Sunday, April 9, 2017

ChezCindy: Baking with Whole Grains

Raspberry Walnut Whole Grain Muffins

Baking with whole grain flours has been an exploration for me over the past few years.  A close friend of mine has a bit of a gluten intolerance, so I have taken an interest in discovering new ways to bake gluten free.  For my own preference, I like to incorporate whole grains in my baking to raise the health factor, while not taking away from the flavor and texture. 

There are more and more cookbooks available from the masters in this field from which I have learned, along with my own recipe experimentation.  Alice Medrich, a favorite cookbook author of mine, has a beautiful cookbook titled Flavor Flours, dedicated entirely to baking with wheat flour alternatives.  This book is truly a gift for those seeking gluten free options.  Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce is another great cookbook.  Kim's book provides recipes for baking with alternative flour profiles, blended with all-purpose flour.  A recent publication by Martha Stewart, A New Way to Bake, focuses on using whole grain flours with updated ingredients.  This book also includes a handy reference guide explaining different flours, fats and sweeteners. 

Spelt flour and millet flour have become my go-to flours when swapping out for all-purpose flour.  When a recipe calls for 1 cup of white flour, I substitute 1/2 cup of spelt or millet for 1/2 cup of the white flour.  Easier to find is whole wheat flour, to which you can do the same substitution.  I also like the flavor of buckwheat flour and oat flour, but substitute these to a smaller ratio.  Many of these flours can be found in the bulk food section of high-end grocery stores or prepackaged on store shelves. 

Raspberry Walnut Whole Grain Muffins
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup millet flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/4 cups buttermilk (or whole milk)
2 large eggs
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
1 cup fresh whole raspberries
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3/4 cup toasted walnuts
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 375.  Prepare large muffin pans: lightly grease the muffin cups with spray oil or line with paper liners.  Recipe makes 15-18 large muffins.

Working with the dry ingredients, sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger into a large bowl.  Add the sugars, stirring to combine. 
Melt the butter, allow to cool slightly.  Add the tablespoon of sugar to the raspberries, gently stir to coat the berries.  Toast and chop the walnuts.
In a second bowl, mix together the wet ingredients: whisk the buttermilk, eggs, and melted butter to combine.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.  Stir all to combine.  Fold in the sugared raspberries and toasted walnuts.
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling roughly 3/4's full.  Bake for 20 - 25 minutes until the muffins have risen and the tops are lightly browned.  Remove from oven.  Allow the muffins to cool in the baking pan for roughly 15 minutes.  Remove each muffin from the pan, place on a tray to fully cool before storing.

No raspberries available?  You can be creative with the base recipe, swapping in other berries such as blueberries or cranberries.

Serve for brunch or a light afternoon snack with fruit and tea. 

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