I stumbled on these muffins when I was flipping—well, scrolling—through old issues of Feast by Lukas and I remembered how good and easy they were. Sturdy but tender, and just under-sweetened enough sans glaze to pass as breakfast, but with it, you’ve got a casual dessert. And like most muffins it’s a simple process of stirring the wet ingredients into the dry ones, then popping them into the oven. I made them with walnuts last weekend, but hazelnuts and almonds are also great.
I’ve just returned from a quick-but-long trip down the west coast, from Vancouver (BC), to Seattle, to San Francisco. Quick because it was only a week and a day, but long because it felt like much more—which is how I think trips ought to be. In Vancouver, Creative Director Steve and I saw the next issue of Jarry printed. (Above is the cover, fresh off the press, featuring Nik Sharma in a portrait by Patrick Byrnes.) There wasn’t a lot of free time to eat, but lunch at Nelson the Seagull was a standout.
For Seattle and SF I got a lot of enthusiastic recommendations from friends and colleagues. I thought I’d share some of the highlights here, gallery-style. I’d wanted this trip to be as much about the eating as possible, so it’s got a decadent slant. (It turns out I don’t really have the stomach for this style of travel, because at many points I craved only a smoothie, but I persevered. There are times in life to indulge and this, I decided, was one of them.)
L to R: Charred baby leeks with lime and dried yogurt at Bar Ferdinand (Seattle); pancake decadence topped with ricotta and lemon curd at Talullah’s (Seattle); 2 scoops of ice cream from Kurt Farm Shop, tomato jam and Flora’s Cheese (Seattle).
L to R: Pain perdu with tahini, currants, pistachios, and lightly sweetened creme fraiche from Sitka & Spruce (Seattle); vegetarian vermicelli bowl at Ba Bar (Seattle); late night pizza snack at Golden Boy Pizza (San Francisco).
L to R: Glorious spring salad with asparagus, radishes, abundant herbs, and smoke-cured egg yolks, and creamy grits, poached eggs, and “jammy greens,” both from The Progress; and to cap off the whole excellent trip, dinner at Chez Panisse to celebrate my friend Blake Bachman’s 2015 vintage of Rose & Thistle rosé—with Alice Waters herself!
If there’s anything I missed, by all means let me know in the comments. I’m already planning my return trip. And enjoy the muffins!
(Top photo by Cara Howe)
Use walnuts, hazelnuts, or almonds here. You can use packaged nut meal (almond or hazelnut meal are easiest to find) or for freshest flavor, roughly chop toasted (and cooled) nuts, then process them finely in a spice grinder. Be careful not to over-process them and turn them into paste, which is especially important with walnuts which are softer than the others. The lemon glaze is adapted from David Lebovitz via Gina DePalma.
Makes 10 muffins
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour (or all-purpose)
1/2 cup finely ground walnuts, hazelnuts, or almonds (see headnote)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
4 tablespoons melted and cooled butter, or 3-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
Lemon Glaze (recipe below), optional
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease 10 muffin cups. Thoroughly whisk together the flours, nuts, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl or large liquid measuring cup, whisk together the milk, egg, melted butter, and vanilla. Add the wet to the dry ingredients, whisking just until smooth.
Divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups—each cup should be about two-thirds full—and tap the pan lightly against the countertop to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until set and a tester comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, then tip the muffins out onto a cooling rack. If you’re proceeding with the lemon glaze, place the rack over a baking sheet or piece of parchment to catch drippings of the glaze. Otherwise cool completely.
Makes enough for 10 muffins
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Whisk all ingredients together until smooth. Spoon the glaze over the warm muffins just after they’re tipped out of the pan in step 4. Cool completely before serving.