for the muffins
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups finely chopped pecans, divided
2/3 cup butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
for the frosting
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon maple extract
4 tablespoons maple syrup, divided
1/2 cup pecans for decorating (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a muffin tin with liners (Be forewarned: even with liners, there muffins may stick).
In your food processor, pulse 1 cup of the pecans to a fine meal, but not so that it becomes oily. Finely chop the remaining pecans. Then, in medium bowl, stir together brown sugar, flour, baking powder, salt and both pecan types.
In a separate bowl, beat the butter and eggs together. Stir in dry ingredients just until combined.
Spoon batter into muffin cups about 2/3 full. Bake for 17-19 minutes; note that they will look a little underdone and may not rise much at all. Let cool for 15 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.
In the meantime, prepare the buttercream. In the work bowl of your stand mixer, combine butter, maple extract and 2 tablespoons of the maple syrup. Slowly add in the confectioners sugar and whip until well combined and fluffy.
When the muffins are cooled, pipe the frosting on, drizzle with a little additional maple syrup and scatter a few pecans on to decorate.