I had put together a truly delicious recipe to share for a roasted potato salad, but (per my new normal) got behind with things in the day-to-day and, alas, fall is here and potato salad seems to be yesterday's news. So I'll fix it up a bit for spring when we all start to picnic again and pass it along then.
We've squeezed in every last of our summer adventures and are settling in for a season of change.
This is my favorite time of the year, although admittedly, it's brief. I love the colors of fall, the crispy leaves and bite in the air, the promise of apples to pick and pumpkins in the patch. The darkness and drear follows far too close its footsteps, however, and I brace myself every year. But we will head back into the kitchen where there is warmth and coziness and purpose and get through, right?
We kicked off fall with these muffins (and a case of croup for our little one, but let's not talk about the unrelenting cold season I've come to realize with toddlers). I've been making them for years from a favorite cookbook by Sara Forte called "The Sprouted Kitchen", with various twists and modifications that change with the seasons, and they've become Crew's absolute favorite.
He begs for one from the canister when we've got a batch on hand and "mmmms" his way through each bite. Packed with whole grains, almond meal, carrots, and dates, I feel good giving them to him. They're wholesome and hearty and leave you feeling like you've had a proper breakfast.
There always seems to be a good place for these too: a weekday breakfast, a weekend gathering, tucked into a pack for a bite on the go, an offering to friends. And if your family is anything like mine, you'll cheer as you head downstairs after waking, remembering that you've got coffee to grind and muffins to warm. I like these slathered with almond butter just out of the oven and maybe a small bowl of yogurt alongside with thick, juicy slices of pear or plum.
multigrain carrot-date muffins // makes 1 dozen
adapted from "The Sprouted Kitchen" by Sara Forte
These are just the thing to wake up to on a crisp fall morning. I've included weights here as well; use those if you've got a food scale. If you're going the cup route, be sure to spoon the dry goods into your cup rather than plunging it into the bag or container. Level off with the back of a butter knife for good measure.
This recipe uses several different types of flours, but if you can find a grocery store that has bulk bins, you can purchase just what you need rather than buying a whole bag. Some companies, like Bob's Red Mill (found in many grocery stores these days), make smaller bags that are perfect for occasional use.
Here, I use almond meal rather than almond flour, but feel free to use what you like or can find. Both are made from ground almonds, though almond flour is made from blanched almonds and is usually ground more finely than almond meal. Almond meal has a slightly coarser texture (which I like) because it contains the skins as well. You can also make your own by tossing some raw, unsalted almonds into the food processor and giving it a whirl.
1/4 cup (56 g) unsalted butter, plus more for the tins
1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup (preferably heaping) (45 g) finely chopped pitted Medjool dates
1 1/2 cups (150 g) grated carrots, loose to medium packed
3/4 cup (95 g) whole wheat flour
3/4 cup (80 g) oat bran
1/2 cup (45 g) almond meal
1/3 cup (45 g) all purpose flour
1/2 cup (60 g) brown sugar (or muscovado if you've got it)
1/3 cup (65 g) turbinado sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Set aside to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, butter, egg, and vanilla extract until well combined. Stir in the dates and carrots, making sure to break up the dates a bit with your whisk or a spoon if they're clumping together. Set aside.
In another mixing bowl, sift the remaining ingredients together, taking care to break apart as many clumps as possible. Gently stir the dry ingredients into the wet until just combined. Set aside and let sit for 5 minutes or so while the batter poofs up just a bit.
Prepare your muffin tins by coating them with a thin layer of butter on all sides. Spoon the batter into the cups evenly and sprinkle the tops with a little extra turbinado sugar. Bake until the tops of the muffins are just browned and a butter knife inserted into a muffin comes out clean, about 21 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven. When just cool enough to handle, twist each muffin out and either turn it slightly on its side to release the steam or transfer it to a cooling rack.
*Note: Store in an airtight container on the countertop. To reheat, place muffin(s) into a baking dish and bake in oven at 350°F briefly, just long enough to warm through and crisp the top a bit.