I’ve been working on this recipe for a solid month. I had an idea, and was determined to see it through, and
for once I’m glad I was so stubborn. I think these muffins are delicious and the trials and errors were worthwhile. My initial inspiration was twofold: I wanted the flavors of buckwheat pancakes in a portable form, and I wanted to use whole grain flours and less refined sugar to make them. After two not-quite-right batches, I made some adjustments to the second goal for textural reasons, and I am proud to put my name on the final version of these maple buckwheat muffins. They are nutty and substantial from the buckwheat flour but stay soft and light, and they’re tasty— orange, vanilla and maple is a flavor combination I’d have trouble passing up in a baked good.
My recipe was very loosely based on this muffin recipe from The Kitchn; I want to credit it because it looks like something I’d like to make, so maybe the same is true for you, and also because I learned from it ratios of flour to other ingredients as well as important tips for working with buckwheat flour. If you haven’t used buckwheat flour before, it has a dark brown, almost purplish, hue and a mild nutty flavor. You can find it in the baking aisle of the grocery store, and often in the bulk foods section, too. Buckwheat actually has no relation to wheat (fun fact: it’s more closely related to rhubarb and sorrel) and is gluten-free, commonly used in Japanese soba noodles, sweet and savory pancakes, and porridge. I am a big fan of buckwheat and want to learn to use it more often in baked goods. The most important takeaway from the recipe I linked above: don’t skip the step of “resting” the batter before portioning it out into your muffin tin. It really helps with the consistency of your muffins. Another important tip, though not buckwheat related: you must, must use real maple syrup. The pancake topping substitutes will not do. If you follow those two directions, you can make the muffins your own by substituting pink grapefruit for the orange juice and zest, using plain yogurt in place of buttermilk, or adding a handful of blueberries to the batter.
If you’re looking for a muffin recipe with some stick-to-your-ribs qualities; if you love buckwheat pancakes with syrup; if you’re trying to cook with more whole grain flours; or if you just want to try something new and delicious, look no further than these maple buckwheat muffins. We’ve had them four weekends in a row and I’m still eager to make another batch!
Maple Buckwheat Muffins (makes 1 dozen standard muffins)
- 8 T. unsalted butter, melted
- 1/3 c. brown sugar
- 1/4 c. honey
- 1/2 c. maple syrup
- 2 large eggs
- zest of one orange
- 2 T. fresh orange juice
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 c. whole wheat flour
- 3/4 c. buckwheat flour
- 1/4 c. whole wheat pastry flour*
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 c. buttermilk
Melt the butter in a large mixing bowl, either in the microwave or over a pot of simmering water. Stir in the brown sugar, honey and syrup; add in the eggs, one at a time, and mix until you have a soupy but uniform base. Stir in the orange zest and juice and the vanilla.
In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add to the wet ingredients and pour the buttermilk over the top; stir just until all dry ingredients are moist. Rest the batter at room temperature for 30 mins. Don’t skip this step! It will improve the texture of the final product.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with papers, or grease each well thoroughly. After the batter has rested, divide it equally among the 12 muffin cups and bake for 20 mins., rotating the pan 180 degrees halfway through baking. Remove from the oven promptly and cool for 10 mins. before serving. The muffins are best served warm but will keep, tightly covered, for about 5 days.
*If you don’t have whole wheat pastry flour, replace with 1/4 c. white (all-purpose) flour, or even 1/4 c. whole wheat flour. The pastry flour is lighter, which helps with the texture and lightness of your muffins, but it’s also less nutritionally dense.