Hazelnut and Maple Muffins

A few days back a dear friend and avid blog reader asked me to make these hazelnut sticks for her. I happily obliged and then a little too happily ate more than my fair share. Oops.

Anyway, eating those delicious crunchy hazelnutty treats made me realize how much I love the unadulterated flavor of hazelnuts and I wanted to capture that flavor in something quicker: muffins. Now I really like muffins, even the bottoms which is usually what I wind up with since my husband and daughter are unabashed muffin top fiends.

Hazelnut and Maple Muffins

I did some thinking and came up with this recipe, fully prepared for this to be round one of many, but lady luck was on my side and these muffins are sheer perfection. The soft flavor of the hazelnuts is beautifully complimented by that of the maple syrup. I know it seems like a lot of syrup, but as it bakes the flavor mellows. Also, as tempting as they are fresh from the oven you must let them cool completely before trying one. They are well worth the wait.

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Cardamom Crumb Muffins

I heart cardamom – in tea, traditional desserts, or even on it’s own. It occurred to me the other day that I don’t actually bake anything in which cardamom is the main ingredient. I add some to my baked oatmeal, but there it is part of an ensemble and does not shine alone. When I saw Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for Allspice Crumb Muffins I decided to adapt it slightly to fit the bill. My cardamom loving self may increase the cardamom next time, but my taste testers liked it as is.

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