Until a few weeks ago, I hadn’t put a muffin recipe on here in about 2.5 years—it’s been even longer for cupcakes. If you had asked why, I would have said it’s because I hate cleaning muffin pans, which is the absolute truth. Too many corners for stuff to get stuck.And while muffin/cupcake liners are the obvious solution to that problem, there was another to contend with: I was not terribly confident in my base muffin recipe. But then I went and tested the crap out of my Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins and found a formula that works every time and can be adjusted easily without disaster and, well, I made you some Brown Butter Nutella Swirl Muffins. You’re welcome.You read that right: Brown Butter. Nutella Swirl. Muffins. Basically every good thing in the world in a handheld treat that is somehow suitable for consumption at breakfast.The recipe for these muffins has a few adjustments from the Lemon Poppy Seed version, but not many. Besides the obvious flavor difference, there’s a little more flour and I swapped some of the milk for sour cream, making the batter a little thicker so the Nutella swirls don’t sink.And speaking of Nutella swirls, they are applied in two phases. Basically, you add half the batter to the muffin cups, then swirl in some Nutella, then top with the remaining batter and swirl in remaining Nutella.Y’all, these are so good. The interiors are feather soft and the Nutella swirls make every bite extra decadent, as all things with Nutella should be. Also, there’s a little variance in each bite—you could have a little Nutella or you could have a lot! The brown butter is subtle, as it is in my Brown Butter Strawberry Shortcakes and Chocolate Chip Scones, but brings a little nuance that you wouldn’t get with regular melted butter. Not that making these will regular melted butter would ever be a bad idea.
Brown Butter Nutella Swirl Muffins
makes 12 muffins
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
1/4 cup full-fat sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup Nutella
Preheat oven to 400F. Line a 12-cup standard muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.
Brown the butter. Place butter in a light-colored saucepan over medium heat. Let butter melt. Butter will bubble and crackle as the water content evaporates. Swirl the pan frequently for 5-7 minutes, keeping an eye on the color. When the solids are turning brown and the butter is nutty and fragrant, remove the pot from the heat and immediately pour the brown butter into a small bowl.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a small-medium mixing bowl (or large measuring cup), whisk together brown butter, eggs, milk, sour cream, and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon just until combined—no more than 15-20 strokes.
Add 2 tablespoons batter to each muffin cup. Drop 1 teaspoon Nutella into each muffin cup and use a toothpick (or thin knife) to swirl it around. Divide remaining batter among muffin cups (about 1 1/2-2 more tablespoons each). Top each with another teaspoon of Nutella and swirl again. Muffin cups will be very full.
Carefully tap the pan on the counter a few times to release any large air bubbles. Bake for 5 minutes, then turn the oven temperature down to 350F and bake for an additional 14-15 minutes.
Remove muffins from the oven and let cool in the pan for at least five minutes before removing to prepared rack to cool completely. Serve. Leftovers will keep covered at room temperature for a couple of days, but may be refrigerated for up to 5.