- 8 ounces hard cider
- ¾ pound thick-cut bacon (5 to 6 slices), diced
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1¼ cups buckwheat flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- Scant ½ teaspoon salt
- 1¼ cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (if frozen, do not defrost)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 7 ounces grade B maple syrup
- 1¼ cups cooked whole kasha (roasted buckwheat groats) (see “How to Cook Kasha”)
- 1 1/3 cups water
- ½ teaspoon fine-grained salt
- 2/3 cup dry whole kasha (roasted buckwheat groats)
Note: Remember to allow the hard cider to go flat the night before you’re planning to make the muffins, and to cook the kasha ahead of time.
HOW TO COOK KASHA
When cooking, kasha emits a woodsy, mushroomy, earthy aroma. This recipe yields enough for two muffin recipes, plus a slight bit more. Leftover kasha can be eaten warm for breakfast with maple syrup and a little butter or drizzle of hot bacon grease.
Makes scant 3 cups cooked kasha
Place the water and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the kasha and reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer until all of the liquid is absorbed and the grains are light and tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave covered, to steam, for 5 to 10 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before adding to muffin batter.
The night before baking the muffins, pour the hard cider into an open container and leave out at room temperature to go flat.
Preheat oven to 400°. Generously butter 12 muffin cups and 1 mini loaf pan.
Slowly cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-low heat, stirring often, about 15 minutes, until the fat is rendered and the bacon is lightly browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
In a large bowl, sift the all-purpose flour, buckwheat flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk thoroughly, at least 10 seconds, until the dry ingredients are thoroughly blended. Remove 2 teaspoons of the flour mixture and place in small bowl along with the blueberries; toss to evenly coat the berries.
In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, oil and maple syrup. Stir in the cider just before you’re ready to combine the wet and dry. (If you add the cider earlier and let it sit, the eggs may curdle slightly.)
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour in the liquid ingredients and, with a wooden spoon, gently fold the wet and dry ingredients together for no more than 8 or 10 seconds—just until the flour mixture is moistened. There will still be lumps in the batter but that is OK. Gently fold in ¾ cup of the blueberries and the cooked kasha and bacon with a few quick turns.
Using a 1/3-cup measure, fill each muffin well nearly to the top. Pour the remaining batter into the mini-loaf pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup berries on top of the muffins and mini loaf and press down lightly.
Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until the muffins are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs. (If you’ve used fresh berries, 18 minutes should be sufficient.) Turn the pan halfway through baking.
If the muffin tops have spread, use a plastic knife to separate them; carefully slide the knife under the muffin top to loosen, if necessary. Leave muffins/mini loaf in the pans for a minute, then turn them out, upside down, onto a clean kitchen towel. Transfer to a cooling rack. Place leftovers in an airtight container lined with a paper towel and store in a cool spot or, in warm weather, in the refrigerator. Eat within 3 to 4 days, or freeze.