Prep 20 mins
Cook 20 mins
The combination of Nougat (Praline Paste) and spices in this muffin is a bit unusual, especially the use of pepper. These muffins are not overly sweet, but they have a fluffy texture with a nougat cube as surprise in them. The cinnamon in here is balanced by cardamom and clove flavours. The pepper adds a hint of sharpness. These muffins make a wonderful change in advent season. Remark: in Germany Praline Paste is called Nougat and is widely used in Christmas bakery. It has a wonderful nutty flavour, is firm at room temperature, but melt easily.
- 7 ounces praline paste (solid, cut-able, see note)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 whole cloves
- 4 cardamom pods
- 6 black peppercorns
- 1 dash salt
- 2 ounces hazelnuts or 2 ounces almonds or 2 ounces walnuts
- 2 cups flour
- 2 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 egg
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1⁄2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup milk
- caster sugar
- Preheat oven (360°F, 180°C).
- Grease muffin cups and place the in the freezer until use.
- Cut from the praline paste (nougat) 12 cubes of about 1 inch. If there is praline paste (nougat) left, cut it into very small pieces. Put the 12 cubes into the fridge.
- Chop hazelnuts and roast them in preheated oven for about 5 to 10 minutes or until desired roasting is achieved.
- In a bowl mix flour, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
- Open the cardamom pods and put the cardamom seeds into a mortar. Add peppercorns, cloves and salt. Crush them very finely using a pestle. Add cinnamon and set aside.
- In a bowl mix butter and brown sugar until creamy. Add egg and mix well. Add milk and mix well. The sugar must be dissolved completely.
- Add the finely cut nougat and mix well. Add the roasted almonds and the cinnamon mixture and mix again.
- Add the flour mixture and mix only until blended. Do not overmix it.
- Divide batter equally among the prepared muffin cups. Place a nougat cube on each muffin.
- Bake for about 20 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. The nougat cube will sink into the batter during baking.
- Take muffins out of the oven and let cool for 5 minutes in the muffin cups. Then remove muffins from the cups and let them cool completely on a cooling rack.
- After the muffins are cooled out completely dust them with caster sugar.
- NOTE on spices: You can omit the black pepper, if you don't like the pepperiness in here.
- NOTE on praline paste: In Germany this is called nougat or nut nougat. At room temperature this is firm and can be cut. It is very difficult to make this on your own. If you can't get it, you could replace it by chocolate or some other nut/almond bars. The consistency should be that of chocolate at room temperature.
These are as wonderful as they look. One correction. Nougat, which is also use widely in Danish Christmas candy and baking is a Hazelnut paste, I searched high and low to find praline-paste, and when I finally though to look at box for store bought nougat, it said right on there. Well this will not be the last time I make these. Thanks Thorsten. Benthe