Brown Butter Toasted Pecan Muffins

Browned Butter Toasted Pecan Muffins

Random self Q & A:

  • What’s your favorite pie? Pecan.
  • What’s your favorite nut? Pecan.
  • What’s your favorite tree? Pecan.
  • What’s your favorite wood? Pecan.
  • What’s your favorite childhood memory? Playing under the old pecan tree with my cousins.
  • What’s your favorite smell? Pecan leaves in the Fall.
  • What’s your favorite baking ingredient? Vanilla sugar.

Ha! I bet you thought I was going to say pecans on that last question. Silly you. Why would you think that?

Browned Butter Toasted Pecan Muffins

Whether it was the pecans, themselves, or the trees from which they grew, pecans have been a standard in my life from my earliest memories. Right now, I am looking for a pecan wood cutting board. I want it as reminder of sweet memories in my life and as an heirloom for…you know…later.

Actually, I have been looking on line for pecan wood cutting boards and have found some very pretty ones. Truth be told, I don’t know if I would have the nerve to ever use it for cutting anything. I am very fond of wood and have a tough time convincing myself to cut anything on even the cheapest and most replaceable of my wooden cutting boards. I bought a bread board made of cherry last year at the farmer’s market and it still looks just as pristine as the day I bought it. Go figure.

Browned Butter Toasted Pecan Muffins

Question: Is the cost of a $240.00 cutting board justified by only using the board to chop nuts? What about chopping nuts and using the board as a background in food photos? What about if I use it as a work of art? You know, display it in a grouping or something. I have a birthday and Christmas coming up in the next few months. Perhaps the cutting board would be a good combined gift. Oh wait–I almost forgot. We’re getting new doors for the front and back of the house. Forget I ever said anything about a dumb cutting board. Doors are crazy expensive!

Browned Butter Toasted Pecan Muffins

I really like the various elements in these Brown Butter Toasted Pecan Muffins. The name tells you a lot about the muffins, but not everything. For instance, I used dark brown sugar to complement the richness of the toasted pecans. There is also more cinnamon and vanilla extract than is generally found in muffins. The streusel is a nice finishing touch on this type of muffin particularly.

The only cautions I would like to give you in regards to these muffins, is to not overdo browning the butter, toasting the pecans, or stirring the wet batter. Burned butter and pecans speak for themselves. Stirring the batter too much will develop too much gluten, which in turn makes a tough, chewy muffin. Additionally, over-working the batter can cause tunneling in the muffins. You don’t want tunnels in your muffins, do you?

Browned Butter Toasted Pecan Muffins

When you make these Brown Butter Toasted Pecan Muffins, your house is going to smell like Fall. If you’re not ready for it to be Fall yet, then wait a few weeks to make the muffins. Although there are a couple of extra steps, browning the butter and toasting the pecans, you will be richly rewarded for your efforts. The muffins are great anytime, but would an especially terrific addition to the breakfast table.

Browned Butter Toasted Pecan Muffins

Brown Butter Toasted Pecan Muffins

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 12 muffins

The sweetness of dark brown sugar and cinnamon mixed with the richness of browned butter and toasted pecans, will give these tender muffins a permanent place in your collection.

Ingredients

    Preassembly Prep:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 cup pecans
  • For the Streusel Topping:
  • 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick), melted
  • For the Muffins:
  • 1 1/2 cups white flour (spooned into measuring cup, then leveled)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Prepare muffin tin by spraying cups with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a small sauce pot, melt butter over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently until sediments are golden brown and butter smells nutty. Remove immediately from heat and allow to cool.
  3. In a baking pan, scatter pecans in a single layer. Bake for 10 minutes until toasted and fragrant. Cool, then chop into small pieces. Set aside.
  4. For the Streusel:
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and cinnamon. Pour melted butter over flour mixture; stir until well mixed and crumbly. Set aside.
  6. For the Muffins:
  7. Increase oven temperature to 375-degrees F.
  8. In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Whisk thoroughly. Add dark brown sugar and white sugar to flour mixture. Whisk together until well blended.
  9. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together cooled butter (okay to use if still warm, but not hot), milk, egg, applesauce and vanilla. Add to flour mixture and stir, by hand, just until combined. Do not over mix. Add pecans and stir lightly to distribute in batter.
  10. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Sprinkle with streusel. Bake for 15-20 minutes, just until a toothpick inserted in center of muffins comes out clean. Do not over-bake. Remove from oven and allow muffins to cool in pan. Store in an airtight container for up to three days.

