The Flour Chronicles : 3

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After a relatively successful first batch of sourdough (made using the rye in my valentines day basket of interesting ‘flours’) I let the starter die. Was it the travel to Brisbane and back? Or the salt added too early? Perhaps my not discarding any of the starter as I fed it meant it didn’t stay fresh. Whatever it was, I’ve restocked up on rye flour and will need to begin the sourdough project again soon, my rudimentary success and the price of a decent sourdough loaf urge me on!

In the mean time, I had a go at using one of the other ‘flours’ this week. Millet flour. I did some Pintrest searching and mostly came up with gluten free bread loaves and flat bread recipes. I wanted to bake something that was good as a take-to-uni-or-to-work-as-a-healthy-snack rather than a loaf of bread so hunted around for a muffin or biscuit recipe. I found one but, as the recipe author suggested, found that millet flour can sometimes leave a bit of a funny aftertaste in your mouth. The muffin recipe was also very (very) dry. I actually felt mean sending it off to uni with my brother the other day (he was desperate for some extra things to nibble on). I needed to come up with an innovative way of using them up without wasting them … so I dreamed up a cross between energy balls and cake pops. ‘Muffin mouthfuls’ maybe? I give instructions below for how to turn mildly sweet muffins into little chewy morsels perfect for morning tea!

Ingredients:
12 unsweetened muffins (mine were millet based, and therefore gluten free, but I’m sure wheat/spelt/another type of gf would work. A for flavour, the ones I used had 1 cup of grated sweet potato in them but any flavour you like would work, just adjust added ingredients depending on moisture content of your muffins)
250-270g roasted sweet potato
4 1/2 Tbs date paste (this is the sweetener, feel free to add more, you’ll just need to add more ‘drying ingredients’*, see below, to compensate).
2 1/2 Tbs oat bran*
1 1/2 Tbs chia seeds*
1 1/2 Tbs psyllium husk*
2 Tbs cacao nibs

Method:
1. Bake the muffins up as per the recipe.
2. When cool, place them in the bowl of the food processor with half the sweet potato, pulse to combine. Add more sweet potato as needed, ideally the mixture will stop looking like bread crumbs and start looking like dough.
3. Add in the date paste, check sweetness.
4. Add in ‘drying’ ingredients and cacao nibs. Check texture. If wet, add more of your chosen ‘drying ingredient’, if dry, add a little more date paste.
5. Roll into balls and freeze till needed! I’m sure they could also be rolled in something tasty, perhaps cacao or coconut, cinnamon sugar … but I’m going to enjoy mine plain this time!

‘Back to school’ baking

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With school well and truly started for the year I thought I would quickly post this muffin recipe. Now I’m a little closer to home again, my go to book for muffin recipes is my mum’s copy of Diana Linfoot’s Muffin Magic – this is my variation on her Banana muffins recipe (p15). I love baking a batch of snacks and then squirrelling them away into the freezer for the moment when a packed lunch needs an extra special something or there is an emergency breakfast crisis. There they are, waiting only to be defrosted – just like magic! Terrible puns aside, the recipe worked really well – hope it might meet someone else’s packed school lunch snack needs!

Ingredients:
125g butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
3 medium bananas (1 1/2 cups)
1 cup self raising flour
1/2 cup coco
1/2 cup oat bran
1/3 cup white chocolate
1/3 cup pecans (+ a few extras to decorate)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 200oC.
2. Line the muffin pans with baking paper or muffin liners.
3. Blend the butter and sugar together before adding in the bananas and egg.
4. Add remaining dry ingredients and mix till just combined.
5. Transfer mixture to muffin pans and top each muffin with a half pecan.
6. Bake for 15-20 minutes or till cooked through and golden.
7. Enjoy as a snack straight away or freeze to use in lunch boxes thorough the week!

A new way to do Blueberry Muffins

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This recipe is slightly altered from one I found in Ros Dobson’s Wholefood Kitchen cookbook. Relatively low in fat and sugar (it is still a muffin recipe) it has lots of fibre and complex carbohydrates. I really like blueberries so it caught my eye. I also love that as I cooked it I learnt a new trick.Keep an eye out at step 5!

Ingredients:
250ml buttermilk
65ml ricebran oil
375g wholemeal flour
50g oatbran
1 heaped tablespoon baking powder
1 small green apple
200g frozen blueberries
1 egg
75g brown sugar
75g caster sugar

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C and line a muffin tray with muffin papers.
2. Combine the buttermilk and oil in a jug, set aside.
3. Choose a large mixing bowl and mix the flour, oatbran and baking powder together.
4. Wash and grate the apple (discard the core), add this to the flour mixture. Toss through the flour to coat the apple pieces (hands work well, probably better than a spoon)
5. This the the revolutionary step! Add the blueberries now. Coat them in the flour mixture too. This means they are encased in their own little flour barrier and, wait for it, do not turn your muffin purple! Amazing!!!
6. In a separate smaller bowl, beat the sugars and egg till thick and smooth. Combine this with the buttermilk and oil, again, beat till all ingredients are combined.
7. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, mix together only till all the flour has been incorporated, muffin mixture does not like to be over-worked
8. Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full of mixture and bake till golden and cooked through (about 20 minutes).
9. Enjoy as they are or with butter or cream cheese!

Muffins for breakfast

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A recipe I got at TAFE a few years ago for Blueberry Muffins. It is a melt and mix recipe, where the butter is melted so that there is no need to use an electric mixers (which makes it quite quick and easy). This is a good basic recipe that works even when you play with the ingredients a little (something I enjoy). I have used them for junior Food Tech classes for a few years (where they have been happily enjoyed) and, slightly poignantly, this particular batch were for a ‘good-bye’ breakfast held in that same Food Technology room. It was a special occasion so I added some chopped up chocolate to make them a bit more special.

Ingredients:
1 cup plain flour
3/4 cup wholemeal flour
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1/4 cup melted butter (55g)
3/4 cup buttermilk
150g frozen blueberries (using them frozen means that the mixture doesn’t have the chance to turn purple so quick!)
chopped chocolate to taste (maybe 125g)

Method:
1. Pre-heat oven to 190˚C.
2. Either line a muffin tin with muffin papers or use pretty thicker ones (see pictures) and put these on a baking tray.
3. Sift the dry ingredients (flours, baking powder and sugar) in a large bowl.
4. Melt the butter in the microwave (in a ceramic dish, covered in paper towel to save splattering). Allow to cool slightly so it does not cook the eggs when added at the same time!
5. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the eggs, melted butter and buttermilk. Stir till ingredients are just combined – try to not over stir.
6. Take the blueberries out of the fridge and add to the mixture (add chocolate here too if desired), again stir only till mixed through.
7. Fill the muffin cups to about 2/3 of their capacity.
8. Bake for about 20 minutes or till golden and the skewer comes out clean!

Enjoy as a quick and tasty breakfast (as my Year 8 students can hopefully tell you) or snack!