It was an easy decision to bake up some raspberry walnut muffins as a special treat in late summer given the still bountiful crop of raspberries in my backyard garden in early September in upstate New York.
For Thanksgiving a few years ago, I posted a recipe for cranberry pecan muffins which tweaked a muffin recipe in the ever-handy cookbook, Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, and Ethan Becker (New York, NY: Scribner, 1997). I noted then (and still appreciate) the encouragement given in this reliable cookbook: “Remember that muffins invite substitutions and inventive flavoring, and that any coffeecake, quick loaf, or corn bread batter can be made into muffins as well” (p. 782).
This recipe for raspberry walnut muffins tweaks the earlier Thanksgiving season recipe for cranberry pecan muffins shared five years ago. This time around, I decided to use maple sugar (instead of maple syrup) which was available in the fantastic Bulk Food section of my local food co-op, the Honest Weight Food Co-op, with its 1,000 bins of bulk food. I also freshly grated nutmeg and cinnamon and used all purpose Farmer Ground whole wheat flour instead of a mixture of Farmer Ground whole wheat pastry flour and blue corn meal.
I am mindful of sugar consumption and avoid recipes which require too much sugar and alway avoid the use of white sugar. I usually substitute maple syrup or local honey for sugar. (Katie Webster in her wonderful cookbook, Maple- 100 sweet and savory recipes featuring pure maple syrup, reviewed on this website a few years ago, recommends that if a recipe “calls for 1 cup of white sugar, use 3/4 cup of maple syrup.” In addition, she suggests decreasing other liquids called for in a recipe by about 3 tablespoons per cup of maple syrup. This time around, since I used maple sugar, I did not need to reduce the amount of cultured milk I used in the recipe. And this recipe for six jumbo muffins uses only 1/2 cup of sweetener, instead of the 1 cup of white sugar specified in the Joy of Cooking muffin recipe. AND they were, far and away, more than sweet enough!
Raspberry Walnut Muffins (makes 6 large muffins)
Whisk together in a large bowl:
2 cups organic Farmer Ground whole wheat all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground organic nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground organic cinnamon
3/4 cup walnuts (broken up)
3/4 cup of raspberries
In another bowl, whisk together:
1 cup Maple Hill Creamery organic plain kefir cultured milk
1/2 cup of maple sugar
4 tablespoons sunflower seed oil
Add the “wet” ingredients to the flour mixture and mix until the dry ingredients are moistened but don’t overmix.
Divide the batter among the six muffin cups. I lined my beautiful Bennington Potters stoneware muffin pan with If You Care jumbo baking cups (certified compostable, unbleached and totally chlorine-free), which made for an easy clean-up.
Bake in an oven, preheated to 400 degrees. Since I was using maple sugar and not maple syrup, no need to slightly reduce the oven’s temperature from the 400 degrees recommended in Joy of Cooking. (Cookbook author Katie Webster, who notes that maple syrup may cause baked goods to brown more quickly, recommends decreasing the oven temperature by 25 degrees when substituting maple syrup for sugar.)
The Joy of Cooking cookbook also notes that muffin pan sizes vary, and baking times vary with them. For a jumbo muffin, after 25 minutes, check for doneness by inserting a toothpick in 1 or 2 of the muffins and if it “comes our clean,” the muffins are done.
Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from the pan. Delicious!
(If maple sugar is not available, use 3/4 cup of maple syrup and reduce the amount of milk to 3/4 cup and lower the oven’s temperature from 400 degrees to 375 degrees. At 25 minutes, check for doneness and be prepared to bake a little longer.)
(Frank W. Barrie, 9/9/21)