Candace Kathol’s awesome muffins are show with a plateful of healthful food options. (Betsy Wharton/for Peninsula Daily News)

PENINSULA KITCHEN: A friend shares a muffin recipe

ALONG THE TRAIL between Obstruction Point and Deer Park, my friend Candace Kathol pulled out some muffins to share.

Exercise, fresh air and beauty do in fact stimulate the appetite and heighten the senses, but I am telling you, that was the best muffin ever.

Dark, chewy and loaded with fruit and nuts, we munched in silence, gazing at rocky peaks and a hillside dotted with alpine lakes and the last of summer’s wildflowers.

Of course I asked for the recipe.

Kathol learned the recipe while working as a baker at a resort in Idaho in her early life.

She has long since memorized it and passed it along many times.

There is a good chance you have already had some version of this muffin, because that is just how this community operates.

Even still, this one is worthy of repetition.

Commit this to memory and make it your own.

So far, I have made these muffins three times since getting the recipe.

Each time, I changed it a little, and every time they were great.

For fruit and nuts, we like a mixture of Himalayan blackberries and chopped apple from the backyard with a handful of cashews.

And because I am always in favor of less sugar, I made the recipe with ½ cup of sugar and decreased the milk, and no one was the wiser.

As for the mixture of grains, my favorite mixture so far is:

• 1 cup freshly ground Nash’s red wheat

• ¾ cup Nash’s buckwheat flour

• ½ cup rolled oats

• ¼ cup shredded coconut

I want to give a special shout-out to Nash’s Organic Produce in Sequim for including grains in their farm repertoire.

Aside from the economic value of purchasing locally sourced products whenever possible, there is a significant taste and health advantage in using these freshly milled and pesticide-free grains.

Some folks who can’t tolerate conventional gluten-containing grains find that they can enjoy these without a problem.

Be sure to store your flours in the fridge or freezer to prevent them from becoming rancid, or invest in a countertop flour grinder and keep whole wheat berries on hand to grind as you need them.

Candace Kathol’s awesome muffins

½ cup softened butter

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

½ cup milk or plain yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla

2½ cups flour, bran, grains (any mix and match to total 2½ cups)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 to 2½ cups fruit and/or nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare the muffin tin (with vegetable oil or spray, or paper cups). You’ll need room for a little more than a dozen standard muffins.

Cream butter and sugar thoroughly in a large bowl.

Stir in eggs, milk/yogurt and vanilla until well mixed.

In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients together (flours, grains, baking powder and salt).

Dump dry ingredients into wet ingredients; mix just enough to moisten everything but no more.

If using dried fruit such as raisins, mix them with the flours as well. If using fresh fruit I mix in at the very end.

Spoon into muffin tins right away and bake for 20 minutes.

__________

Betsy Wharton is a Port Angeles Farmers Market vendor, Washington State University Extension food preservation information assistant and a registered nurse at First Step Family Support Center. More about her pickling enterprise can be found at www.Clallam CanningCompany.com.

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