Buttermilk spice muffins make me dream of fall. It doesn't matter if I am eating them in the middle of a 100-degree Texas summer day, or on a crisp fall morning. The warm cinnamon and nutmeg spices, tender and moist muffin, and the decadent streusal topping are so comforting. Enjoying these muffins in my PJs with a cup of coffee makes any morning just about perfect!
Fluffy and Moist Muffins
I hate that word. Moist. But it is the only way I can describe what we are trying to achieve here. There are a few things we want to do while making these muffins that will help us get the texture that we are striving form.
The first is the leavening agent. Many muffin recipes call for baking soda as their leavening agent. I played around with just using baking soda but it made the muffin dense. Using baking powder resulted in a taller muffin that had more air to it. I find that 1 teaspoon of baking powder and ½ teaspoon of baking soda produces the soft muffin that we are going for.
Another ingredient I tested was using butter versus oil. I love the the buttery flavor that you get when you use only butter, and definitely think this recipe needs at least a little butter in the batter. But adding some oil makes them more moist, which I love too. It's really good with just butter, so that's what I put in the recipe, for the sake of simplicity. But I would encourage you to try it with half butter and half oil, if you can handle an additional ingredient. (Only substitute oil in the muffin batter. The streusel topping should be all butter.)
Speaking of Streusel Topping
Look at this sugary cinnamon goodness! This streusel is the perfect topping for these buttermilk spice muffins, but it is also great on so many thing! Really simple to make, you just combine sugar with flour, cinnamon, and butter. It is equally good with or without the nuts. You can use this topping on coffee cake, pies (really good on pumpkin pie), and banana bread. It is a an easy way to change up a recipe and add a little extra fun to it.
Don't Overmix - Don't Overbake
As with all baking, you just want to mix in the flour until it is fully combined with the liquids. Overmixing causes the gluten to bread down and will result in a tough-textured muffin. I use my Kitchen Aid for the wet ingredients, but often just mix the flour in by hand.
Overbaking is another sure way to get dry muffins. You kow these are done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Many bakers say never to cook your muffins more than 20 minutes. It may be because I use a baking stone, but I find these do need a few minutes longer than that in my oven. Test them at 18 minutes, and go from there.
Mini Buttermilk Spice Muffins
If you want to make smaller muffins, they will take 12-15 minutes. I love to make a big batch of mini muffins and put them in the freezer. They are so nice to have on hand for an easy breakfast! Just heat in the microwave for 30 seconds, or so when you are ready to eat them!
Buttermilk Spice Muffins
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp table salt
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 tbsp butter, softened or 2 tbsp butter + 2 tbsp canola oil
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup flour
- ¾ tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsp cold salted butter, cut into small pieces
- ¼ cup chopped pecan pieces, optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with paper muffin liners.
- In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs until fluffy and pale in color. Add in sugar and butter, and continue beating for 1-2 minutes. Add in buttermilk and vanilla and mix well.
- Add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined, where no flour remains.
- Scoop batter into muffin liners, filling about ⅔ full.
- Mix together streusel sugars, flour, and spices together. Cut butter in with a pastry cutter. If you do not have a pastry cutter you can use your hands to combine it into the sugar mixture, until it is pea-sized crumbs. Stir in nuts, if using.
- Scoop a heaping tablespoon onto the top of each muffin.
- Bake for 18-23 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.