I’ve never really been a muffin-for-breakfast kind of girl. Oats– yes, multi-grain bread– yes, yogurt and fruit- yes please, croissants- oh, well I really shouldn’t but maybe just this once. Eating a muffin for breakfast has always struck me as rather a strange thing- like doughnuts. Muffins and doughnuts are sweets- the things you eat at tea-time or you at least have the decency to wait until elevenses for. Before that and my mind just boggles. Like raiding the biscuit tin and calling it breakfast on the go- wickedly fun, perhaps but sensible no.
It’s confusing times like these when I’m reminded that despite my adoption of many Americanisms (eating with just a fork, walking on the right, sticking one finger up at traffic rather than two) I remain quintessentially very English. Especially when it comes to matters of food.
I confess I am yet to find pleasure in the likes of a street side hot dog, or nachos with fake cheese at the cinema, oh and I recently discovered that iced coffee makes me retch. Of all things American though, what I cannot get my head around, utterly refuse to get my head around is muffins for breakfast. Until today. Well, sort of.
Today, I made muffins with buckwheat flour- they are speckled with poppy seeds peppered with cinnamon and ever so plain. That’s plain not dull or flavourless, mind. No, perhaps plain really is the wrong word. They taste of what they’re supposed to- of buckwheat and poppy seeds with a hint of cinnamon and the warmth of brown sugar- plain and simple. Oh, geez- can anyone help me with a word other than plain here? They are the kind of muffins that demand to be cut in half and sandwiched with a sharp slab of cheddar. At tea time they are quite a different beast. They want to be lavished with a mixture of brown sugar and sour cream- tart and complex sweetness blended in holy matrimony.
If ever a muffin was warranted permission to be served at an English breakfast table then I believe it would be this one. Not because of the plain part because we all know that English food has leaped heaps and bounds from its past reputation. In any case I adapted the recipe from one of Dorie Greenspan’s– a most reputable American baker. So, one could hardly call these English.
This was however, no easy task. The first batch I made turned out dry- crumbly even. So, I made a few adjustments- an extra egg and swapping the milk for sour cream. Abrahkadabarah! A moist delicate crumb- and one that tastes even better the next day. They have very little sugar- 4 oz to be exact divvied up between a dozen. What? Did you think I was going to eat a sweet muffin for breakfast? Brown sugar has so much more depth in flavour than white- and I think you’ll find these have plenty, especially if you serve them with the topping. Plus, I’m saving my sugar cravings for these or I have to say I rather fancy the look of these. At more appropriate times, mind.
This recipe is to be entered into the Bloggers Secret Ingredient competition- head over to The Sophisticated Gourmet to see the line-up on Sunday!
Buckwheat & poppy seed muffins served with brown sugar and sour cream
The flavour of these muffins relies heavily on the buckwheat and brown sugar combination and without it I think you’ll find yourself quite disappointed- If you do decide to just use plain flour- at least add some lemon and orange zest to jazz them up. N.B none of these pictures show the brown sugar and sour cream- sorry I forgot.
Diet Facts: Absolutely superb for breakfast
140g/1 cup plain flour
140g/1 cup buckwheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
100g/ 1/2 tightly packed cup light brown soft sugar
125ml/ 1/2 cup canola oil (vegetable is fine)
2 eggs, at room temperature
200ml/ 3/4 cup sour cream (full fat please, fat is our friend)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp poppy seeds
1 225g/8 oz tub sour cream
50g/ 1/4 cup tightly packed light brown soft sugar
1/ Heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6 and make sure that the rack is in the middle of the oven. Either grease 12 muffin cups or line with papers OR use a silicone muffin tin as I did and do nothing.
2/ Whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in the sugar, making sure that it’s not lumpy.
3/ In a separate bowl mix together the oil, eggs, sour cream and vanilla.
4/ Add the liquid ingredients and the poppy seeds to the flour mixture and quickly fold in (no stirring, please)- you may have lumps but do not try to beat them out or you will have tough boots for muffins and you will be thoroughly disappointed.
5/ Use an ice cream scooper to evenly fill the muffin cups and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until they spring back to touch. Do not over-bake or they will dry out. Note, I used a silicone muffin tin which seems to cook faster so keep an eye on them.
6/ To serve (at tea-time) mix together the brown sugar and sour cream and let sit for 10 minutes until the sugar dissolves. Give another stir and then dollop on to the muffins or toast first and dollop second.
For sweeter muffins you may like to try one of these