When I was growing up in the 80s there were two kinds of muffins, maybe three. Corn, bran, and blueberry. I’m talking about when you went out to eat at a diner, which was something I loved doing on weekends with my family. Back then people seemed to equate bran to health. Apparently there was an actual fad (who knew? I surely didn’t when I started writing this) that was based on a study that claimed oat bran could drastically lower cholesterol.
Turns out it was wrong.
Which is not all that surprising considering this was the same era that thought eggs were the devil’s spawn and health advocates pushed chemical laden margarine over natural butter. It’s very sad and somewhat embarrassing to admit this, but I spent the first two and half decades of my life thinking butter was not only bad for you, but “gross.” Oh, the ignorance of youth!
Anyway… back then I vacillated between bran and corn, depending on my mood and how “healthy” I felt like being, which wasn’t very considering my go-to breakfast was a strawberry frosted pop tart. Picking bran made me feel good, though, and in my memory they were tasty.
So when I saw a recipe for a gluten free cornmeal molasses muffin in the New York Times, it really brought me back. There’s no actual bran in these, but they are brown with a subtle sweetness.
The first time I made these I burnt them slightly (my oven is ludicrously hot even with a thermometer) and not sweet at all. Probably because they have NO sugar. None. Zippo. I guess the molasses counts, but it made the muffins a little hardcore. Still, I liked them with honey poured on top and Little Guy devoured them!
Poor Bunky got a glimpse after school and, equating brown for chocolate, got very excited until I explained the no sugar thing. It was like watching a balloon deflate. My husband also steered clear of them, sugar hound that he is, but I enjoyed them, and suspected they’d be even better with some tweaking, namely some maple syrup.
And I was right! They are still super healthy and only subtly sweet, so I feel good about eating them and giving them to Little Guy. By the way, did you know how great blackstrap molasses is for you? Full of iron and calcium and other good stuff.
Here’s my adaptation below, based very much on the New York Times recipe. You could totally fold in raisins at the very end, as the original author did, but I have a near phobic aversion to cooked raisins so I did not. Feel free to go your own way here. It’s cool.
Maple Molasses Muffins: An 80s Remix
- 140 grams cornmeal (approximately 1 cup)
- 175 grams whole grain or all purpose gluten free flour mix* (approx 1 + 1/4 cups)
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 240 grams (1 cup) low fat yogurt (I used 2% Greek Fage brand)
- 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
- 1/4 cup grams maple syrup
- 1 + 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 75 grams (1/3 cup) canola or grape seed oil
- 75 grams (1/2 cup) raisins, very optional
2. In a separate large bowl whisk the eggs with the yogurt, molasses, vanilla and oil. Quickly whisk in the cornmeal mixture. Fold in the raisins – if you dare!
3. Using a spoon or ice cream scoop, fill muffin cups to the top. Place in the oven and bake 18-20 minutes, until lightly browned and well risen. Remove from the heat and if the muffins come out of the tins easily, remove from the tins and allow to cool on a rack. If they don’t release easily, allow to cool and then remove from the tins.
Makes 12 muffins.
According to the original recipe, these keep for a couple of days out of the refrigerator, for a few more days in the refrigerator, and for a few months in the freezer.
Serve with honey and/or butter on top. Powdered sugar is nice too. Also works au natural alongside a nice cup of tea.
It’s also posted on One Creative Weekend, hosted by One Creative Mommy, and Simply Sugar and Gluten Free’s Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays. * Please note, that the recipes on these two link-ups will NOT all be gluten free, so be sure to read carefully.