Apple and pumpkin seem to get all of the love when people talk about fall flavors, and while I adore both of them, my absolute favorite has to be maple. Maple syrup, maple sugar, maple candy...the list goes on and on. Regardless of whether it's a sweet or savory dish, I can't help but want to find a way to add maple to it in the fall. When we were in Quebec this summer, we came across so many shops and stores with amazing assortments of maple products. Even the regular grocery store had a huge selection of maple goodies, I wanted to buy one of everything!
It was only a few years ago that I experienced pure maple syrup for the first time; growing up I'm pretty sure we always had pancake syrup. There really is no comparison in my book. Pancake syrup is cloying and lacking in any real maple flavor, and once you've had the real stuff, it's hard to go back. The only downside is that pure maple syrup is definitely more expensive but it's one ingredient I don't mind splurging on.
If you've been reading this site for a while you're probably familiar with my pancake obsession. And yes, the fact that they're a vehicle for maple syrup has a lot to do with that! So, all of that pancake goodness in a portable muffin form? It was bound to be a hit here.
These muffins include another of my favorite ingredients too - browned butter! Once baked, you poke holes in the tops of the muffins and then dip them in a sweet, syrup maple glaze. The glaze seeps down into the top quarter or so of the muffin and gives it that soft texture your pancakes get when you pour syrup on them. I was blown away by just how much the flavor of these replicated pancakes! A definite repeat for me this fall, probably with chocolate chips next time :)
Maple Syrup Pancake Muffins
slightly adapted from Joy the Baker
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup whole milk
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Preheat oven to 375 F and place a rack in the upper third. Line your muffin pan with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together. Set aside.
Add the butter to a small saucepan set over medium-low heat. The butter will melt then begin to bubble and foam. Eventually it will start to turn brown and smell nutty - be patient and watch carefully, it can go from brown to burned quickly. Once the butter is browned, remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool slightly while you prepare the rest of the batter.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, egg yolk, maple syrup and vanilla until well combined. Mix in the cooled brown butter until incorporated. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and gently stir just until combined.
Divide the batter evenly among the wells of the muffin pans, filling each about 2/3 to 3/4-full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the muffins cool for a few minutes before removing from the pan to the rack.
While the muffins bake, prepare the maple glaze: Combine the maple syrup and lemon juice in a small saucepan and set over medium-low heat. Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has reduced and is very thick and syrupy.
When the muffins are cool enough to handle, use a small fork or toothpick to make a few holes in the top of each one. One at a time, holding them by their base, invert the muffins and dip the tops of them in the maple glaze. Let the excess drip off then place back on the wire rack. Once you've dipped all of them once, start back with the first one and dip them all a second time.
These are really best on the first day they're made, but if you want to serve them a day or two later you can microwave them for 10-15 seconds first to recreate that warm pancake texture.
Makes 10-12 muffins