Thursday, June 9, 2011

Hazelnut muffins.

When I ordered the book for this cake there was a second equally exciting book in the package. Baking with whole grains. In a country with no whole grains available.
Yeah, well.
If you cannot get it, take it with you. And so I did. I bought a pound of teff flour (the most uncommon and therefore exciting flour), put it in my suitcase and went to Jordan thinking: If I like it (the new, unknown flour) enough, I can always ask a visitor to bring me more.

The recipes for teff flour are limited to five. I have made two so far and loved both. First I made the graham crackers. They taste great. But I forgot to add the cinnamon sugar. My husbands kids loved them anyway. I loved them too. Not too sweet, with some crunch and some spice.
I do not know how they would hold up to the original because graham crackers don't exist where I come from.

Hazelnut muffins.

Next up I made hazelnut muffins. Sweet little hazelnut muffins with a distinctive flavor that I cannot really put my finger on. I guess, though, that it comes from the teff flour. Because when I took a sniff of the flour it smelled similar. Nutty in a way, reminding me of molasses.
This recipe does not make sense if you don't have access to fancy organic food shops and are willing to shell out a few bucks for a gluten free flour from Ethiopia.
But it's worth it. Promise.

I take one issue with this book in general and I will blame possible future failures on this: The measurements aren't metric. I know that Americans cook and bake by volume and often don't even own a scale. But. Yes, but. Measuring flour with a cup is so imprecise. The way you scoop, if you pack the cup or not. Was your flour sifted or not. A scale is much more precise.
(But of course, I didn't weigh my flours when I made these. It would have been too good.)

Hazelnut muffins.

Can you see all the hazelnuts? They will brown as they bake. That's very good thing.

Hazelnut Muffins
Recipe adapted from "Good to the Grain"

4 ounces (1 stick, 115grams) unsalted butter
1/2 cup raw hazelnuts, skin on, chopped roughly
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 raw hazelnuts, skin on, chopped finely
1/4 cup sugar (MM: I would reduce the amount of sugar next time. I had more muffins to top  but it felt like a huge amount on each muffin. And it's really not necessary.)
1 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Dry mix
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup teff flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Wet mix
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup plain yogurt (MM: Because buttermilk isn't available where I live, I used 1 cup yogurt and 1/2 cup milk)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

A muffin tin, lined with paper cups or buttered.

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C. Place the butter with the hazelnuts and the salt in a small pan and cook over medium heat until the nuts start to turn golden brown. Remove from the pan from the heat before they get too brown, as they will continue to cook in the hot butter. Set aside to cool.

2. Stir together the finely chopped hazelnuts, sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon in a small bowl and set it aside.

3. Mix the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Whisk the wet ingredients in an separate bowl until thoroughly combined.

4. Pour the hazelnut butter over the dry ingredients then add the wet ingredients. Using a spatula, mix the the wet and dry ingredients together.

5. Scoop the batter in the prepared cups, using a spoon or an ice-cream scoop. The batter should be mounded above the edges of the cups. Sprinkle the hazelnut topping evenly over the batter, pressing it into the batter to adhere.

6. Bake for 22 to 26 minutes (mine baked for 22minutes), rotating the pans halfway through. They are ready when the hazelnuts are toasted and the muffins smell nutty. Remove from the oven and the pan to avoid them getting soggy.

The muffins are best eaten warm from the oven as they will lose some of their crunch when sitting around, but will keep for up to 2 days in an airtight container.

The recipe advises to use muffin tins with a 1/3 cup-capacity which I don't have. My tins are smaller which is the reason I got 13 instead of 10 muffins.

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