400°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake papers, or grease it lightly.

Let’s start with the streusel topping and the filling.

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Mix the following ingredients until crumbly:

1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup diced pecans
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup (2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3 tablespoons soft butter

I like to put topping into a measuring cup once it’s mixed, so I can easily see how much I should sprinkle onto each muffin. Looks like just about 1 1/2 cups topping – which would be about 2 tablespoons topping per muffin.

Now, how come there’s no cinnamon in the topping, if these muffins are supposed to be all about cinnamon? Well, there can be, for sure; add 1/2 teaspoon if you’re a true cinnamon devotée. But I find the “plain” streusel is a nice counterpoint to the rest of the cinnamon-rich muffin.

You have two choices for filling.

First choice: 1/2 cup Baker’s Cinnamon Filling combined with 3 to 4 tablespoons water, enough to make a smooth paste. This makes a rich filling, heady with aromatic Vietnamese cinnamon; think the filling you find in top-quality cinnamon buns.

If you don’t have any cinnamon filling in your pantry, give it a try sometime; you’ll fall in love with it, I promise. But in the meantime, you can make an approximation by mixing 3 tablespoons melted butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon. That’s it; don’t add any water.

Next up: the batter.

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Combine the following in a large bowl:

1 3/4 cups (7 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup rolled oats, old-fashioned or quick
2 tablespoons Signature Secrets culinary thickener or cornstarch
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup cinnamon chips or butterscotch chips

In a measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the following:

1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) melted butter
3/4 cup lukewarm milk
2 large eggs

Add the liquid mixture to the dry, stirring just until combined. Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to incorporate any sticky residue.

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Divide half the batter evenly among the muffin cups. A heaped tablespoon cookie scoop (photo, top left) is just about the right amount for each cup.

Dollop 2 teaspoons cinnamon filling onto each muffin; a teaspoon cookie scoop, filled level, works well here.

Rather than drop it onto the batter in a big lump, as I did, use the teaspoon scoop as a measure, then crumble the filling over the surface of the batter. That way, you’ll get more edge-to-edge coverage.

Top the muffins with the remaining batter, spreading it to cover the filling if necessary.

Notice the square muffin pan I’m using here; it’s slick – both literally, and figuratively. I lined some of the cups with paper liners, to see how a round liner would do in a square cup. The answer is: just fine.

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Sprinkle generously with the topping, pressing it in lightly.

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Bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes…

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…or until they’re golden brown. Remove the muffins from the oven, and wait 5 minutes before transferring them from the pan to a rack to cool.

OK, hold on – what’s with the other muffin pan in the oven?

Just another test I was doing. Is the capacity of this square pan the same as a standard muffin pan? Yes.

And, do paper liners make a difference? In the standard pan, liners make the muffins a little bit easier to get out of the pan; they don’t make any difference in the square pan.

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And here they are, in two delicious incarnations.

You know what they say – it’s hip to be square!

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While it’s totally optional, a drizzle of icing atop the cooled muffins is a felicitous final touch. Mix 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar, a pinch of salt, and 1 tablespoon milk, or enough to create a pourable glaze. Spoon/drizzle it over the cooled muffins.

Simply sinful? You bet!

Please read, bake, and review our recipe for Simply Sinful Cinnamon Muffins.

Print just the recipe.

 

 

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. waikikirie

    Oh PJ…..Between the crusty hero rolls and these cinnamon muffins, it’s gonna be a ‘sinful’ weekend. I’ll start the diet next week. teehee

    My thoughts exactly. There’s always tomorrow… :) PJH

    Reply
  2. KAF_Keri

    Any photos of the cross-section? I’m curious what the cinnamon filling looks like inside!

    No, Keri, sorry – you got me there; no photos. The filling looks like the filling in a filled cupcake; or, if you spread it to the edges, like the layer of filling in a cinnamon-streusel coffeecake. PJH

    Reply
  3. jessbenbow

    These look delicious. I’m hoping they will work with gluten-free flour as well.

    Just curious. Was there supposed to be cinnamon in the streusel as well?

    Not sure about how they’ll work with GF ingredients, Jess – haven’t tested. You might try our GF fruit muffin recipe as a jumping off point, adding filling and topping(s), and substituting chips for fruit. And yes, I forgot to list the optional cinnamon in the streusel – thanks for your eagle eye! I’ll go in and add right now. Enjoy – PJH

    Reply
  4. Ted

    What’s that dark grey/navy blue thing sitting in the pan of round muffin cups? (You can see it in the photo of the square and round pans in the oven.)
    I think you are referring to the oven thermometer, Ted. Usually it sits on the oven rack. Elisabeth

    Yup, Elisabeth’s right – my oven rack didn’t have room for both the pans plus the thermometer, so I stuck it into one of the empty wells. :) PJH

    Reply
  5. catieartist

    LOVE these kind of rich cinnamon muffins or coffeecake. Nothing better to wake up to on a weekend morning! Even if I am the one to have to get up to make them! Worth it!

    JessBenbow,

    I have not used the cinnamon filling yet, but I can tell you about a brown sugar, cinnamon, butter, nut filling I use, similar to the above mentioned substitution. I have made both the KAF, GF mix and my own muffins, and muffin tops.
    I have found that it works well in both recipes. When I feel something added will be heavy, as the nut filling as mentioned, I will let the batter set a few minutes and it thickens just a bit, so I am confident it won’t fall to the bottom, or remain doughy after baking. I do not use a packed ice cream type scoop, but a regular large tablespoon, and it spreads it out more, so it “marbles”, rather than looks like a ‘filled cupcake’ in the batter. I think that helps with the nature of GF batters.
    Also, I use the GF cake enhancer and Xanthan gum as called for in recipes, and find these help when adding extra ingredients.

    It is all good! and delicious!

    Good luck,
    Catie
    Thanks for the great tips! We learn so much from our customers. Elisabeth

    Reply
  6. Penny

    “In fact, scientists have compiled data showing the aroma of cinnamon is a powerful male aphrodisiac. (I think I’ll just leave it to you to decide what to do with THAT particular bit of information…)”

    Thank you PJH for making my entire day with that one!!! Oh and the recipe looks splendid as well :)

    Science is a wonderful thing, isn’t it, Penny? Wonder where the grant money for THAT study came from? :) PJH

    Reply
  7. bcornett

    Could the oats be omitted from the batter? The muffins were wonderful but caused some digestive problems! Not really into healthy baked goods around our house. Butter rules!
    The topping recipe calls for 1/4 cup rolled oats so you might consider 1/4 cup nuts, the muffin batter uses 1/2 C. oatmeal so using quick oats instead of the old fashioned may be kinder and gentler for you;) Happy Buttery Baking! Irene@KAF

    Reply
  8. bcornett

    Thanks Irene. It never occurred to me to replace the oats in the topping with more nuts. More pecans is never a bad thing. Will try the quick oats next time in the batter. The muffins were so good. My husband even liked them! I will say though, the cinnamon smell didn’t fill my house as I had hoped! Maybe it was because I only made half a batch. Next time, I may make a whole batch and see if the cinnamon smell is more prominent. I do have another question! I noticed in the pictures, that the two half trays were filled in the middle. Does that help things to bake more evenly?

    Irene is a great resource, isn’t she? Yes, baking muffins in the middle of the pan helps them bake more evenly, as they’re closer to the center of the oven. If you’re only making a half batch, it helps to use the middle of the pan. Cheers – PJH

    Reply

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