Monday, June 13, 2011

Millet Muffins

I recently bought a bundle of millet from the bulk section without any clear plan of what to make. I've been interested in trying a wider variety of grains lately — especially as this beautiful book made the blog rounds. Millet is a new one to me and after making this recipe I plan to experiment with it a lot more.  

The kitchn has a great page about millet. It explains that it is an ancient seed that's a staple for about one-third of the world population today, though here in the U.S. and much of Western Europe it has been demoted to bird and livestock feed. It's extremely nutritious, great for those with gluten allergies and is easily digestible and soothing to the stomach. 

There are many varieties of millet but the kind most often found here is yellow proso, which is what I used for these delicious muffins. I debated between three different recipes. I was particularly keen on trying Heidi Swanson's version, but didn't have enough honey on hand. I liked that the millet was slightly crushed in this version, but was too lazy to take that extra step. And so I landed on this version from the Metropolitan Bakery in Philadelphia. The millet provides a distinct texture and crunch that I just love and the batter has wonderful flavor with a mild sweetness. These are best eaten the day they are made, though slathered with a fresh bit of strawberry jam on the second day is equally worthy. 

Crunchy Millet Muffins
Adapted from Slash/Food

2 cups all-purpose flour 
1 1/4  teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup millet, lightly toasted and cooled
3 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

Preheat over to 350º F with rack in middle of oven. Toast the millet by spreading it out on a cookie sheet and baking it for 10-12 minutes. Every three or four minutes, take the pan out and give it a careful shake, to make sure that every kernel of millet gets toasted evenly.

Raise oven temperature to preheat to 375º F. Butter 12 muffin-pan cups or use paper liners.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Stir in millet. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla.

In the bowl of a mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar until well-combined and somewhat fluffy. At low speed, add the flour mixture alternately with the egg mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Take care not to over mix.

Spoon batter evenly into the prepared muffin-pan cups. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until a wooden skewer comes out clean. Cool for five minutes and then remove from pan and continue to cool on a wire rack.

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