Maple almond muffins: a more sophisticated muffin

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        I get excited about almond extract. Pouring teaspoon after teaspoon of vanilla extract gets boring after a while. So, on the rare occasions when I break out the little bottle of almond deliciousness, measure out a spoonful, and smell that fabulous, sweet, nutty aroma…I’m in heaven. These muffins got me excited about almonds, maple syrup, and how fabulous they taste together!
        These maple almond muffins seem like a decadent morning pastry or even a dessert compared to what I usually bake. They include a not-too-sweet batter infused with almond extract and a rich filling made with ground almonds, cinnamon, and lots of maple syrup. The filling creates a layer of crunch and sweetness in the middle of the muffin and bubbles out of the top in occasional mapley spots.
        I could not wait for these to come out of the oven. I tried to distract myself by washing dishes but I kept looking at the clock to see if the time had run out yet. When they were finally done I made Lee have one with me, not that that took a lot of persuasion. We both agree, these are very good. They make me think of elegant brunches and smell so, so wonderful. I think I’ll try to keep the muffin baking smell trapped inside with me all day!
        I actually didn’t change anything about this recipe. Next time I would bake them for a little less time, as they stuck to the wrappers a bit.

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Maple Almond Muffins
From Horn of the Moon Cookbook by Ginny Callan

Muffins
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg, beaten

Filling
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup finely chopped or ground almonds
6 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a large bowl, mix flours, baking powder, and salt.
In a smaller bowl, combine egg, oil, maple syrup, milk, and almond extract.
For the filling, combine maple syrup, almonds, flour, cinnamon, and butter in a third bowl.
Next, add the liquid muffin ingredients to the dry ingredients.
Line a muffin pan with paper or silicon liners.
Spoon one tablespoon of muffin batter into each cup, followed by one tablespoon of filling.
Finish off with one tablespoon of muffin batter over the filling.
Optional: Sprinkle the top of each muffin with slivered almonds.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes (I would tend towards 15, especially if you have a dark colored muffin pan)

Enjoy with a mid-morning cup of tea!

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