Mesquite Cornbread Muffins
A cold and rainy trip to the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle with the boyfriend plus a late breakfast equals one hungry lady. One thing led to the next and soon we were pulling into the parking lot of Ivar’s Restaurant at 4:00pm on a Saturday afternoon. Famished, we made our way inside and made a delightful happy hour discovery! Nabbing a table by the window, looking out onto the lake, we ordered a pint as we scanned the menu. A cup of smoked salmon chowder and complementary mesquite cornbread muffins were soon heading our way. The chowder was exactly what I needed to thaw my cold fingers and fill my belly, but the highlight of the meal was the muffins. I unfolded the cloth napkin in the bread basket and picked up a warm muffin. The slightly sweet and smoky scent of the mesquite flour filled all my senses as I took my first bite. Heaven. That’s the only word that can possibly describe that bite.
I didn’t waste a minute upon leaving the restaurant to search for a recipe. I had coincidentally recently discovered the joys of mesquite flour, which is a high-fiber gluten-free flour that comes from the pods of the algarrobo trees in northern Peru. It is often used in combination with other flours and even a small amount can impact the flavor in a great way. I highly recommend playing around with it! Although not a common flour, it can be found in many health food stores or food coops.
In an attempt to up the nutritional value of the muffins, I used whole-wheat pastry flour (higher fiber content, but still a fine texture) instead of all-purpose.
MESQUITE CORNBREAD MUFFINS
Recipe adapted from Ivar’s Seafood Cookbook
Makes one dozen muffins
- 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 cup mesquite flour
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, not packed
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon fine grind cornmeal, divided*
- 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 3/4 cup nonfat milk
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Whisk together both flours, both sugars, 1/4 cup cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, butter and milk.
- Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir until combined.
- Divide the mixture among 12 lined or greased muffin cups. Sprinkle the remaining cornmeal over the top.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Let muffins cool for 5 minutes in the tin, then transfer to a cooling rack.
*You can use a coarser grind if you prefer
To make vegan, substitute:
- 3/4 cup plain soy yogurt or 3 Tablespoons flax seeds plus 9 Tablespoons water for the eggs
- 1 cup light flavored oil (ex: light olive oil, canola oil, safflower oil, etc.) for the butter
- 3/4 cup unsweetened, plain soy milk or any milk alternative for the nonfat milk
To make gluten free, substitute:
- 1 cup sweet potato flour, 1/2 cup sorghum flour, plus 1/2 cup tapioca flour for the whole-wheat pastry flour