After a weekend of indulgence (read: maple-glazed ham, imported mortadella, burrata, homemade macaroni and cheese with bacon and broccoli, white wine, blueberry soda, Easter candy, lots and lots of Easter candy), I was craving something a bit more wholesome come Monday morning.
I decided to whip up a batch of whole wheat muffins; something that I could leave on the dining table and grab in the mornings to nibble on during my new 10-second commute from the bedroom to my home office. Something a little healthier than the cake that usually sits in that very same spot.
Like many of you, I've been itching to start baking with non-citrus, and though the berries and stone-fruit and rhubarb I'm waiting for are still months away, a freezer full of frozen berries on sale at Target proved just the thing to get me excited.
These muffins really are muffins. Not, as so many others end up being, cake in disguise. They are delicately sweet, not cloying, with a nubby, hearty crumb packed with fruit.
Made with a blend of whole wheat flours (regular whole wheat and whole wheat pastry for lightness), real molasses, blueberries, and almonds, they are perfect for breakfast, though also quite lovely in the evenings along with a mug of tea. My favorite muffins always have a bit of crunch on top, so I added a generous sprinkle of turbinado sugar and sliced almonds to these. They baked up golden brown with a perfect little crunchy top that gives way to the moist, nutty muffin within.
I gave one of these to Eugene, who always grumbles when I pull out the whole wheat, and he ate it, quickly reaching for another.
"Not bad," he admitted.
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Whole Wheat Blueberry Almond Muffins
Makes 1 dozen
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (you can substitute regular pastry or all-purpose flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen (if frozen, do not thaw)
1 cup white granulated sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
3/4 cup whole milk
2-3 tablespoons turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw) for decorating
1/2 cup sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour a standard 12-cup muffin pan, or line with paper liners. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift together both flours, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt. Working over the bowl, toss blueberries in a fine sieve with about 1 1/2 teaspoons flour mixture to lightly coat (this will keep the berries afloat in your muffin, instead of letting them settle down to the bottom); set aside the flour mixture and the blueberries.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream your softened butter and 1 cup sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5-7 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating each one thoroughly until completely combined before adding the next. Mix in vanilla and almond extracts.
Remove bowl from mixer and use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to gently stir in the reserved flour mixture and milk, alternating until it's all incorporated. Only mix until no dry spots remain; resist the urge to overmix.
Gently fold in the blueberries. Divide batter evenly among 12 standard size muffin cups. Sprinkle almonds and turbinado sugar generously on each of the muffins, covering the tops completely.
Bake until muffins are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center of one muffin comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature