How are you doing? It’s Summertime in the Pacific Northwest! Which means fresh cherries, and my favorite combo–Chocolate and Cherry! And a buckwheat experiment. And still have a few more cups of buckwheat, so stay tuned.
I think the last time I had buckwheat was in the form of cold buckwheat soba noodles served with a cold broth with veggies Japanese restaurant. They were fantastic! Other than that, the only other times I had buckwheat was in the form of pancakes, usually from a IHOP or Denny’s restaurants. That is probably how most people in the US have buckwheat, I’m guessing. As buckwheat pancakes, with syrup. Which I really like too. But I wanted to experiment a little.
Buckwheat is actually not a type of wheat, and not even a grain. It’s a plant where the seeds are used to make buckwheat flour. It doesn’t contain gluten, so if you want to try making gluten-free recipes for friends who are gluten-sensitive, this is a good substitute.
They turned out better than I thought they would. I think the earthy flavor of the buckwheat lends itself to chocolate very well. I think the oat flour (that I ground up from oatmeal in a coffee grinder) helped it to be more cohesive and not crumbly in texture, which is important since I didn’t use eggs to bind ingredients together. I would’ve added “oat” to the name of these muffins, but I felt that would make the title too long, plus while I value what the oat flour did to it, one can probably substitute a different gluten-free flour instead of oats, with similar results.
I was tempted to add more cocoa for more chocolate flavor, but decided to just add dark chocolate chunks instead. This was because I read somewhere that too much cocoa can make a cake dry, and being that I also read that buckwheat flour can make a baked good have a grainy texture and mouthfeel, the last thing I wanted was a dry and grainy muffin.
This is based on a recipe from here. Don’t let the weird additions of ingredients (olive oil, balsamic vinegar) scare you, trust me, they are added because I felt they accentuated flavor components of the Bing cherries. I needed an oil (to keep it from being dry) and an acid (to activate the leavening action of the baking soda), so if this bothers you, feel free to use ingredients that are more neutral, like canola oil and white vinegar, although I would use less white vinegar, because it’s quite strong.
These are mostly gluten-free. I say this because, for most people that are NOT people with Celiac disease, but have gluten-sensitivities, oats are mostly fine for them. But for people with Celiac disease, I would not recommend even oats that are labeled “gluten-free” on the package, because there is a protein found in oats that is similar to gluten, called avenin, that affects some people with Celiac disease. Studies show conflicting evidence, so for now, it’s probably best to err on the side of caution. Read all about it here.
Anyways, I hope you enjoy!
buckwheat chocolate cherry muffins (based on this recipe)
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup old fashioned oats, finely ground and sifted
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3 dozen cherries, each cherry cut in half and seeds discarded
3.5 ounce bar dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup olive, or canola oil
1 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a 12-count muffin mold pan, or grease thoroughly.
Sift the buckwheat flour, oatmeal flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder into a medium bowl, and stir with a whisk several times to ensure the leavening agents and all ingredients are thoroughly mixed together.
After halving cherries and removing the stems and seeds, add half of them into the flour mixture, reserving the other 36 halves, which will be used to top the muffins (3 cherry halves each) before being baked.
Add the chopped chocolate to the flour mixture and stir or toss with a spoon or clean hands, to coat both the cherries and the chocolate with the flour mixture. This helps keep the chocolate and cherry halves suspended in the batter when baking so they don’t sink to the bottom.
In another medium bowl, combine the oil, almond milk, extract, maple syrup, and balsamic vinegar and whisk, or use an electric hand held mixer with egg beaters, until well incorporated.
Add the oil/milk mixture to the flour mixture in thirds and stir after each addition until combined and flours have no dry pockets. Divide to 12 muffin molds, filling each mold almost to the top. Use 3 cherry halves to top each of the 12 muffins.
Bake for about 25 minutes until muffins don’t look soft or wet, or if you poke a toothpick in the middle of one of the muffins in the middle of the pan, it comes out clean and without any wet batter. Let muffin pan sit on a wire rack for about 5-10 minutes before carefully unmolding muffins. Carefully use a thin blade or knife to outline and loosen the sides.
These are somewhat delicate, so one way to invert them after loosening the sides is to place a lined baking sheet over the 12-count muffin pan and carefully turn over to invert to the lined baking sheet. If you just invert to a counter, the height that they fall from can cause them to smash on the counter. These can either be served slightly warm or cooled, but I like them cooled down.