Espresso Date Muffins

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My brief homecoming for President’s Day Weekend has been a wonderful and relaxing respite away from chemistry, philosophy, track talk, and other college related topics that engulf my daily life. I have enjoyed being out of 20 degree misery and in beautiful sunshine. The past few days haven’t been remarkable in any sense; life has consisted mainly of eating, sleeping, and salt water. A bit of color has returned to my face that my sister swears is a sunburn, but I like to think more of as a sun-kissed glow (one that has necessitated copious amounts of aloe vera). While I may not be quite ready to return to school tomorrow, I know that my paradise is awaiting my visit once again in just a few short weeks for spring break.

I broke in to the kitchen cabinets this morning and decided it was time to create. My sister and I whisked and stirred, dusting the kitchen floor with a coat of flour and making our fingertips sticky with coconut oil and dates. While the process was fun, the end product was even better. I stretched out on our living room couch with my dog at my feet, a good book in one hand and a crumbly muffin in the other. This is how life is supposed to be.

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Buckwheat for Breakfast and Buckwheat for Dinner

Emma here. I picked up a bag of buckwheat flour the other day and have found the opportunity to experiment with it several times this week in different recipes.

The first, and initial purpose, for the buckwheat was for a buckwheat pancake recipe I was dying to make. The perfect morning finally came – no first period which meant no school until 9:45 on Thursday morning. I went for a morning swim in beautiful weather, picked up the buckwheat flour and buttermilk on the way home, and got to work. This was the most delectable result:

The pancakes were light yet comforting, with a soft texture and nice flavor that was only enhanced by a dollop of butter and drizzle of maple syrup on my stack. I sat there in the quiet kitchen with my puppy at my feet, contemplating life and eating delicious pancakes. By far my favorite half hour of the week. Actually, I take that back. The Hunger Games midnight premiere takes the cake. But close behind were these pancakes.

My second opportunity to use buckwheat came today when my mom asked if I would please do something with all of those leftover cans of pumpkin in the pantry. All those leftover cans of pumpkin were actually her fault; she freaked out when she heard that there was going to be a pumpkin shortage and went and bought too many cans to count from Whole Foods in September. Oh well. Too much pumpkin isn’t necessarily a bad things. Well, my mom had potato leek soup simmering on the stove and we both agreed that pumpkin bread might not be a bad accompaniment to the soup. I would love to post a picture of her soup but we unfortunately ate it all, ending with my sister and I licking the pot, before anyone had the chance or will to get a camera. But I did manage to snap a quick few shots of the pumpkin bread and muffins:

I decided with soup that the pumpkin bread should be slightly more savory, therefore I cut out some sugar and added buckwheat flour to an old tried and true recipe. I added sunflower seeds to the top of the small loaf and got lots of oohs and ahhs and yums of approval from the family at dinner. The second half of the batter I added chocolate chips to for tomorrow morning.

So, now that I have shared my recollections about these two recipes with you, I am sure you are dying to know how to make both.

Buckwheat Pancakes

1 cup buckwheat flour

1/4 tsp baking soda

2/3 tsp baking powder

pinch of sea salt

2 tbsp maple syrup (plus more for topping!)

1 1/4 cup buttermilk

1 tbsp butter (plus more for cooking)

1 egg

*Recipe adapted from Wrightfood blog, original recipe can be found here.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, powder and salt.

Melt the butter and allow it to cool. While it is cooling, whisk together the maple syrup, egg yolk (save the egg white for later), and buttermilk. Add the butter once it has cooled. Make a well in the dry ingredients and fold in the liquid ingredients. Whip the egg white in an electric mixer until fluffy and solid and then gently fold into the batter. Immediately begin cooking after you add the egg white.

Melt butter in a pan on the stove, and once the pan is hot, pour in just under a 1/4 cup of batter. Cook on medium heat until holes bubble on top. Flip and cook for an additional 15 to 30 seconds on the other side. Keep warm until all the pancakes are made, and then dig in!

I had quite a few of these leftover (it was a solo breakfast) in my freezer and have eaten them for breakfast a couple times. If you freeze leftovers, make sure they freeze flat so that the sides don’t burn in the toaster.

Pumpkin Bread/Muffins

3/8 cup of butter

1/2 cup sugar

lots of molasses

2 eggs

1 1/4 cups pumpkin puree (be generous)

1 cup white flour

1/2 cup buckwheat flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

3/8 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 to 3/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/4 cup buttermilk

*Recipe adapted from Shaina Olmanson, original recipe can be found here.

Preheat oven to 360 degrees.

In a large bowl or mixer, cream together butter, sugar, and molasses. Add vanilla and eggs and mix until incorporated. Stir in pumpkin puree.

In a separate bowl, add flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, and nutmeg. Whisk together until no lumps remain. Add half of the flour mix to the pumpkin mix, blending well. Beat in buttermilk. Add remaining flour mix and beat lightly until smooth.

For my small loaf pan, the cooking time was about 30 minutes. It will be more like 70-80 minutes for a large loaf. The muffins cooked for 15 minutes.