My daughter has made these several times lately, and they are very, very good. She DOES add vanilla to the batter, uses butter instead of oil, and replaces the white sugar with brown and Demerara (raw washed cane sugar)sugars, both in the batter and in the topping. She also sometimes uses a spice mix from Pampered Chef called Cinnamon Plus which contains nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, orange peel, and cloves, in the topping. Contrary to one reviewer's comment, who felt the vanill dadin't make a difference, the vanilla doesn't come through as making the muffin taste like a vanilla cake, true, but it definitely DOES perk up the other flavors, rather the way a pinch of salt does, or the way vanilla is essential in many chocolate recipes. Just because you cannot taste it doesn't mean it hasn't made a difference. I'm sure they're terrific even without these changes, but they are fantastic with them. Oh, and she makes 12 muffins with this same recipe, and bakes for 18-20 minutes, and they're perfect.
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My daughter has made these several times lately, and they are very, very good. She DOES add...