Millet Muffins

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When I was growing up, my mom baked a lot of scones and muffins. Most days there was some sort of baked good awaiting us on the countertop; chocolate scones, raspberry scones, raspberry muffins, pumpkin muffins, and millet muffins being some of the regulars. This was back when Mom wore pants hemmed with little felt balls and us kids wore boys board shorts, baggy sweatshirts, and tiny white sunglasses—needless to say, appearance wasn’t a top priority (a blessing, truly). And so, muffins reigned supreme in our cozy, non-judgmental house for many years.

These millet muffins are a true Dawn original—my mom recently told me about how she ate one at Café Fanny in Berkeley many years ago, then immediately went home and recreated the muffin she had loved so much, from scratch. All I remembered about these muffins were that they were featured on the kitchen countertop throughout my childhood, a welcome snack any time of day. They’re a wonderful contradiction in texture, with almost startlingly crunchy millet suspended in the soft, cloud-like muffin. We O’Regans always eat our millet muffins sliced in half and smeared with raspberry jam, but you can eat them any way you’d like.

A couple of notes: I changed a few things from my mom’s original recipe, like adding sour cream and oil for extra moisture—feel free to omit them if you’d like, just know that the muffin will be a bit denser. I also browned the butter for an extra nutty flavor, but you can simply melt the butter if you’re in a rush. Millet is considered an ancient grain and can be found at most health food stores.

Millet Muffins

makes 12 muffins

1 stick unsalted butter

1/2 cup millet
1 cup almond flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp corn meal
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
2 tbsp neutral oil
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a muffin tin with cooking oil (you can also use disposable muffin cups, but still spray the tin once the cups are in there so any wayward batter flecks are easy to clean off) or wipe it down with butter.

Next, brown the 1 stick butter. Heat a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cut the butter into rough cubes and add to the pan. Melt the butter completely, then keep cooking until the butter barely sputters and there are brown specks (but not black) throughout the butter (this will take several minutes). Stir often to ensure the butter doesn’t burn. Remove from the heat and let cool while you mix the other ingredients.

In a large bowl, whisk together the 1/2 cup millet, 1 cup almond flour, 1 cup all-purpose flour, 2 tbsp corn meal, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp baking powder, and 1/4 tsp salt. Set aside.

Whisk the 3/4 cup buttermilk, 1/4 cup sour cream, 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey, 2 tbsp oil, 1 egg, and browned butter together in a small bowl until homogenous.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet mixture, then carefully fold and stir it all together until no dry bits remain. This makes quite a wet batter.

Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, divide the muffin batter between the 12 muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into one of the muffins comes out mostly dry and clean (a few crumbs are fine). Enjoy, and don’t forget the raspberry jam!

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