Summer means berry special baking
BY MEERA LESTER
Learning to bake at the hem of my grandmother’s apron on her Missouri farm provided me with hours of pleasure as a child, especially during berry season. In her rustic kitchen, she kept the flour in the bin of a hammered tin cabinet where she had immediate access to it for her made-from-scratch pie crusts, cakes, cookies, breads, biscuits, and muffins. In summer, we would wait until my grandfather left for the fields before she and I would head out with a galvanized bucket to pluck the ripest berries we could find.
Now my twin granddaughters and I have put a modern twist on an old recipe. Our version of Grandmother Rose’s muffin features sweet fruit packed with antioxidants, as well as the wholesome goodness of vitamins and fiber found in ten healthy grains: wheat, rye, triticale (a hybrid between wheat and rye), millet, oats, brown rice, barley, corn, soy beans, oat bran, and flaxseeds. Drizzled with a lemony white glaze, the muffin becomes the perfect summer breakfast or picnic treat, especially on our patriotic holidays.
Ten-Grain Red, White, and Blueberry Muffins
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup Bob’s Red Mill 10-grain cereal
2 tablespoons baking powder
¾ cup sugar
A pinch of salt
4 eggs, slightly beaten
½ c. milk
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons organic honey
1 ½ cups fresh blue and red berries or an equal amount of frozen mixed berries that have been rinsed but not completely defrosted. (Note: gently fold in berries so as not to discolor the batter).
Heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat the top of the muffin tin top with cooking spray before inserting baking cups (in case of spill over).
Combine all dry ingredients on a large plate and then sift together into a large bowl. When only grains remain in the sifter, pour the grains to the bowl of dry ingredients and stir to combine.
Stir the eggs, milk, butter, and honey into the dry ingredients; do not overmix.
Carefully fold in berries and spoon the batter into muffin tins lined with baking cups. Fill any empty muffin tin cups half full with water. Let the muffins rest for 8 minutes in the baking tins.
Place the filled muffin tins on the shelf in the upper third of the oven and immediately reduce heat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes until the muffins are golden brown.
Remove the tins from oven and the muffins from the tins. Allow the muffins to cool.
Yields 15 to 16 large muffins.
Make the Glaze:
Beat together 1 1/4 cups sifted powdered sugar with 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice. Spread the tangy-sweet glaze over the cooled muffins. To store, place in an airtight container.
Meera Lester is the author of the Henny Penny Farmette cozy mystery series that includes A Beeline to Murder and The Murder of a Queen Bee (coming October, 2016) from Kensington Publishing. Chocked full of homespun sayings, gardening tips, and delicious recipes, her mysteries are full of charm. Meera blogs about her farmette life on http://hennypennyfarmette.com.
Henny Penny Farmette’s Hot Tips for Cool Muffins
If you love bakery-style muffins like we do, here are two tips you can use to achieve super high, super-tasty, bakery-style muffins:
Tip #1 Let the dough rest before baking. After you mix your muffins, let the dough rest for up to an hour before slipping them into the oven. This “rest” period permits gluten created during mixing to relax and flour starch to absorb any liquid, which will then also contribute to the rise.
Tip #2 Start with a hot oven. You get that kind of a rise if you start with a really hot oven (425 degrees), place the muffins in the upper third of the oven, and then, as soon as you see them rise above the liner (about five to six minutes into baking), turn the temp to the stated recipe baking temperature. In the first few minutes of baking, steam produces a spring action that causes the dough to quickly rise.
For lots more farming and baking tips follow Meera on www.hennypennyfarmette.com