Notes

Recipe by Terri @ that's some good cookin'

http://tsgcookin.com/2014/09/brown-butter-toasted-pecan-muffins/

Browned Butter Toasted Pecan Muffins

Give these great recipes a try as well:

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
Blueberry Lemonade Muffins
Blueberry Lemonade Muffins
Pecan Pie Squares
Pecan Pie Squares

Smothered Burritos

Smothered Burritos | that's some good cookin'--burrito filled with seasoned ground beef, beans and rice, then topped with spicy sauce and lots of cheese

This is my third attempt at writing this post. Seriously.

In the first attempt I started out relating an interaction that I heard between a father and his four children in Costco recently. The father had the maturity of a 12 year old boy at scout camp. I scrapped that one after the third paragraph.

The second attempt involved a dove which crashed into my dining room window and went home to Jesus. I also included about how my grandsons developed the phrase “the lonely dead dove” to refer to a bird skeleton they found in the back yard. I’d tell you more, but you’d probably throw up. Anyway, despite the uber cuteness of my grandchildren, I scrapped that one after the fourth paragraph.

Now here I am on my third attempt and I am determined to make this one work… no matter how far out in left field it goes. I tend to write my posts in real time, meaning that I grab my computer and just start writing whatever pops into my head.

The down side to this method is that sometimes I get stuck and can’t figure out what to write next. Like right now. I’m really not sure which direction I should take. I mean, I’d love to tell you a funny story or something; maybe share an embarrassing moment, or perhaps enlighten you with my vast knowledge about how to insert a catheter. Fascinating.

Hmm, okay. So catheters it is.

Smothered Burritos

Actually, inserting a catheter really is fascinating. As with the lonely dead dove, I’ll spare you the details. I will tell you, however, that learning to place a catheter was one of the scariest things I have ever had to do. I used one of my kids’ old teddy bears to practice sterile technique and catheter insertion when I was going to nursing school. I’d close myself up in the spare bedroom and practice the whole process over and over, including talking to the “patient” so as to distract he/she/it from what I was doing.

I can imagine that the scene would have worked well in Napoleon Dynamite. I’d be standing there masked and gloved, talking to a purple teddy bear while inserting a catheter into its nether regions. Yep, that would have been total ND material.

Of course, the first time that I placed a catheter in a real, live human being, it was nothing at all like the teddy bear. All I’ll say is that I had to do it in a squatting position at the bedside because my patient, a man, had had back surgery and could only lay on his side. They don’t teach you that maneuver in class!

Smothered Burritos

Later, after graduating from nursing school, I still had the practice catheter. Somehow I couldn’t part with it because it was a reminder of how hard I had worked to learn a skill that was to be an integral part of nursing. Finally one day it occurred to me that the catheter would make a great “teether” for my little grandson. He had been born the week before finals during my last semester of school and now, a few months later, he was going through the process of teething.

I gave him the catheter and he started gnawing on it immediately. It was great! The catheter had just the right amount of give and resistance to allow some really effective gumming action. He gummed on it all week long. The following Sunday, as we were all sitting in church for our worship service, my daughter whipped the catheter out of the diaper bag and gave it to the baby. I heard an immediate gasp and sputter from the elderly man sitting behind us. He was trying to tell his wife about the catheter, but he was so horrified by the situation that he could not form an intelligible sentence. I wanted to laugh out loud so badly that I could hardly contain myself. The man kept stammering and the baby kept chewing, his smooth gums making squeaky noises against the catheter. It was divine. :)

As usual, I have plowed through another post yammering on about nothing that has to do with the actual recipe included in the post. I mean, how could a catheter and a smothered burrito have anything to do with each other?

Actually, now that I think about it, if I had stayed with the story of the guy in Costco I could have definitely segued into the burrito. Whatever.

Smothered Burritos

Filled with meat, beans and rice, these burritos are like a casserole wrapped in a tortilla! Add a little salad of lettuce and pico de gallo and call it a meal.

Burritos are generally served without a sauce or gravy. As you can see, these burritos are covered with a spicy gravy. This style of burrito goes by several different names—smothered burrito, wet burrito and enchilada-style burrito.

This recipe is home cooking at its best. The sauce is homemade, rather than using pre-made elements such as beef gravy and a can of enchilada sauce. When I was developing the recipe I tried a shortcut by making my own gravy, but using canned enchilada sauce. When I tasted it, my mouth went into convulsions at the flavor and I threw the “easy” sauce away. Homemade is definitely the way to go.

