Without Sugar; Wild Huckleberry Muffins!

img_2547This was an unusual summer season on the northern coast of California. Visiting my parents over labor day weekend I was surprised at the heat. Cooler than the valley where I had made my escape from, but still unusually warm. This was reflected by an abundance of wild huckleberries. They were everywhere on my parent’s property, lining driveways and trails. These delicate berries are similar in taste to a sweet cranberry or tart blueberry. They are dark blue in color, but some are a rare vibrant red.

We had such a fun time gathering handfuls with family. The boys loved to see how many they could find and proudly present them to their Pops. We ate so many, I did not come home with many left. What I did have I used with the boys to make the wild huckleberry toppings for these muffins. These muffins are very similar to my “One Pot- Blank Canvas” Muffins. I love the no-fuss versatility of a muffin, and the ability to pack some serious nutrition in a meal on the go for the whole family. This recipe used my raw yogurt and replaced refined sugar with maple syrup. I also used quail eggs from our neighbors, not to be fancy but simply because I had no eggs! Just use 2 large eggs in place, unless of course you just happen to have quail eggs on hand. These muffins were cherished and extra shared.

Wild Huckleberry Muffins

Ingredients:                                                                          Yield: 24 Large Muffins

  • 3 Cups Whole Wheat Flourimg_2557
  • 1 C All Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 C Oats
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 C Butter
  • 1 C Yogurt (Plain)
  • 1 1/2 C Maple Syrup
  • 2 eggs (or 8 quail eggs)
  • 1 1/2 Huckleberry (or other berry- Blue, black, raspberry, strawberry)

Directions: 

Place berries and 2 Tbsp maple syrup in large pot. Bring to simmer over high heat and add 2 Tbsp corn starch. Once warmed and bubbling, puree with handheld immersion blender, (or place in blender once cooled). Pour into bowl and set aside. img_2558

Place pot back over low heat (without washing, yippee!). Add the butter and stir until just melted, then turn off heat. Scrape the sides to get any berry bits into the mix. Add Oats, salt, maple syrup and yogurt, Stirring to combine.

Sift over pot the flour, baking soda and baking powder. Make a small well in dry ingredients, and add eggs. Whisk eggs in well with fork until yoke is well mixed. Slowly fold dry and wet ingredients until just combined.

Add to muffin tins, filling to just about the top. Using a spoon, place a large dollop in middle of muffin batter in each tin. Push down towards bottom to incorporate the berries into the muffin as well.

Place in 350 F oven for 18- 20 minutes. Remove and allow to cool on racks. Enjoy!

 

 

Our dairy farm’s future, the strawberry patch and a recipe for Molasses Ginger Strawberry Muffins.

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Is this a time that everyone is uncertain? I know my husband and I are. My husband, Jon, his brother Jack and his father are dairy farmers. Their grandfather came from Holland to start this dairy in the central valley region of California. Since their grandfather’s time much has changed and the dairy seems to be on its own little island while all around it things are changing. Clinging to ideals and a passion for dairy farming has kept this dairy alive. Sad to say making a profit in the dairy industry has become increasingly harder. This is due to many factors, cost of production, regulations, cost of labor and a lack of a skilled consistent labor force. Jon and partners have chosen to try robotic milking. After visiting many robotic milking houses in the mid west, Jon and Jack were excited and sure that robotics are the future of dairy farming.

My husband will be the first to tell you that we really don’t know if it is. But what we do know is that if we want to continue milking cows something needs to change. We have to at least try, and what are farmers if not pioneers. Every year farmers take risks and bear the elements, battle the ever changing social climate and push forward in hopes to continue a way of life that nourishes our communities and families.

We have a small garden that the kids and I planted at the dairy last year. It did alright, and supplied some employees with fresh lettuce and other veggies. The strawberries we had planted did horrible. At the end of the season I tore out the wilting lettuce, fried zucchini plants and tired peppers, but the strawberries seemed to be greener. I left them and forgot all about the plants during fall and winter. Spring of this year my husband called saying I had better get to the dairy and pick the strawberries. “What Strawberries?” I replied wearily, having just got in from yard work. He informed me that plump, red strawberries littered the  old dairy garden spot. As the kids and I returned to the dairy garden I was amazed to see amidst all the weeds were the same strawberry plants, but with fresh glittering red strawberries ready to be picked. we cleaned up the weeds and began caring for and harvesting the strawberries we had given up on. We  have picked many times this spring continuing now into summer. Our prayers for our dairy are patient hopeful ones. Prayers that through doing things for the right reasons, not giving up when all seems impossible, nourishing our business then watching and waiting, we will see a sustainable, joyful future for an industry so deserving of a fruitful fate.

