Home: never have I so appreciated the cool, breezy-sunny weather of northern California as I did this past weekend, celebrating the fourth of July in perfect 70 degree weather. Not one trace of humidity.
The fourth consisted of: blowing up balloons and watching the hometown parade, eating veggie burgers after a near miss with a beef burger (ew), Cheeto fingers, tan lines and card games played on plastic chairs in the cul-de-sac, Japanese snack crackers and three types of pie. Berries, berries galore, brunch, and muffin-making: all in all, a fantastic weekend.
Sunday marked homemade brunch with an old friend of mine (we went to the same elementary, middle and high school together), now a fellow food blogger. Meet Shikha:
She writes and bakes at Shikhalamode, works at a start up in San Francisco, and lives the foodie life’s dream on a daily basis. You guys, she lives down the street from BI-RITE. Does it get any better? She possesses an impressive knowledge of San Francisco restaurants (if you want recs, this is the girl to ask) and a love for pastry that rivals my own. She’s worked as a pastry chef at three different restaurants in San Francisco and her ultimate goal is to someday open her open bakery.
After gathering as many family members and friends as we could find, we chowed down on the following:
A fantastically tangy leek, arugula and corn quiche, the recipe for which you can find over here:
This peach dutch baby from Bon Appetit, which unfortunately fell rather flat. I whisked the batter by hand instead of using a blender and perhaps not enough air was incorporated into the batter, because it was kind of spongy. The caramelized peaches were tasty, though:
Muffins that I tossed in the oven as an off-the-cuff experiment thankfully saved the carb-day. One of our neighbors who came for brunch has a son who works for an organic food company, and she gave me some samples of the luscious raw, organic nut butters that they sell.
Organic cashew butter
fresh honey from the neighborhood beekeeper
TONS of fresh berries from farmer’s market guy clearing out his wares
cashew honey blackberry muffins.
These muffins require no eggs or butter. They’re almost vegan except for the honey, which is so key! The local honey I used was so powerfully sweet and delicious, just a small amount was needed to sweeten these muffins. The blackberries, which slump into jammy pockets within tender, cashew butter-enriched muffin batter, are the clutch partner-in-crime. There’s a dry “streusel” on top because…I forgot to add the wet ingredients. But it works. And it looks pretty!
I’ve made these twice: once with whole wheat flour and once with half oat, half buckwheat flour. The whole wheat flour muffins will reach taller heights, but the gluten-free version is just as tasty.
Cashew Honey Blackberry Muffins
These tender, lightly sweet, berry-studded muffins are easy to whip up and make for a delicious wholesome breakfast. Use the best-quality honey you can find for the best results!
- For the muffins:
- ½ cup rolled oats
- ½ cup milk + 1 teaspoon vinegar
- ½ tablespoon oil
- 1 tablespoon cashew butter*
- 3 tablespoons honey
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup whole wheat flour (GF version: ¼ cup GF oat flour + ¼ cup buckwheat flour)
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup fresh blackberries
- For the streusel:
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon oats
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. If you’re not using paper liners, lightly grease a muffin tin.
Combine the oats, milk and vinegar (your “buttermilk”—the vinegar will react with the baking powder later) in a mixing bowl. Let the oats soak for at least 5 and up to 30 minutes. Add the oil, cashew butter, honey, and vanilla. Stir by hand until just combined.
Add the flour(s), baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir until evenly incorporated.
Before adding the berries, scoop a tablespoon of batter into each muffin tin. This will prevent the blueberries from sinking to the bottom of the muffins. Gently fold the blackberries into the remaining batter and divide evenly between the muffin tins.
For the streusel, combine the flour, oats and brown sugar together. Sprinkle a small spoonful of crumbs over each muffin before baking.
Bake muffins for 13-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
Adapted from here.
Whole wheat flour will lead to towering, beautifully bronzed muffins. The gluten-free flour mix I used will lead to slightly less tall, but no less tasty muffins.
*There's not a strong cashew flair in these muffins; feel free to sub any other type of nut butter. Honey is the strongest flavor profile, so be sure to use the best quality honey you can find!