02 November 2008

Hot for Helianthus

The weekend is a lovely time to bake. You have more energy, no particular place to be (if your social calendar is similarly cobwebbed) and plenty of time to clean up the naughty egg that rolled off the counter and into the black, fuzzy hole between it and the stove.

Oh, and increased concentration since you can savor three cups of tea before breakfast is even figured out. This Saturday I decided on these seemingly seasonal-appropriate muffins and another cup of my favorite classic hot chai.

Weekday mornings are nowhere near this good.

Sunflower-Seed Muffins
Makes: 1 dozen.

1 cup all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup toasted, unsalted sunflower seeds, plus 2-3 tablespoons, for garnish

1. Heat oven to 325°. Line a regular muffin tin with paper muffin cups. Sift together flours, baking soda, salt and nutmeg into a small bowl.

2. In a medium bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Add both sugars and beat to combine well. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to the batter in three stages, beginning and ending with flour and beating well. Stir in the 1/2 cup sunflower seeds.

3. Spoon batter into each muffin cup, filling to just below the top. Sprinkle tops evenly with reserved sunflower seeds.

4. Bake for 25 minutes, or until muffins have risen and a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean. Remove from pans and let cool on a rack.

Due to the cakelike process of making them, these muffins are tender and almost sweet enough to pass for cupcakes, with a pleasant nuttiness from the toasted seeds and caramel overtones from brown sugar.

Make no mistake, this is not health food. But you have the rest of the weekend to torture yourself with that or to take another muffin, sit back and have your friend entertain you with stories of driving cross-country with a guy who brought a severed sunflower head to snack on during the ride.

1 comment:

Bonbon Oiseau said...

nice sunflower! nice sunflower muffins!