The ingredient list for this recipe looks very long, however most of the ingredients are kitchen staples, so don’t freak out.

The black beans are super easy—open the can, dump the beans into a small colander, drain-rinse-drain. You’re done.

For the rice, I used Cilantro-Lime Rice. It gives a nice contrasting flavor as opposed to Easy Mexican Rice which has a similar flavor to the meat and spicy gravy.

The burritos can be dressed up with guacamole, pico de gallo, avocado slices or sour cream.

Smothered Burritos

Smothered Burritos

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 6 burritos

Filled with seasoned ground beef, rice and beans, then topped with a spicy sauce and lots of cheese, these burritos will leave you full and satisfied.

Ingredients

    Spice Blend
  • 3 ½ tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • For the Meat
  • 1 1/4 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, medium diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons Spice Blend (recipe included)
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 cups unsalted beef stock
  • For the Spicy Gravy
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups unsalted beef stock
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 ½ tablespoons Spice Blend (recipe included)
  • Additional Ingredients for the Burritos
  • 1 (15 ounce) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups prepared Cilantro Lime Rice, Mexican rice, or plain, cooked white or brown rice
  • 6 large (10-inch) burrito-style tortillas
  • 12 ounces Colby-jack cheese, grated

Instructions

    For the Spice Blend:
  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Set aside.
  2. For the ground beef:
  3. Use a deep frying pan with a lid to cook the ground beef. Heat frying pan over medium heat; cook together the ground beef, onion and garlic, breaking up the ground beef well. When ground beef is no longer pink, remove pan from burner and drain grease.
  4. Return pan with meat mixture to the burner. Sprinkle with Spice Blend; stir well. Whisk together the tomato paste and beef stock. Pour it over the meat mixture.
  5. Bring meat mixture to a simmer then cover pan, leaving lid slightly askew to allow steam to escape. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, but the meat mixture is still moist. If meat mixture becomes too dry, add a little water or additional stock. While meat is cooking, make the spicy gravy.
  6. For the spicy gravy:
  7. In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Make a roux by sprinkling the melted butter with flour and whisking together until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly, just until the roux begins to turn a light golden brown and smells nutty.
  8. While whisking briskly, slowly add the beef stock to the roux. Be careful because of the steam and sputtering when the stock is added. Add the tomato sauce and whisk together. Add the Spice Blend. Whisk well. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently, until gravy has thickened to the consistency of tomato sauce. If it gets too thick, add a little water to thin the sauce.
  9. For the assembly of the burritos:
  10. Heat oven to 350F. Lightly butter a 9- x 13-inch baking dish. Set aside.
  11. Place one end of a kitchen towel on a dinner plate. Place the tortillas on the towel and cover with the remaining portion of the towel. Warm the tortillas in the microwave for 1 minute at 50% power. Check tortillas for warmth and pliability. Repeat process in microwave if necessary. An additional method of warming the tortillas is to warm them one at a time in a hot skillet. Just heat one side of the tortilla until softened and then turn it over to warm and soften the other side. Keep warmed tortillas between a folded over kitchen towel.
  12. Working with one tortilla at a time, lay a tortilla on a flat surface such as a cutting board or a clean counter top. Spoon approximately ¼ cup meat mixture, ¼ cup prepared rice and 3 tablespoons black beans a little off center across the tortilla. Fold in tortilla sides, wrap one end snugly over filling and roll up in remaining tortilla, tucking in sides as needed. Place burrito in baking dish. Repeat process with remaining tortillas.
  13. Ladle spicy gravy over the burritos. Note: You may not need all of the gravy. Extra gravy can be passed at the table. Sprinkle grated cheese over burritos. Place in oven and bake until cheese has melted, about 20 minutes. Serve as desired.

Notes

Suggested toppings: guacamole, pico de gallo, sour cream and chopped lettuce.

Recipe by Terri @ that's some good cookin'

http://tsgcookin.com/2014/09/enchilada-style-burritos/

Smothered Burritos

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Linguine Bolognese

Linguini Bolognese--a classic Italian dish

A couple of years ago I met the most remarkably intelligent 11 year old boy I have ever encountered. He literally left me speechless and it was all I could do to not feel like an idiot in front of him. He had come to the hospital where I work to visit his grandmother who had just had surgery.

When I walked into my patient’s room on the third day of being her nurse, the room was filled with family members. The patient introduced me to her family and when she introduced her grandson, she told me that he liked to cook. Continue Reading