Updated: Jul 25, 2018
I confessed in last month’s blog, “I’m a cook, not a baker.”
There is a chemistry to baking that is intimidating to me, a precision that’s stifling. I revel in a bit of flexibility in a recipe and see seasonal ingredients as an accepted challenge. On the other hand, my 5 year old daughter loves to bake. She relishes the tedious measuring and sifting and is unfazed by the accompanying mess. Despite my reservations with the baking process, I am left in awe and wonder at the communal experience that results from the aroma, sharing, and celebratory aspects of baking.
During our July Muffin Tasting, we gathered at the herb garden to smell, taste, and indulge in four savory muffins all baked using the same recipe. I paired herbs and cheeses that fit the flavor profiles of Italy, France, America, and Spain in order to create muffins that could be used in a breakfast sandwich, dunked in soup at lunch, or as an indulgence to accompany an evening meal. I enjoyed the muffins, but must admit that the casual conversation with friends and neighbors was the icing on my cake!
SAVORY HERB MUFFINS
• 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour, or unbleached white flour
• 1 tablespoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ¼ cup chopped fresh herbs
• 2 eggs
• 1 cup buttermilk
• ¼ cup mildly flavored oil (canola, pecan, etc.)
• 1 Tablespoon honey
• 1 cup grated cheese, plus some to sprinkle tops of muffins
• Additional oil for muffin pan(s), or cooking spray
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Lightly oil or spray a 12-hole muffin tin (or a mini muffin pan).
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, herbs, and cheese in a large mixing bowl.
In another bowl combine eggs, buttermilk, oil, sugar, and honey.
Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture, stirring briefly.
If using whole-wheat pastry flour, let batter sit for 15-30 minutes.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling two thirds full.
Bake for 25 minutes (For mini-muffins begin checking at 12 minutes, ovens vary.)
Let cool slightly, then remove from tins.
Recipe Variations: International Flavors
Italian: Thyme, oregano, basil with Parmesan/Romano mix
French: Thyme, tarragon, chives with 3/4 cup Gruyere, and 1/4 cup Parmesan (sprinkled extra Gruyere)
American: Sage with Sharp Cheddar
Spanish: Rosemary and thyme with Manchego