I probably shouldn’t be writing this post at the moment. I have a pint of Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout sitting next to me and who knows what babble may come out of my fingers. Alas, it’s really, really cold outside, and when it’s this cold, I always crave Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout. For whatever reason, it has become a long-standing tradition with me. Something about the dark, creamy just slightly sweet flavor subdues even the most biting of winds. That and cozy socks. Another reason to be drinking yummy beer tonight? It’s our first night of our little vacation. Tomorrow we head west to Oceanside to snuggle up in our little cabin on the beach. So tonight I write….with beer…
This morning I got up early to tidy up the house and, more importantly, to bake muffins. I wanted Adam and I to have heathy-ish hit-the-road breakfast so I turned to Kim Boyce’s Good to the Grain, as I always do, for baking inspiration. And Kim never lets me down. What could be more healthy than molasses bran muffins with amaranth flour? Exactly.
As usual, I tweaked the recipe here and there, mostly because I wanted to use what I had on hand. That really is one of my favorite challenges. Reading a recipe and working out how it might work with ingredients that I have on hand. But I digress. Blame the beer.
Kim’s recipe calls for a prune puree that you make by simmering it with freshly squeezed orange juice. I didn’t have any prunes, but I did have frozen blueberries. Intriguing, no? I also had a couple of blood oranges and a pink navel orange lying around, so I used those for my juice.
These muffins turned out perfect. I was a little nervous about the blueberry substitution, especially since, as we know, I don’t always succeed with substitutions in baking (see Apple Tartlet…fail) but, to my pleasure and surprise, it worked! They were perfectly moist, lightly sweet and nutty, and with just the right amount of fluffiness.
If you haven’t picked up Good to the Grain, by the way, DO IT. You will not be disappointed. Did I mention that my copy is signed by Kim?
OK, I hope this slightly tipsy post was mildly entertaining for you to read. If not….blame the beer….
Adapted from Good to the Grain
What you’ll need~
1 cup orange juice from about 3 oranges
1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
1 1/2 cups oat bran
1/2 cup amaranth flour
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
2 tablespoons rapadura sugar, or dark brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2-teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups coconut milk, or buttermilk
3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
Zest from one orange
First, make your blueberry puree. In a small saucepan, bring blueberries and orange juice to a boil. Turn off heat, cover, and let steep for 30 minutes. Pour steeped blueberries and juice in a blender and blend until smooth.
Preheat your oven to 350.
Sift all of the dry ingredients is a medium bowl and set aside.
In a small saucepan, gently warm your coconut or buttermilk. In a small bowl, whisk all of the wet ingredients together with 1/2 cup of your blueberry puree.
Stir your wet mixture into your dry mixture until well blended.
Either butter your muffin tins or use paper muffin cups and spoon batter into the cups. Batter should just barely be mounded above the edge of the tin. Sprinkle with oat bran and nutmeg.
Place muffin pan in oven and bake for 30-35 minutes rotating it halfway through.
Remove muffins from tin and place on their sides to cool. Placing muffins on their sides will help to prevent the muffins from getting soggy as the cool.
Serve with blackberry jam and earl grey tea.