Sunday, July 29, 2012

Recipe 1: Saffron cardamom muffins.

   These are some tasty muffins. They are the type of muffin that make the people that may not use a lot of spices in their food feel extra cool for making them. Saffron and cardamom are both excellent in desserts, and yet, at least here in Idaho anyway, they are so often overlooked in place of more familiar flavors like cinnamon and vanilla. I am sick to death of that nonsense.
   These muffins are inspired by the flavors of Kuwait, and I absolutely adore them. I know, I know... muffins. On a dessert truck. I'm not going to lie, if I went to someone's house and they offered me muffins for dessert, I would be a little upset. I mean, I wouldn't say anything, but inside I'd be all dejected and dissatisfied as I ate my breakfast for dessert. That being said, I promise, these are not boring, run of the mill muffins. The only reason I would classify them as muffins at all is that they are slightly denser than my ideal cake, and they aren't frosted or sprinkled, which I feel is absolutely necessary for cupcakes. They are moist and almost cake-y, loaded with flavor and texture, and topped in a citrus and rose honey glaze. They are still pretty healthy, but they are so delicious you won't remember, I promise.
   Now, there are a couple issues with me posting these recipes online:
     1. I can't afford to make them right now, so pictures aren't going to happen for a while. I promise that when I can, I will get photos added to the recipes, and I'll post that they have been updated with photos so the recipes are easier to follow for any visual learners that need them.
     2. I'm a little bit concerned that if I post these recipes, no one will purchase the food from my truck because they can make them at home. I'm hoping that everyone out there is pretty lazy and will spend the money.
   A final note before I write this sucker, I've been looking more into Kickstarter, and I'm thinking it might be a good idea once I get everything together. If it ends up being a bad idea and I don't get fully funded, no one will lose anything. I have a few people locally that are extremely supportive and that's made me a little bit more secure in my idea. I feel like there is hope that this truck could happen before I am old enough to retire. Yay!

Saffron Cardamom Muffins
3 cups whole wheat all purpose flour
1 teaspoon saffron strands soaked in 2 Tablespoons warm milk for about 20 minutes
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 cup orange blossom honey
1  1/2 cups chopped dates
1/2 cup date paste
2 eggs, separated and brought to room temperature
2 cups buttermilk
1 Tablespoon baking powder
2 Tablespoons orange oil
2  1/2 cup chopped, shelled, roasted pistachios

To make:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin pan in muffin cups, or grease with butter and lightly flour.
  2. Beat egg whites to soft peaks, then very gently fold in cardamom, turmeric, honey, 1 cup of the pistachios, the dates and date paste, being careful not to lose all the volume in the egg whites.
  3. Beat the egg yolks with the saffron infused milk, buttermilk, and the citrus oil.
  4. Sift together flour and baking powder.
  5. Alternately fold flour mixture and egg yolk mixture into the egg white concoction until fully incorporated.
  6. Fill prepared muffin cups 3/4 of the way with batter, saving the remaining nuts to sprinkle on top after glazing, and baking for 25-30 minutes, until light golden brown on top. Careful not to over bake!
  7. Allow to cool and then dip the tops in glaze, recipe below.
  1. 1/2 cup orange blossom honey
  2. 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  3. 3 Tablespoons hot rose water
Blend honey, sugar, and water together until completely mixed. Dip cooled muffin tops into glaze, or brush on for more control. Sprinkle with remaining pistachios.

   These muffins require a little bit more work than the average muffin or quick bread, but they are so worth it. The technique and ingredients lend themselves to a lighter, more cake-like consistency, and the glaze keeps them really moist. They are healthy, as far as even muffins go, as the only processed sugar is in the glaze. The sweetness in the muffin comes from the honey and the dates. On a side note, I buy orange blossom honey in bulk at my local WinCo. I know it's carried other places as well. It's one of my favorites and I use it a lot. The citrus with the spices and the dates is lovely. The dates add a fruity, chewy texture while the pistachios bring a salty crunch to balance everything.
   Be brave, and give these muffins a try. And when you do, try your best not to eat them all in one sitting. You're going to want to share them with at least one person as evidence that they existed.

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