This beautiful violaceous heirloom grain caught my eye at the co-op yesterday, so I picked up a bag and decided to grind it into flour and turn it into a batch of muffins. I think I was channeling my Honey Girl, because I improvised a baking recipe. I took the lovely lavender flour and added some milk to it, soured with a tablespoon of white vinegar. I added some neutral oil and some unsweetened applesauce for moisture and some white sugar for sweetness. A little orange zest and grated nutmeg seemed like they might be happy partners in the mix, so I added them, too, plus a little baking soda and baking powder to make them rise. Then I folded in whole wheat pastry flour, a present from my Honey Girl’s Mr. Right’s Southern mom, until the texture felt muffiny. I scooped them into a tin, popped them into the oven, and baked them for 15 minutes. Perfect! They are moist and tender and quite nice. The flavor of the purple prairie barley is quite unlike anything I’ve had before, sweet and ever so slightly smoky. I’m going to have one of these pretty lilac-flecked muffins for breakfast with a melting pat of Hope Creamery butter and a nice mug of tea. I baked a dozen today and have batter left over. I suspect it will keep in the refrigerator, such that you could bake off a few muffins for breakfast each morning for a few days. Doesn’t that sound nice, emerging from the shower to a fresh-from-the-oven muffin? I think I’ll try that tomorrow. Eat one and sing a chorus of “Purple Grain.”
Purple Prairie Barley Muffins
Yield: about 24 muffins
1 ½ c. purple prairie barley, ground into flour in a food processor
1 ½ c. milk soured with a tablespoon of vinegar
½ c. unsweetened applesauce
1 c. sugar
1/3 c. canola oil
1 t. finely grated orange zest
½ t. freshly grated nutmeg
1 t. vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
- In a large bowl, stir together the purple prairie barley flour and the milk and vinegar.
- Add the applesauce, sugar, oil, eggs, orange zest, nutmeg, vanilla, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and stir to combine well.
- Fold in the whole wheat pastry flour until just combined. Do not overmix.
- Scoop the batter into a paper-lined muffin tin.
- Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.