Baking is an art, and it’s something beautiful. When we bake or cook, we not only nourish the body but also nourish the soul. I was listening to somebody the other day and they said that too much focus is being put on food these days, and that we should just stop trying to make it more than it is.
I couldn’t disagree more.
Food is so important to our lives. As Luciano Pavarotti put it, “One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.” Sitting to have a meal or a cup of coffee and a biscuit gives us a moment to reflect and ponder on whatever we choose–a book, a person, a situation, or simply the food itself.
Dishes are edible modes of transportation to new perspectives and thoughts. There is no one who can deny that eating their favorite dish, be it sweet or savory, didn’t bring them a smidge of joy. Perhaps it triggered happy memories, or perhaps the flavors dancing on their tongue were enough to bring a smile to their face.
So many wonderful memories are made in the presence of food, whether at the dinner table or a party. Food is the most common denominator to fellowship. The simple act of sitting down together as a family for dinner is beautiful and so important. So many holidays designed to bring people together are centered around food–its planning, its preparation, its consumption. It is an integral part of human culture, and fussing and focusing on it is in no way ridiculous.
In short, enjoy food. Enjoy making it; enjoy serving it; enjoy eating it; and, above all, enjoy sharing it.
Mixed Berry Muffins
A moist and tender muffin that is studded with the season’s juiciest berries. Part of what makes these muffins so wholesome without becoming bricks is the deliberate combination of flours and the generous amount of leavening agents. A generous sprinkling of raw turbinado sugar gives the muffin tops a touch of crunchy, sparkly sweetness to make them extra-special.
140 grams / 1 cup whole wheat flour
60 grams / 1/2 cup spelt flour
40 grams / 1/4 cup brown rice flour
2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
125 grams / 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/3 cup agave nectar or maple syrup
1/2 cup almond milk
2 tablespoons light olive oil or melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
225 grams / heaping 1 1/2 cups mixed berries
turbinado sugar, optional
Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F with the rack in the middle. Line 2 6-muffin tins with 12 wrappers (or just grease them, if you prefer).
In a medium bowl, mix together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, combine the apple sauce, agave nectar, almond milk, olive oil, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined. Carefully fold in the berries, being careful not to crush them and subsequently dye the batter.
Divvy up the batter between the 12 cups. Sprinkle each muffin with a healthy pinch of turbinado sugar. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until begin to grow golden and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Let cool slightly before serving.