I always have the urge to bake when those leaves start crisping up and the sweaters come out. There is something about the ambiance of being cozied up on the couch with a good book on the weekends and watching the wind blow free yellow tulip poplar leaves as they travel, glide, and then graciously come to rest among their fellow brothers on the earth. After some moments of watching I place my socked feet on the hardwood and wander to the kitchen to poke around at the little bits of this and that. Opening the fridge a few times and checking the inventory of the dry goods cabinet, I allow my mind to stroll into the land of sugar and pastry and to warm sugary breath against cool air. I might stall, place the kettle on to make tea, but by the time the water is hot I already know that I am sucked in and that I am baking. The first time I had a muffin with one of my favorite combinations (goat cheese & rosemary) was at the bakery I use to work here in Charlottesville. It was a fall special we did occasionally. I only had this muffin there once... and I think about it with frequent adoration. The muffin at mudhouse is quite different than this one... at the bakery it was sour cream batter based and the rosemary was infused... giving it a stronger, earthier taste. This one is a recipe to be made on the spot and one that is good for using up any extra yogurt you have on hand. These muffins are mildly sweet and balanced so nicely with the savoriness of the goat cheese and rosemary. You must try it next time the cold brushes your skin.
Recipe (Makes 12 medium muffins)
All Purpose Flour - 1 1/2 cups
Spelt or whole grain flour - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Butter - 4TB at room temperature
Eggs - 2
Yogurt - 1 1/4cup
Milk - A splash (optional)
Rosemary Powder - 1/2tsp
Fresh Rosemary - 1 TB generous, minced
Goat cheese - 1/3 cup, crumbled
Honey - 1-2TB
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp, scant
Oats - 1/2 cup, generous
Sugar - 1 TB
Flour - 1 TB
Flaxseed - 1-2TB, ground up
Coconut oil - 2Tb, melted
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and butter a muffin pan. Add in your butter and sugar together in a mixer and cream together 5 minutes, scraping halfway through, until light and fluffy. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, mix together your flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and the two different rosemaries. After the butter/sugar is creamed, add in the eggs one at a time while beating on medium low, scraping in between. Then add in your yogurt and stir until combined. Add in the flour and blend on low until just combined, you do not want to over-mix, as it develops the gluten/toughens your pastry. (If your batter seems just a little too thick, add in your splash of milk here and mix together, if not, then omit.) Then add in the goat cheese and drizzle over the honey, stir by hand until distributed... the streaks of honey are ok!
Place your oats into a blender or food processor and pulse a few times to get a coarse oat flour. Toss these oats with the sugar, ground flaxseed, and flour. Then pour over the melted coconut oil and combine. You should be able to pinch it together into moist crumbles. Distribute the muffin batter evenly into the 12 spaces and then evenly distribute over the topping. Lightly tap the topping into the muffin batter with your fingertips to secure. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes or until completely cooked and slightly golden.