Sunday, July 11, 2010

Pumpkin and Millet Muffins...

We've worked millet into several different savory recipes over the years, but did you know it can also sway into the sweet realm as well? We used those tiny golden-hued pearls to prepare these Pumpkin and Millet Muffins.

Rich in protein, fiber and magnesium, the millet was first added to a dry skillet to toast, increasing their crunch factor, while boosting its natural nuttiness at the same time. You'll know when they have been over the heat long enough when they begin to pop and darken slightly.

All-purpose flour, along with an equal amount of whole-wheat pastry flour, are whisked together with our favorite Vietnamese cinnamon, exotic cardamom, fresh grated nutmeg, a touch of clove for warm, spicy note and of course, baking powder and baking soda for a nice rise. I like using the lighter whole-wheat pastry flour as it doesn't compromise the texture of the muffins and adds an amiable nutritional hike. You could just as well use regular whole-wheat flour instead (though the muffins will be denser) if you can't locate it, or if you don't like either of those options, just use entirely all-purpose flour instead. The toasted and cooled millet is also brought into the mix at the point.

To turn the dry ingredients into a thick batter, mashed pumpkin (yes, canned is fine), milk, a few dollops of tangy sour cream, a duo of granulated and brown sugars, an egg and melted butter are combined to be poured in. Once those ingredients are added, you only want to give the mixture a few good stirs to incorporate - you don't want to see streaks of flour, but lumpy batter is just fine. The lumps will work out themselves out as the muffins bake. If you try to get the batter perfectly smooth by lots of stirring, the gluten in the flour begins to overdevelop, leading to a tougher muffin, riddled with holey-tunnels.

If you like your muffins to have a softer exterior, go ahead and line your tin with paper liners - Jeff and I, however, love that crusty base that forms when you simply use butter or nonstick spray. I know I mention this next part almost every time we bake muffins or cupcakes, but I think it is worth it - as soon as they test done, only let them sit in the pan for a few minutes before whisking them out onto a wire rack to cool. If they are left to sit in the tin to cool completely, the bottoms will start to steam and make for a tough muffin.

With a pleasant, albeit mild, pumpkin background to these tender and moist muffins, I took notice on how upfront the spices were, yet they seemed to accent the pumpkin rather than take away. I don't know that the millet added much in the way of flavor, but I loved the delightful contrasting crunch the little seeds brought into the mix. Muffins can often be so sweet that they might as well be served as dessert, but I didn't find that to be the case here - just enough sweetness for a decent on-the-go breakfast or portable snack.


  1. These sound fantastic! Going to have to try them as soon as I can find pumpkin - El Paso, TX seems to be a pumpkin-less town!

  2. How funny - I am making a pumpkin recipe Tuesday (albeit a savory one) and was thinking I'd be the only one doing it in July... :)

  3. Hi Joe!
    Your blog is just AMAZING!
    I found it a few days ago, thank you Google! I was looking for an Angel Food Recipe and I found your blog.I've been reading your post and recipes, they're so good!
    Thanks you very very much for this blog :)
    I wish you the best

    PS: I would write a lot more but I'm afraid that I could write something wrong, cause I speak Spanish and I'm learning English.


  4. slmpetersen - I always end up stocking way too many cans, just in case!

    Kim - I love pumpkin any time of the year!

    Camilla - Thanks for checking us out!

  5. these are some really good looking muffins!