Buckwheat Coffeecake Muffins

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        First: as muffins go, these are way up there on my list of favorites. They’re easy to make, contain some unique ingredients, and are a healthier alternative to rich coffeecake. Before I get to the muffins, though, I’ll share a long overdue egg-related item.
        This town’s little bare-shelved market with brown lettuce and dusty cans was a sad stand-in for a grocery store. That’s where I scrounged minimal supplies for dinner yesterday: frozen spinach, a red pepper, bread, and eggs. With those ingredients, a new egg sandwich was born! It was way, way too dark for pictures so I have no evidence. There will be future incarnations of the baked egg sandwich, though. It was just what I’d been craving: heaps of sauteed greens topped with eggs and sandwiched between pieces of rye bread. The whole thing went in the oven in sandwich form and the eggs cooked under their bread tops.

        Now, on to the sweets. Before I started on dinner, I went to work on a recipe I’ve had in my ‘to make’ pile for a while. When I spotted this Buckwheat Coffeecake recipe on my bag of buckwheat flour it seemed too unusual and potentially scrumptious to ignore. Buckwheat is great in pancakes but coffeecake was a new one to me. I was also intrigued by the graham cracker crumb topping for this cake. Graham crackers, butter, and brown sugar are undeniably good. Crisped in the oven on top of a cake they’re dreamy.
        I turned the original Buckwheat Coffeecake recipe into muffins for two reasons: practicality and my obsession with muffins. Handing Lee a muffin when he’s at the helm of the boat on one of the recent 30 degree mornings is much easier than serving cake. I reduced the crumbly topping by a lot, making my version a bit healthier than the original. The graham cracker crumbs are still buttery, sweet, and messy.
        I realize that plain, brown muffins aren’t particularly Christmasy. They don’t sparkle, include candy canes or ginger, and there’s nothing red or green about these muffins. I did add a subtle Christmas hint with a sprinkle of nutmeg. In fact, buckwheat and nutmeg produce a deep, rich flavor that makes me think of warm fires and pine-scented living rooms. With cup of Trader Joe’s Vanilla & Cinnamon Black Tea (my current favorite), any frigid morning on the boat feels cozy.
        I am including the original recipe as well as my muffin version. This is one of those cases where I should have probably made the original first so I would know what I had changed. Maybe Christmas morning at my mom’s new house would be a good opportunity to try the unaltered coffeecake.

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I still haven’t figured out how to get my (hopefully temporary) camera to take pictures that aren’t blurry!

Buckwheat Coffeecake
From Bouchard Family Farm Buckwheat Flour package (a Maine product)

1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
3 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour

Topping:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Beat eggs, sugar, and baking powder in a bowl.
Add oil and flours and mix till well blended.
Pour batter into greased 8x8x2 pan.
Mix ingredients for topping and sprinkled over batter.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.

Buckwheat Coffeecake Muffins (makes 10 muffins)
Adapted from the recipe above

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Topping:
3 graham cracker sheets (6 squares) made into crumbs
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 heaping tablespoon brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Beat egg, sugar, applesauce and baking powder in a bowl.
Combine flours and nutmeg in a small bowl.
Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and stir till just blended.
Pour batter into 10 muffin cups, lightly oiled or with silicone liners.
Mix ingredients for topping and sprinkled over muffins. There should be enough to cover the tops of all 10 muffins.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until the topping is golden brown.

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