Early Rising

January 14, 2008

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I’ve always been a morning person. When I was really young, I remember being the first one up and pushing the “on” button to get the coffee brewing for my mom. In high school, I had no problem being at Student Council meetings at 6:45 in the morning (if you don’t believe me about the hour, just ask my sister—who I dragged to many a meetings). And I kind of liked having the earliest Saturday and Sunday games in soccer tournaments. I flirted with sleeping in during college, but I also registered for 8:00 classes whenever possible. And I loved the August I spent backpacking in Alaska, with the nearly-perpetual daylight bringing even earlier mornings.

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For the most part, I think this characteristic is more of a blessing than a curse. Except for the fact that my roommate (i.e. my husband) loves—loves—to sleep in. And once he does drag himself from the bed, he likes to hang out for a bit before eating breakfast. This usually means that by the time he’s ready for breakfast, I am near fainting with hunger.

(Click “more” for the rest of the stories, more photos and the recipe.)


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And it is this scenario that has prompted my love of baking breakfast breads and muffins and oatmeals and frittatas (and you get the picture) on the weekends. Unlike pancakes or French toast or waffles or scrambled eggs, a bake-able breakfast isn’t time sensitive. It won’t mind if you take it out of the oven and leave it to cool for a bit, before someone wakes up and is ready to eat. And it actually loves it when you have a little nibble to tide yourself over until your breakfast companion has arisen for the day.

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These blueberry corn muffins are a new addition to my breakfast baking repertoire. Previously, I’ve used the reduced-fat recipe from Joy of Cooking, knowing that the reduced-fat label didn’t exactly make the muffins healthy. The recipe called for more than a cup of sugar, after all. So I went in search of something a bit more healthy and interesting. The recipe I found diverges from the traditional blueberry muffin, taking on a coarser texture (from the cornmeal) and heartier flavor (also from the cornmeal, but from the whole wheat flour too), with an undertone of spice (from the whole teaspoon of cinnamon). The very subtle sweetness of the muffins comes from the blueberries, honey and a dusting of raw sugar alone. My only tiny quibble was that they were a wee bit dry. But that was nothing a little sliver of butter couldn’t fix (or a drizzle of honey, if that’s your thing). Best of all, when the kitchen timer dinged to signal these muffins were done yesterday morning, Kevin almost simultaneously woke up. So, I didn’t even have to wait to enjoy these muffins.

Blueberry Corn Muffins
Eating Well Magazine

2/3 cup whole-wheat flour
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup blueberries*
1 large egg
2/3 cup low-fat milk
1/2 cup honey
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon sugar**

1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Coat 12 standard 2 1/2-inch muffin cups with cooking spray.

2. Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, cornmeal, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Add blueberries and toss to coat.

3. Whisk egg in a medium bowl. Add milk, honey and oil, whisking until well-combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Do not overmix. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan, filling each cup about two-thirds full. Sprinkle the tops with sugar.**

4. Bake the muffins until the tops spring back when touched lightly, 18 to 22 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Loosen the edges and turn the muffins out onto a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.

* These were a little light on the blueberries using only a cup. I think I will increase to 1 1/2 cups next time. And I used frozen blueberries.

** I used sugar in the raw, because I love the texture and appearance.

 

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