Pretty Crumby Muffins

Buttermilk Crumb Muffins. They sound good, don’t they? But, there are two reasons why I have always passed this recipe by when I saw it in Baking with Julia.

One, the recipe uses shortening. Seriously, in a muffin? Aside from being just plain bad for you, I always associate shortening with greasy blandness. I only have it in the house because a little does help sometimes in pie crust, and it also lends a unique texture to snickerdoodles. Other than that, I try to avoid it.

Secondly, the recipe uses two cups of sugar for 14 muffins. That’s just crazy, too. I like sugar and all, but it just seems like overkill to use that much sugar in a muffin.

Well, I am committed to making all the recipes in this book, so I did make it. I decided that I could live with the sugar, but I could not deal with the shortening. I substituted butter for that.


They came together very easily; just stir everything together basically.


I may have overfilled my muffin tins a bit and I think it may have helped if I had let the batter sit for a few minutes before baking. The tops were really flat and not all that attractive, which is why I am showing you so many pictures of them upside down.


Plus, I sorta liked the way they looked when I turned them out of the pan. They were nice and golden and had a great fluffy texture.


The boys loved them. The husband and I thought they were too sweet. Additionally, I thought they were kind of boring. Now, 17 years ago, as a newleywed, I would have been thrilled with these muffins, as I was with everything I made out of the Fannie Farmer Cookbook, but now, I guess my tastes have changed. I wished for some blueberries or citrus, something that would make this muffin more than just sugar and fluff. The husband suggested that some bran would be good. I don’t know if I would like that, but at least it would be different.

In any case, and I think this is the first time I have said this about any recipe I have made from Baking with Julia, I will not be making this again. I just think there are better muffin recipes out there.

If you want to try them, you can find the recipe here.

Posted on November 6, 2012, in Baking, Recipe reviews, Tuesdays with Dorie, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. I don’t think this recipe won over too many of us. I like that you used butter – totally wish I had done that.
    The color on your muffins is lovely – both upside down and rightside up 🙂

  2. I too think these recipe would be good with some additions to it, and I definitely used butter. The tops were bound to come out a bit flat. I think you made great muffins!

  3. Have you tried baking with coconut oil yet? I made a pumpkin bread with it-it worked well! Apparently it’s a great replacement for butter and shortening.

  4. I was surprised by the shortening myself. I always expect that in pie crust.

  5. Cool upside down shot 🙂 Yes, this was a basic recipe. It would be good with anything that you have handy and enjoy in muffins.

  6. I like your upside-down shots – very cool. I used butter in place of shortening too and really enjoyed the simple but yummy taste of these. I don’t know if I’ll make them again as is though – I think you might be right in saying that there are probably better muffin recipes out there or that some additions might make them more interesting.

  7. Haha they look cool upside down! But yeah I agree, they weren’t spectacular.

  8. I think your Buttermilk Crumb Muffins look wonderful – upside down and right side up! They have a great warm color and the tops look great! And I agree that these were muffins that children really seem to enjoy, a bit on the unexciting side, will not really make a reappearance but good nonetheless. Have a wondergul week!
    P.S.: I really like your Cookie Dough Project! I find that very inspiring!

  9. Yours have come out just like the book photographs!! while they were nice.. i agree.. they were a bit boring!!

  10. Yeah, these were kinda bland for me. I wish I’d used butter instead of shortening if only because I think it might have helped improve the flavor. As it was, they looked pretty, but I’d rather have something that tastes good!

  11. I think your muffins turned out great! I used one cup less sugar, and used butter – still not much flavor. Too bad because these were easy.

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