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In addition to packing beef jerky for our backwoods vacation on the lake, I went on a mini baking spree. Oatmeal bars made an appearance, only with dried fruit in lieu of chocolate (a better choice for this recipe). Spiced banana bread also found its way with us, but that’s for a future post. I also used this recipe from Gourmet magazine to make whole wheat berry muffins, mostly as a way to use up the miscellaneous berries that were expiring in the refrigerator.

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I made minimal changes: assortment of berries instead of only blueberries, slightly less sugar than called for, and omission of sugar topping. Recipe:

1 3/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup sugar (I used slightly less, and I think you could even cut it in half for something even more breakfast-friendly and healthy)
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 large egg
1/2 cup whole milk (next time I will substitute with lower-fat milk or milk substitutes)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (I may swap for coconut oil next time around if I use a milk substitute)
1 1/2 cups assorted berries (fresh or frozen)

1. Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle. Butter muffin pan.
2. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl, then whisk in zest.
3. Whisk egg in another bowl, then whisk in milk and butter. Add to dry ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined (batter will be dense). Fold in berries. Divide batter among muffin cups.
4. Bake until a wooden pick inserted into center of muffins comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool in pan 5 minutes, then unmold onto a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Here’s a spin on these Pumpkin Chocolate Cranberry Muffins, sans cranberries. I doubled the recipe and froze half to send to my brother, who is serving in Afghanistan in the USAF; the other half I froze and will send with my boyfriend, who will be away in DC for a month of lectures.

I used whole wheat pastry flour, which will boost the fiber and nutrient content, but still yield a tender crumb. I also used less honey than the previous recipe. Note: I didn’t have buttermilk, so I combined skim milk with 1 Tbsp of white vinegar.

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup honey
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 Tbsp canola oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, spice, and salt and whisk.
3. In a small bowl, combine honey, pumpkin puree, buttermilk, oil, vanilla and egg and whisk.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
5. Stir in the chocolate chips.
6. Divide the batter evenly among muffin cups (standard 12).
6. Bake for 14-17 minutes, rotating halfway, until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean when inserted.

Notes: Unfortunately, the sides and bottoms got too brown. Next time: reduce heat to 350 F. Also, increase honey back to 1/2 cup. Though I don’t want an overly sweet muffin (nice excuse to have it for breakfast), I feel like it needed a boost. Maybe not. Needs more work!