Saturday, February 06, 2010

Molasses Muffins

W. Crawford is off on a "little" 200k brevet today. A brevet is a long, long bike ride. The big ones take several days; you pedal on the uphill and sleep on the downhill. The main thing is that it's a self-sufficient ride. You have to haul your own snacks, your rain gear, your spare tubes, just like in real life. Once when I was very impressionable I saw a picture of a big colorful bike race. There was a guy in a car leaning out to peel back a cyclist's spandex shorts and squirt some lube down there for him. Nothing like that happens in a brevet.

My job was to pack enough snacks to sustain my randonneur for the ten hour ride (he can stop for a meal, if he feels like it). In lieu of squeezable goo-drinks and other high-tech, entirely artificial food for performance athletes, I sent him off with a stash of well-buttered rye molasses muffins, a quarter pound of cheese, and dates filled with coconut and sea salt.

I'm not just being flippantly anachronistic. These molasses muffins make excellent fodder for heavy exercise. By my calculations, W. Crawford needs nearly 9000 calories today. Exercise particularly drains magnesium, zinc, copper, and iron. If he eats all the (well-buttered) muffins I sent, he'll have 2000 calories right up front, plus 150% of the RDA for magnesium, and 75% of his copper, zinc, and iron. (Along with 500% of his daily manganese requirements, wtf?) If you include the chopped liver he had for breakfast and the righteous supper he'll no doubt have, this is one well-fueled randonneur. Don't worry; I only run the numbers when they're interesting ones, like "9000 calories."

That said, these muffins are dark, chewy, and moist, even if all the exercise you get is grinding grain. That grainy rye flavor is a marvelous (and appropriately subtle) foundation for something as deep and mineral as molasses. Rye flour has less gluten than wheat -- and less of a tendency to toughen -- but still keeps stuff stuck together. The oat flour keeps the muffins from spreading. Substitute quick oats or white flour if you have none.

I particularly like these with a glass of kefir.

Rye Molasses Muffins

Whisk together in a large bowl:

2 cups freshly ground rye flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves

In another bowl, whisk together
1 egg
2/3 cup molasses
1 cup buttermilk, sour milk, yogurt, kefir, or (water plus a tablespoon of vinegar)

Put 1/4 cup butter in a small saucepan and melt it over medium heat. Let it brown lightly; remove from heat. Stir the liquids into the dries, pour in the butter, and combine. Cover with a plate and let it sit for the afternoon.

Spoon batter into greased muffin cups and bake at 375 for half an hour or until a knife comes out clean.


Anonymous said...

Referred to your blog by Mister Rando (your hubby) over at the Rivendell list. The muffins sound fantastic! We'll add them to the list of recicpes for our next camping trip (we do a lot of hiking and these will fill the bill). Thanks for sharing! --Beth

lynnef said...

Rye and molasses. Mmmm. Food for next brevet. I may toss in some nuts as well.

Anonymous said...

These muffins look like they might make good fuel for running, too instead of those nasty race gels.