Excerpt from Ari’s Top 5 enews
Dark chocolate and some toasted millet make for a seriously marvelous vegan muffin
By name, these muffins may sound strange—millet and chocolate would hardly make a list of most popular culinary combos. The muffins, though, are one of the tastiest new pastries I’ve eaten in a long time. Not too sweet, a good bit of dark chocolate depth, a lovely slight bit of crunch from the millet (a bit like toasted rice), all baked into a muffin you can nibble on happily with morning coffee. The main attraction for me here is that the muffins taste great, but they’re also vegan. Vanilla, cocoa, chocolate, organic millet, organic wheat flour, banana purée, brown sugar, and canola oil. They’re a beautiful bit of baking as well—the millet shows through, sprinkled throughout the dough, sitting on the top like stars in a dark chocolate sky. Amy Emberling, Bakehouse managing partner, shares:
We really wanted to create a vegan muffin. Over a year ago, pre-pandemic, we posed the opportunity to everyone and asked for trials. John Gies, night pastry supervisor, came up with the basic muffin that we loved. We thought it still needed another “something.” Someone on the pastry crew suggested millet, which is inline with our vision of expanding our grain repertoire.
I think the millet was a particularly great move. There’s something I love about millet that, when I eat it, makes me wonder why I don’t eat it more often. It’s got this light crunchiness and nuttiness. If you don’t know much about millet, you’re not alone. It’s the seed head of a grass that’s been eaten for over 7000 years now. We use it in our terrific Townie Brownies and Townie Brownie Cakes (along with Amaranth). While millet is a minor footnote for most Americans, in Niger, the home of the band Les Filles de Illighadad, millet is a major crop—much of the country depends on a good millet harvest to eat well in the following year. I imagine if a Nigerien family were to start a patisserie in Paris, they might end up with something like this combination of chocolate and millet. I’m just thankful that the Bakehouse pastry crew came up with it! The more I nibble on these marvelous new muffins, the more I’ve begun to see that they could pretty easily become something I count on, a part of my morning routine in the most delicious and delightful sort of way!