Whole Wheat Pecan & Walnut Nutmeg Muffins
Another knock at the door and the loud, delightfully-britsh host – my uncle – answers with his typical crass, sarcastic welcome, “So I see you have finally decided to arrive.” The van Kraayenburg side of the family is always late. Familial, pleasant chatter in the background silences and quickly changes to enthusiastic hello’s. Smiles fill the room as obligatory hugs and handshakes, cheek kisses and “how long has it been?”s are exchanged. Everyone is here – aunts and uncles, cousins and more cousins, nephews and nieces, brothers and sisters. It’s a birthday, an excuse to see each other, a practice run of sorts for the holidays.
Wine is poured, bottles of beer opened, and the counter and table filled with appetizers and snacks is quickly explained to the new guests. What a relief my house was spared this event, my morning spared of endless cooking. The towel covered basket hanging from my hand quickly grab’s everyone’s attention – so I couldn’t resist, I had to bake something. I try and shimmy the basket in amongst the sea of foods. A less important dish is made way for the foodie’s treats. I seem to get special attention when I bring food to family events – or should I say the food I bring get’s special attention.
“They’re whole wheat, pecan and walnut, nutmeg muffins,” I proclaim. I am on a health kick of sorts and I begin to explain the benefits of pecans, walnuts and flaxseed. I also explain the difference between whole wheat and processed flours. I skip over the sugar, butter and coconut oil content in the muffins – it’s all necessary for baking, right?
Chatter again fills the rooms as little cliques litter the open floor plan. Snacks are delicately balanced over too-small napkins, glasses of wine and beer kept full, and groups migrate back and forth from the snacks and drinks to their corner of the room.
I rotate from one cabal to the next, trying to take in as much as I can. Like my one of my favorite cousins, I find our family gatherings to be far too infrequent; I do my best to catch up with everyone. I also like to people watch, to find the right moment to make a picture – my camera is always hanging from my neck, or grasped in one hand, my index finger resting persistently on the shutter, my thumb ready to tweak the aperture.
I pay little attention to the attention my muffins receive though I expect and hope for an empty basket. Of course I am thrilled when there are two remaining. Despite the incessant eating I still find myself craving a snack when I get home. A lone muffin seems to hit the spot. And still one more left. Breakfast, if I don’t eat it as a midnight snack.
Ground Nuts: This recipe calls for ground pecans and ground walnuts. Place the nuts in a food processor and pulse until the nuts are ground to a fine consistency. Be sure to stop before the mixture begins to cake.
Broken Flaxseed: The body cannot process whole flaxseed so you’ll want to be sure to not to use whole flaxseed. If you can’t find broken or ground flaxseed – or if you only have whole flaxseed – you can place the seeds in the blender or food processor and process until they begin to break up. Also, once flaxseed is broken it goes rancid very quickly, so only grind only what you need when you need it.
Whole Wheat Pastry Flour: This recipe calls for whole wheat pastry flour. If you do not have whole wheat pastry flour you can substitute all purpose flour or a mix of whole wheat and all purpose. I do not suggest substituting all whole wheat flour because it can make the muffins tough.
Nutmeg: Nutmeg is one of the few ingredients where you should only use freshly ground from whole nutmeg and avoid pre-ground bottles of the stuff. Whole nutmeg is cheap and easy to grate with a fine grater or nutmeg grater. Using large quantities of pre-ground nutmeg can make the muffins bitter.
Whole Wheat Pecan & Walnut Nutmeg Muffins
This recipe is adapted from a Bo Friberg recipe and will yield 20 cupcakes.
3 ounces pecans, ground
3 ounces walnuts, ground
1 ounce broken flaxseed
10 ounces whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 tsp salt
6 ounces granulated sugar
4 ounces coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup half and half
4 ounces unsalted butter, melted
4 ounces pecans, chopped
4 ounces raisins (optional)
1. Line muffin pans with paper cups. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2. Mix together the ground pecans, ground walnuts, broken flaxseed, whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda and nutmeg together in a bowl. Set aside.
3. Beat together the eggs, salt and sugar for 2 minutes.
4. Mix the egg mixture into the dry flour mixture. Pour the coconut oil, buttermilk, half and half, and melted butter into the batter slowly, mixing until completely combined.
5. Add the chopped pecans and raisins and mix until evenly distributed.
6. Evenly spoon the batter into the lined muffin pan.
7. Bake for 16 to 19 minutes or until the top springs back when pressed lightly.
8. Flip the muffins on the side and cool in the pan until cool enough to handle.