Kim Boyce’s Hazelnut Muffins
I tend to go through phases with things. Oftentimes, these phases are decided by the seasons. I’m not talking about seasonal phases like I only get strawberries in the peak of July or grapefruits in January, as much as I wish that were true. No, I’m referring to general-outlook-on-the-world-and-everything-around-me seasonal phases. My “winter” phase has kicked in late this year, but it’s the same as always: I get a bit anti-social, a little intense, and I get really into abstract things like ideas/music/art/books, etc. I’m not sure how I got in the mindset that the farther away I stay from real humans, the closer I can get to “real” humanity…but no matter! I do not question these phases, silly though they may be, because I honestly really enjoy them.
In the phase I’m in right now, the only things I’ve felt like doing are a.) go for really long walks while listening to music (this song + 90’s seattle grunge + the velvet underground), b.) go to my classes (not kidding), or c.) cook and/or bake. Nice combination of activities, eh? But they all seem to go together, and they all have a kind of serene pensiveness to them.
I made these muffins sometime last week after spending the day walking in the cold with the clear sun (and finding two bags of raw hazelnuts in my freezer). I wasn’t planning to blog about them, but I think they turned out too good not to share. They’re from Kim Boyce’s Good to the Grain, though I originally saw them in an Elle à Table my brother got me around Christmastime (where, curiously, they refer to Kim Boyce’s book as Les Deuze Farines. Language-y things are always so peculiar). I of course could barely a read a thing the recipe was asking for, so I followed the recipe on Lottie and Doof instead. I think you’ll forgive me—the muffins would have hardly turned out so nicely.
In Kim Boyce’s classic style, she uses a combination of whole-grain flours in order to add a bit of nutrition and some very cool flavors without compromising any of the texture or taste. In these hazelnut muffins, she uses all-purpose, whole-wheat, and teff flours. If I were to be completely honest with you, which I’m afraid I must be, I substituted the teff flour for oat flour. I know, I know! But I was at the store and the only teff flour available was in a large $15 bag and I just couldn’t do it! I will say, though, that the muffins were awesome the way I made them, and I can only imagine what they’d be like if I had used teff flour, as Boyce originally calls for.
Anyway, I was compelled to share these with you, in case you hadn’t made them or seen them before on another site, because they are pretty impressive. I really, really liked the hazelnuts in these—Boyce adds roughly chopped ones in the batter but also calls for them sprinkled in with cinnamon-nutmeg sugar to top the muffins with (my absolute favorite part of these muffins). Plus! You don’t have to toast and peel the nuts, which I find very clever and convenient seeing as peeling hazelnuts always sounds much cooler and easier than it actually is. And the crumb, made with butter but also a fair amount of yogurt and buttermilk, is tender, moist, but with structure. They’re a classic muffin to have, in my opinion.
You can find the recipe here (I didn’t make any changes besides the aforementioned shameful flour substitution). Make sure you follow Kim’s tip, mentioned by Tim in his post, of spacing out the batter into every other cup so that there’s plenty room between them. It really does make a difference in how high the domes rise.
One Year Ago: Crunchy, Chewy Oatmeal Cookies with Coconut and Nuts