Fall has arrived. Yes, it comes a little later in the deep South, and we get so little of the glorious fall color, but there are now crisp mornings and soft evenings, with clear blue sky in between and a whisper of gold and red on the falling crepe myrtle leaves. The cooling temperatures bring a strong desire for good hot tea and hearty sweet breads. I fix my tea tray and take it to the large cushioned wicker chair on the porch, put my feet on the footstool, listen to the birds call and notice the lorepetalum bush turning purple again, while I sip tea and eat a sweet and hearty teff and date muffin.
What on God’s green earth is teff, you ask?
Teff originates in the northern highlands of Ethiopia, where it has been grown for centuries and used to make a type of yeasty flatbread called injera. Teff does contain gluten protein, but not the sort to harm those people who are gluten-intolerant, thus in the past ten years the use of teff has flourished in the ever-expanding world of gluten-intolerance in the U.S., where it is also now being grown. Teff grain rates well in protein, containing all eight of the necessary amino acids; it is high in fiber, and is an excellent source of calcium. Those virtues are all well and good, but what I happen to enjoy is the nutty, rich texture teff flour imparts to muffins and other sweet breads.
This recipe is my modified version of the one found on Bob’s Red Mill Teff Flour. Using gluten-free flour mixture in place of the brown rice and arrowroot starch works equally well.
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup teff flour
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- ½ cup arrowroot starch
- 1 ½ baking powder
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Dash of nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup apple juice
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- ½ cup chopped dates
- ½ cup sliced almonds
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin tin—nine of a dozen holes. Combine all dry ingredients, stir with whisk. Combine apple juice and eggs, beat slightly. Add olive oil, then mix into the dry ingredients quickly by hand until well mixed but not smooth. Stir in dates and almonds. Fill muffin holes almost to the top. Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool slightly before turning out of pan.
Enjoy with a pot of your favorite tea. Mine this moment is the old favorite, Yorkshire Gold.
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