Recipe: Quick, Easy and Moist Whole Wheat Muffins

Here's a recipe out of my weeknight playbook: A quick, easy, reliably moist batch of whole wheat muffins. They are a homey accompaniment to soups and salads, and since these only need to bake for 15 minutes, you can start them and be eating in under half an hour. (Leftovers are lovely for breakfast, too!)
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This is an adaptation of a recipe my mom made frequently while we were growing up, but I've tweaked it a bit. I've recently discovered that sour cream makes for the best soft texture and moist crumb in a muffin (these muffins taught me this) and so I substitute sour cream here for the original buttermilk.

These muffins are also dependent on the whole wheat. Whole wheat isn't just a health statement here; the taste of the whole grain makes a nutty, pleasant flavor. I think these muffins would be slightly boring if made with just white flour. I like the extra dimension that whole wheat gives, and the fact that whole wheat flour is lower in gluten than regular all-purpose flour also means a more tender muffin.

I do use white wheat flour, though, which makes for a lighter, sweeter taste. (See more about white whole wheat flour here.) You can use regular whole wheat flour just fine, though.

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Quick, Easy & Moist Whole Wheat Muffins

makes 12 muffins

2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1 1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup honey
1 egg
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat the oven to 375°F. Prepare a muffin pan with liners, or by lightly greasing each well with olive oil or baking spray.

In a large bowl, lightly whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger.

Whisk the sour cream, honey, egg, olive oil, and vanilla extract together in a separate small bowl. Make a small well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in this liquid mixture. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to gently but firmly fold the ingredients together, folding from the bottom up to make sure all the dry ingredients are incorporated. Stop as soon as the mixture comes together; do not overmix. Depending on the fat content of the sour cream the mixture will range in thickness from a gooey muffin batter to the consistency of a very wet cookie dough.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until barely golden on top, and the top springs back a bit when touched with a finger.

The key to keeping these moist is to underbake them ever so slightly. They shouldn't be gooey inside, but don't be afraid to take them out of the oven when they are slightly underdone.

Notes:
• The cinnamon here is just develop a rounder, fuller flavor. These are not cinnamon or spice muffins. But if you would like a more assertive cinnamon flavor, increase the amount of cinnamon to 1 full teaspoon.
• These are very good with raisins, or 1/2 cup of finely chopped apples mixed in.
• Extra good when served with Cinnamon Honey Butter.

Related: For the Bread Basket: 10 Best Rolls, Buns, and Biscuits

(Images: Faith Durand)

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