June 30, 2011

Good Morning Sunshine

I have a weakness for anything Heidi Swanson does.   I  am yet to make one of her recipes - be it from her blog or either of her cookbooks - that I didn't fall head over heels in love with.  She has the Midas touch with vegetarian food.

I also adore cornbread.  Crunchy bits of cornmeal between my teeth, oh so crumbly texture, slathered in butter and honey; sign me up.  So back in March, the lovely Miss Swanson posted a teaser PDF just before the release of her second cookbook.  I must have spent the next hour or so drooling (literally) on my keyboard, completely in awe of the six beautiful recipes and photographs it included; one of which were these millet muffins.  You better believe that once I snapped back to reality I was all over it, single minded in my task of making something - anything - from that preview.  Cabinets were scoured, shopping lists were made and shortly after these beautiful muffins came out of the oven.

Yes, millet.  It's not bird feed, it's delicious (HS has a millet fried "rice" recipe in Super Natural Cooking that's killer too).  Little crunchy balls that pop when you bite them, lightly nutty, and perfect in these muffins.  They're not quite cornbread, but they have a similar tang and crumb.  The lemon zest is my favorite addition, taking it from a nutty and wholesome breakfast, to one that has a bright lemon zing at the finish.  A little sunshine in the morning to wake you up.  I slathered them in a strawberry, champagne and rose petal jam from one of my favorite farmers' market vendors and it was a match made in heaven.

Millet Muffins
Adapted from Super Natural Every Day, Heidi Swanson

I did just a tiny bit of tinkering here, really, just a little.  Instead of just putting the millet in raw to the muffins, I toasted it in a skillet before adding it into the batter.  I like the depth that toasted grains have and it plays nicely with the flavor of whole wheat flour.  But do as you like, or just save yourself a bit of time and put it in raw.  I used whole milk yogurt, but I imagine a Greek yogurt would be a pleasant added tang.

1 dozen

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/3 cup millet, toasted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1 cup plain yogurt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup barely melted unsalted butter
1/2 cup honey
Grated zest and 2 tablespoons juice from 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 400F with a rack in the top third of the oven. Butter a standard 12-cup muffin pan or line with paper liners.

To toast the millet, heat a skillet over medium heat.  Add the millet and move it around the pan until it begins to smell nutty and reaches a light golden brown color, about 3 minutes.  Let cool.

Whisk together the flour, millet, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, eggs, butter, honey, and lemon zest and juice until smooth. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until the flour is just incorporated. Divide the batter among the muffin cups, spooning a heaping 1/4 cup batter into each one, filling it to a bit below the rim.

Bake for about 15 minutes, until the muffin tops are browned and just barely beginning to crack. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then turn the muffins out of the pan to cool completely on a wire rack.

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