Last weekend, we decided to stop by Green City Market in Lincoln Park. Green City is cool, I guess, but damn is it crowded.
Mostly, Green City is cool because it's right next to the zoo. I love the zoo. You should not go to Green City without walking the extra 15 feet it would take to check out the GIGANTIC bunny they have in the farm-y part of the zoo. I mean, this rabbit is ridiiiiiculous.
(Can you tell I like animals, much?)
Sorry you can't really see him there. Bad lighting and an iphone camera.
The vendors that show up to Green City tend to be on the larger, more well established side of things...this is good if you're looking for something very specific (like I was), but not always so good if you're someone who likes to support the little guys. I would generally prefer to go to smaller farmers markets, but we were in the area and I wanted some seasonal jam. Most of the available flavors were pretty boring and generic, so I settled on some black raspberry jam from Ellis Family Farms.
I initially bought jam to make jam-filled cookies, but the more I thought about it, I realized I hadn't made muffins in a long time. And I wanted something to have for breakfast this week. And let's face it....I've just been making a lot of cookies lately. Time to change it up.
These are super-simple to throw together (you don't even need to break out the Kitchen Aid...), and you can add pretty much anything you want to liven them up. I added lemon zest, a swirl of the black raspberry jam, and some brown sugar/pecan streusel topping. You could use jam, fresh or frozen berries, more/different spices, nuts...or, you could just make them plain. They're good that way too!
Allspice & Black Raspberry Muffins with Brown Sugar Pecan Streusel
For the muffins:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar (I used slightly less)
1 TB baking powder
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract or paste
zest of 1 lemon
jam or fruit of your choosing
For the streusel:
3-4 TB butter, cold, and cut into small cubes
a bit less than 1/2 cup flour
a bit less than 1/2 cup sugar (I prefer using brown sugar here, but white would work too)
1/2 tsp of some kind of spice (I used a mix of allspice and cinnamon)
1/3 to 1/2 cup finely chopped nuts (pecans, in my case)
- Make your streusel: combine the butter, flour, sugar, and spice in a bowl and break it up with your fingers. Stir in the nuts. Refrigerate until you need it.
- Preheat oven to 375F. Line your muffin pan, or spray w/ nonstick spray. To make the liners in my pictures, I just cut squares of parchment and pressed them into the cups as I filled them with batter.
- Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, spices, and salt in a medium/large bowl. Stir in the brown sugar, making sure there are no lumps.
- In a different bowl, whisk the milk, butter, eggs, and vanilla together.
- Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients, and mix with a whisk or spatula until just combined. It's totally fine if the batter is a bit lumpy.
- Stir in lemon zest.
- This is where you will begin incorporating the jam. You could do this one of two ways: portion out your batter into each muffin cup, and then add a small spoonful of jam on top and lightly swirl it into the batter with a toothpick/skewer, or, you could put a small amount of batter into your muffin cup, add a bit of jam, and then fill the cup with more muffin batter. Your call. I swirled, and it was delicious. You may want to warm your jam in the microwave first, to get it to loosen up a bit.
- Add your streusel! Sprinkle the desired amount of streusel on top of each muffin -- press the streusel into the batter ever so slightly with your fingers.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until the tops are golden and a thin knife or skewer comes out clean.