This month's Recipe Swap perfectly coincided with my annual yard sale yesterday. Our assignment this month was Sorghum Molasses cookies, which everyone will post Sunday night (August 7th). It really couldn't have been a more perfect weekend. Two of my girlfriends and I took up half the block with our clothes, a wake board, gigantic artwork, strollers, a purple blow up fish, wooden puzzles, pots, pans, an array of ceramic fish, polka dot high heels, DVDs, and so much more. So interesting what dozens of people will pick up and look at, but won't buy. At this sale it was a leather bag I had gotten in Italy to carry all my presents for everyone. Everyone looked...but no one bought. I even went down to $5 to no avail. So thankfully M took it off my hands, and therefore kept it on the family.
To help nourish all the buyers, I made muffins and T's kids sold lemonade (quite successfully...with two cash registers full of money). We had music playing, pizza and cocktails in the afternoon and money in our pockets. Our friends and neighbors stopped in here and there to say hello and scan the goods. And the sun peeked out for the second half of the day. We recirculated so much of our things into society...what a great feeling. It even sparked me to do a deep clean of my house, two trips to the thrift store and one meeting at the consignment shop and a major car cleaning. Ah. What a productive weekend!
I made three muffin varieties for the sale...Strawberry Rhubarb Pecan muffins, Coconut Chai muffins and Molasses Date muffins, which was an alteration of the Recipe Swap's original Sorghum Molasses Cookies:
This was a fun one. I wanted to maintain the molasses, cinnamon and ginger flavors from the original. So I thought a muffin theme would be a nice portable snack. And my mom had just recently made chai muffins that I wanted to make, so this was perfect. And also, my aunt's famous Strawberry Bread recipe that my mom gave me a copy of has been waiting for me to make as well, so I made that into muffins too. It was synergy.
I wanted the muffin cups to be a little different than the usual ones you buy at the grocery store. And in the spirit of using already-stocked-in-house items, I cut pieces of parchment paper into squares and then cut a sliver into each corner so that it would nestle nicely into the tins. We do this for 9x9 pans at work, so I thought why not try it for the muffins. And it worked out quite nicely! So try it if you want your muffins to be dressed a little more fashionably.
Please check out the 30 other bloggers that are participating in the swap as well. It is so much fun to see how everyone chooses to alter the original recipe: Burwell General Store Recipe Swap . You will start thinking molasses thoughts.
Molasses Date Muffins
Adapted from Epicurious May 2009
Yields 12 muffins
These hearty muffins are a great start to the day because they are packed with fiber, naturally sweetened with dates and go quite well with a cup of coffee. The molasses provides a nice rich color and adds flavor depth. You can also use creative liberty with the flavorings. Feel free to swap out the cinnamon or ginger with other spices such as ground cloves. Or experiment with adding pecans or almond meal.
1/3 cup molasses
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk + 1 tsp vinegar)
3/4 cup ground flax seed
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup pitted dates, chopped
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set up the muffin tin with parchment paper cups, regular muffin cups or cooking spray. Start with the liquid ingredients first. In a large bowl using a whisk, combine the egg, molasses, buttermilk (or homemade buttermilk), ground flax, salt and vanilla extract. Drop in the dates and incorporate.
In a separate medium bowl, blend the flours and cornmeal, baking soda, cinnamon, and ground ginger. Slowly pour the flour mixture in with the liquid mixture and stir until evenly blended. Fill the muffin cups with all the batter. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until they are fully baked and bounce back when you tap the top center of a muffin.