In my brain there exists three categories for muffins. First, there are weekday muffins; a high fiber, low fat, low sugar, packed full of goodness, eat every day for breakfast as a part of a healthy diet kind of a deal. Next, there are what I call weekend muffins; still pretty good, but definitely more of a treat. Maybe we’ve added chocolate. Lastly, there are the kind of muffins that make me blue in the face jumping up and down on my soapbox mad because they’re cake. Cute little adorable cakes which should be referred to as such, or maybe, if you prefer, as cupcakes, but never, ever as muffins.
Now let met tell you something that drives me bonkers about the Swedish language: There is only one word for something that comes out of a muffin tin, whether it’s crammed full of fiber or filled with cream cheese and slathered with buttercream frosting. And that word? Muffin.
What does this mean for me? It means that I often engage in debates over semantics with small children who are insisting that a coffee shop cupcake IS an acceptable snack since I gave them a muffin at snack time just last week. It means that I get blank and baffled stares when a lovely lady offers me a carrot cake cupcake complete with cream cheese frosting and asks if I want a muffin and I say thanks, sweetie, but that’s not a muffin. It means that the name of this blog, and my plight, make no sense in this place where I live.
These muffins are teetering somewhere between a weekday and a weekend muffin. There is whole wheat flour and yoghurt and honey and healthful, crunchy millet. The sweetness, married with tangy orange and fragrant earl grey, is just barely there. The blend of all purpose and whole wheat flours is what I think is keeping me on the fence here, but here is what I propose: give them a good smear of butter and honey (orange honey butter?) and call them a weekend muffin, or keep them as is and don’t. I hope you give them a try.
Orange Earl Grey Muffins Recipe:
Toasting the millet brings out the amazing nutty flavour. Use a dry skillet, and don’t walk too far away, it can burn quickly. Once you start to smell the fragrance, it’s finished.
Makes 10 muffins.
4 Tbsp butter
5 Tbsp honey
2 earl grey tea bags (2 tsp ground earl grey tea)
1 cup plain yoghurt (I used 3.5%)
1/4 cup orange juice
1 Tbsp orange zest
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup millet, toasted
Set a small pan over medium heat and pour the millet in it. Allow it to toast, stirring frequently, until it has become lightly browned and is fragrant. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Combine butter, honey, and tea in a small sauce pan and set over medium heat until the butter is melted. Whisk together and set aside.
In a large bowl sift together the dry ingredients: all purpose and whole wheat flours, baking soda, and salt.
In a medium bowl mix yoghurt, egg, orange juice, and orange zest. Add slightly cooled butter mixture and whisk well to combine everything. Add the wet to the dry mixture and stir until just barely combined. Fold in the millet.
Spoon the muffin mixture into 10 prepared muffin tins. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes. Muffins should be puffed up and golden. Pop out of the tins and cool resting on their sides.
Serve warm, or room temperature.
Millet is a good source of manganese, phosphorous, and magnesium. Whole wheat flour, with the bran and germ intact, is a significantly better source of fiber and nutrients than all purpose flour, which has had those parts of the grain removed. Bear in mind that all purpose flour still makes up 50% of the flour in these muffins; we need to moderate. Honey is a beautiful natural sweetener which has antioxidant and antifungal properties. Did you know honey has been used as athletic fuel and as a healing agent for thousands of years? Be mindful of a couple of things: first, your honey is only as good as the plants providing the pollen. Don’t skimp on honey, buy the good quality locally produced stuff. Second, calories are still calories. Honey is a great alternative to sugar, but it is a sweetener no less. Again, we need to moderate. Yoghurt is a fabulous way to add moisture to your baked goods and can very often replace much of the fat. Yoghurt is a great source of calcium, vitamin B12, and protein, to name a few. The live bacterial culture is very beneficial for digestive health, however, the heat of baking will destroy that benefit in this case.
Do ahead: As always, these muffins can be tossed in the freezer once they have cooled completely. They’ll be good in there for a month, but don’t expect them to last that long.
All text and photos © The Muffin Myth 2012