Last night, for dinner, I made blueberry muffins.
Well, that's not completely fair to say. I did make blueberry muffins for my dinner, but my husband deemed that unacceptable and instead ate leftover roast chicken [from a lovely dinner party with our new neighbors] and a bowl of wheatberry salad that I wouldn't touch due to my aversion to beets. I had no idea I didn't like beets. I wish I did, they are so colorful and lovely.
A few months ago, I received a beautiful book called The Green Market Baking Book. Now, at the time, I didn't know much about natural sweeteners or whole grains. After all, I am solely dedicated to white flour, white sugar baked goods. And really, that's fine. But not all the time. So I've been trying to venture out a bit, I've started shopping at the Common Market on occasion, my cabinet now boasts a natural foods shelf [wheatberries, farro, sweet brown rice, millet, French lentils, and a small bag of juice-sweetened jelly beans] and thus far, I've been wonderfully surprised.
But this particular cookbook arrived before I started doing my natural foods research, so I didn't give it much thought until now. [I spent a few weeks convincing myself that incorporating more natural foods into our diet wouldn't make me a tree-huggin' hippie.] At the time, I didn't quite see its appeal. After all, I didn't have brown rice syrup in my cabinet and for me, that was enough excuse to hold off on exploring the book. But a few nights ago, the recipe for blueberry muffins called to me, and I could no longer resist its charm.
I added a bottle of brown rice syrup to my basket at the Common Market, set up my mixer, and set to work. The original recipe also calls for maple syrup, but we only had strawberry flavored and I didn't think that would fly, so I used honey instead. While the batter was smooth and soft as a cloud, I was a touch concerned at the taste - it was barely sweet, completely unlike almost every other muffin I've ever had. But I stood strong, crumbled a cinnamon-sugar streusel over the top of each one, popped it into the oven and waited.
Let me tell you what happens, friends. The muffins bake up into perfect little domes, their caps crunchy and crystallized with cinnamon bits and pieces, the insides are so tender and moist I dare call it dreamy. The crumbly topping makes all the difference, so I beg you not to skip it, the sweetness and crunch are the perfect contrast to the blueberry-splotched batter underneath.
With a cup of steaming hot coffee and a smear of sweet butter, it was a sweet relief from my daily granola mornings. Happy breakfast.
Adapted from The Green Market Baking Book, by Laura C. Martin