To learn more about robotic milking visit https://www.lely.com/us/the-barn/milking/

img_1232Using our strawberries we made these delicious muffins to share with the dairy employees. I wanted to try something different, a little spice and warmth from the cinnamon, ginger and molasses to contrast the sweet strawberry sauce that tops these buttery muffins. Enjoy!

Molasses and Ginger Strawberry Muffins      

Ingredients:                                                                                         Yield: Approx 20           Sauce:

  • 2 Pints Fresh Strawberries
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 2 Tbs Lemon juice

Muffins:

  • 1 1/2 C Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2 1/2 C All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tbsp Nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp Cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp Ground Ginger
  • 2 Tsp Salt
  • 2 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 2 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 Sticks Butter
  • 1/2 C Yogurt (Try my Homemade Yogurt Recipe)
  • 1/3 C Molasses
  • 1/2 C Sugar
  • 2 Eggs

Directions: 

Pre heat oven to 350 F. Use Pam Baking Spray to prepare your muffins tins. Make the strawberry sauce first. Clean and cut strawberries in half place in large saucepan over medium heat.

Add sugar and lemon juice. Simmer stirring occasionally and until cooked through (approx. 15 minutes). Using immersion blender puree until smooth in pan. let cool slightly and pour into jars leaving about 1/4 of the mixture in pan.

Use the jarred strawberry sauce for other desserts, on top of pancakes or ice cream. May be preserved or frozen for future use.

Using same large pan without cleaning, melt butter slowly on low heat. Stir the melted butter into the strawberry sauce. Add yogurt, molasses and sugar and stir to combine with whisk.

Sift flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Make a well in flour and add the eggs. Stir yokes to break and slowly fold the wet, dry ingredients and eggs to combine. img_1109Drop 1 Tbsp of sauce in bottom of muffins tins. Add 2 large spoonfuls of batter on top. Top with another 1 Tbsp of sauce.img_1111 Bake for 12-15 minutes or until cooked through and golden brown. Remove when slightly cool and transfer to cooling rack. May use right away or freeze for up to 6 months. Enjoy!

 

Spiced Pear and Pumpkin Yogurt Muffins with Graham Crumble

 

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Over flow topping makes great ice cream fixings!

“Spiced Pear and Pumpkin Yogurt Muffins with Graham Crumble”…I love seeing how far a recipe can go in giving to others. I seem to always double a recipe so that I can save for giving or to feed my family later…food hoarder? Maybe. I think it goes beyond that, I think we all connect with food. To value food and take the time to cook means a lot in terms of who you are. Its part of the essential skills of living, just as farming is. God gave us the ability to create, communicate and care for this earth. Growing food, preparing it and giving of it to others gets us in touch with something greater than ourselves. Those who understand this appreciate the gift of food immensely, and I love sharing with those who feel the same. One of these is our sweet auntie, or technically cousin, Sierra. She gave us this delicious home-made Spiced Pear Butter that was prepared in her kitchen on their family dairy farm, along with bread and something else I’m sure, all the while 5 kiddos running around! Amazing. I had never tasted it before and it was delicious. I almost hated to hide it in a muffin, as it would be so good on toast or pancakes…maybe we can get some more… I will share her recipe later as well.

 

This recipe, of course, incorporates our yogurt made fresh from our dairy. Try my method for simple Cultured yogurt in the oven.  I was happy this recipe yielded 30 good-sized golden beauties, and were shared not only on a camping trip but also with two special neighbors, and employees at the dairy! All gave rave reviews, so pat on my back and hoping to share with you a successful moist muffin recipe!

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Everything here but the pumpkin!

Ingredients:

  • 4  C Flour
  • 1 C Oats
  • 3 Tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 C Sugar
  • 1/3 C maple syrup
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 2 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 Tsp Salt
  • 2 C Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 C Yogurt
  • 1 C Pear Butter (can substitute apple sauce)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Sticks Butter Melted

Crumble:

  • 2 Sleeves Graham Crackers( 3 C Graham Cracker Crumbs)
  • 1/2 C Butter Melted
  • 1 /2 C Brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp Flour

Directions:

Pre Heat Oven to 350 F. Prepare Muffin Tins: (Recommend Pam Baking Spray). Melt Butter in small pan and set aside. Measure out flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl. In separate bowl measure out oats. By hand mix in  yogurt, melted butter, pumpkin, pear butter and sugar until combined and free of lumps. Let oats sit for 5 minutes. Fold an egg at a time into wet ingredients.

 

Slowly fold wet into dry ingredients until just combined, being careful not to over mix. Lumps at this point are fine! Spoon 2 large spoon full into each muffin tin. Should yield approx 30 muffins. For Topping melt the butter in same pan as prior and once melted add crumbs, brown sugar and flour. Add a pinch of salt. Using a pinching method mix until forms a rough crumble, adding more flour if needed. Add 1 tbsp toppings to each muffin, and bake for 20-25 minutes until firm in center and golden brown. Enjoy and spread the love!