Please forgive me ahead of time for the shortage of photographs of these nutty + sweet little muffins I made for breakfast the other morning but the truth is that we had gobbled the, all up before I realized just how worth-sharing they were.
I’d been longing for something just like this for breakfast; a satisfying something that would fill the early morning kitchen with all those good smells, and break my almond butter + banana bagel w/sea salt routine.
Every night for the past weeks I’ve gone to bed intending to wake up early and bake fresh for breakfast but when I would wake up in the morning, I’d become consumed with the days’ to-do list. In the evenings, when I could prep the ingredients, it seems I’d all but forgotten just how little interest one has in cooking up something for themselves after they’ve already spent a day in the kitchen. This summer, that feeling of cooking/eating exhaustion has come over me, reminding me of my days at Providence in Los Angeles when it was quite normal for me to be eating cereal for dinner at 3am when I had plated the last 8-course dessert tasting menu for the night and had made it back home, at last.
There are lots of reasons cooks feel this way, I’m sure. Anyone whom has made an entire Thanksgiving meal from scratch can tell you that after spending all that time around food, looking, feeling, touching, tasting it you actually are FED (even if your eyes and hands have done more eating than your mouth.) The second is that as much as cooks love the kitchen, and creating in it, it isn’t all that satisfying to literally spend all day in there. Inside, cooped up, not sitting down to drink a glass of wine or read a book. The last, and this is personal, is that my professional kitchen is also my home kitchen so, sometimes, when my work is done for the day its less about not wanting to cook and more about not wanting to mess up the pristine workspace I’ve just cleaned. Or, because, lately, I haven’t been able to get away from the various bags of different and exciting flours I seem to have tucked into all corners of the pantry, freezer and cookbook walls that border the range. My messy, short hair always seemed to have flour in it this summer, and my hands were constantly dry from feeling it, working with it, and washing it away.
The most disappointing part about this feeling of disinterest is that, having spent all day concocting, tweaking, playing with different ingredients and thinking about food, I feel more creative in a culinary sense than one ever could be just by reading food magazines, blogs, or cookbooks. And so, instead of whipping up something whimsical from the to-cook list I create in my head, whatever I’ve been working on for the day (or the week, or the month) stays on my palate.
But this week, the project that I’ve been working on all summer with Skratch Labs has crested a tremendous milestone and I found a day or so where I didn’t HAVE to be in the kitchen unless I wanted to be. The first day or so, this was luxurious and we *may* have eaten from the Whole Foods hot bar for each meal. But by the second day, I found that in those times of day when I would have ordinarily been covered with flour and butter, scribbling notes furiously in my sometimes-egg-stained notebook, I actually missed the kitchen. And so these muffins came to life.
The inspiration came from a little blog that I read often. I find their recipes to make easy, healthy, and straightforward good food and the photographs are lovely too. Take a peek if you have some time, or dive right into the recipe below. I think these sang to me particularly because of the possibility of muffin tops, crispy and crumbly to perfection, scented with spices that remind me of pancakes, and seem to grasp onto Indian summer while welcoming the first chilly sunrises of fall.
A few notes on the muffins themselves; carrots, berries, or even raisins would be delicious to add in here. Nuts make up for a quantity of these gluten free muffins and if you don’t have walnuts (as I used) you could employ whatever you have on hand. Make sure to bake the muffins until the granola topping is nice and golden brown as well. Two of these spread with almond butter (inescapable) was a nice hearty breakfast for me, and it wasn’t challenging to eat up 12 muffins between the two of us this week, but for a smaller crowd you might want to freeze half the batch as they make great snacks when rewarmed.
I’m eating the last muffins now, as we make our way across the Atlantic. I’m looking forward to having a bit of time to eat good things, to be inspired by new tastes when we land, as well as to have some time to write a bit about all the other good things that have been going on -both in and out of the kitchen – while we’re away. More soon, xo -l
- 100 g / 1 cup walnuts
- 85 g /1 cup rolled oats, use gluten free if intolerant
- 90 g / 2/3 cup buckwheat flour + 2 tbsp arrowroot (or potato starch)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp turmeric (use a little less if you are not used to the flavor)
- 1 tsp freshly ground cardamom
- a pinch black pepper
- 160 ml / 2/3 cup yogurt or buttermilk
- 80 ml / 1/3 cup walnut oil (or other light oil or butter)
- 2 ripe bananas, mashed
- 5 fresh dates, mashed
- 3 large eggs
- A handful of blueberries, fresh or frozen
- 1/3 cup rolled oats
- 2 tbsp walnut or coconut oil
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- Preheat the oven to 400°F / 200°C. Line a muffin pan with paper liners or grease the pan with oil or butter.
- In the bowl of a food processor or blender, combine the walnuts and oats and pulse quickly into a coarse flour. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add the rest of the dry ingredients, whisking to incorporate.
- Next, combine the yogurt, oil, bananas and dates in food processor or blender and mix until smooth, then transfer to the mixing bowl with the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, crack the eggs and beat them for about a minute before adding them as well. Carefully fold the batter together with a spatula to until combined.
- Divide the batter into the muffin tins and drop a few blueberries on top of each muffin and gently push them down a bit. Mix together the granola crumble in a small bowl and add it on top of the muffins. Bake for about 18-20 minutes. Best enjoyed still warm from the oven!