Whole Wheat Allspice Crumb Muffins

Today I realized I hadn't made muffins in a very long time.  So long in fact, that when I started making them my little buddy said, "Yay, cupcakes!"  He has obviously never seen me make muffins for breakfast.  Some might argue that the line between muffins and cupcakes is very thin, but I think these little muffins are decidedly more on the wholesome muffin side.  I adapted the recipe for Allspice Crumb Muffins from Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan.

I started to make the recipe as written, with all-purpose flour.  If I'm making a recipe for the first time, I usually follow it exactly to see how it turns out before I start with my "healthier" substitutions. But this time I decided to just go for it, and they turned out pretty good.  Using whole wheat pastry flour allowed them to be lighter than using regular whole wheat flour.  They stayed moist and I could really taste the allspice flavor, which I think complemented the nuttier taste of the whole wheat pastry flour.  As expected, they didn't rise quite as high as they would have had I used all-purpose flour, but that didn't bother me...or my son who loved his "cupcakes".

Whole Wheat Allspice Crumble Muffins

For the muffins:
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup turbinado sugar (if using regular sugar; 1/2 cup white sugar & 1/4 light brown sugar)
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick (8 Tbsp) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1 lemon (optional)

For the crumb topping:
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup turbinado sugar (or light brown sugar)
1/2 tsp ground allspice
5 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in center of oven.  Butter or spray 12 count regular-size muffin pan, or I just used paper cups in the muffin pan.  Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet.

Streusel: In a small bowl make the crumb topping: Combine flour, turbinado/brown sugar and allspice together.  Add the cut up cold butter and using your fingers, work the butter into the dry ingredient until you have pea sized crumbs.  Place in the refridgerator white you prepare the muffins.

Muffins: In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, allspice and salt together.  In a separate bowl, whisk the cooled melter butter, milk and vanilla together until well combined.  Now pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients, and gently stir with a spatula to blend.  It is OK if the batter remains lumpy, this is how it should look.  If you want to use the lemon zest, stir it into the batter now.  Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups, and sprinkle some of the crumb topping over each muffin,.  Use your fingers to gently press the crumbs into the batter.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Place the pan on a cooling rack and let sit for 5 minutes before removing muffins from the pan.

(adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours)

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