Good Eats: Pesto Scuffins

By Debra Knapke

July, through October is the time to make and freeze pesto so that you can savor the taste of summer in the middle of winter.  While basil pesto is a favorite, there are many types for this burst of flavor.  This past year, sage, celery, and garlic scape pestos joined the basil pesto in my freezer.  The recipes for these pestos will be presented in the summer blogs, but for now, here is a recipe where you can use the pesto that you, hopefully, made last summer.

Basil Pesto Walnut  Scuffins

  • 1  c.           whole wheat flour
  • 1  c.           unbleached white flour
  • 2  Tbs       brown sugar
  • 1½  tsp     baking powder
  • ½ tsp        baking soda
  • ½ tsp        salt  (scant)
  • 1 Tbs        flaxseed meal (optional)
  • 2 tsp         quinoa flakes (optional)
  • 1 c.            yogurt or buttermilk
  • ¼ c.           extra virgin olive or canola oil
  • 1                egg
  • ¼ c.           basil pesto (yours will always be better, but commercially prepared is fine)
  • ¾ c.           walnuts, coarsely chopped (pecans, cashews or pine nuts, too)

Preheat oven to 400°F (convection: 375°F).  Lightly butter 12 muffin cups.  (If you make mini-scuffins: 2 recipes make two pans of 24 minis)

Combine flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together wet ingredients and pesto. Mix well.  Make a well in the dry ingredients, and pour wet ingredients into dry.  Add walnuts and fold the dry ingredients into the wet.*

Spoon batter into prepared pans.  Scuffins: bake for 20-25 minutes; mini-scuffins: bake 10-12 minutes.  Remove baked muffins from pan after 5 minutes and cool on wire racks.

These muffins freeze well.

* The secret with scuffins — even more than with muffins — is not to overmix them.  I use a sturdy spatula, and use a “folding” movement instead of stirring.

Another scuffin note:  yogurt or buttermilk reacts quickly with baking powder and baking soda.  You will notice a spongy texture forms as you spoon the dough into the muffin cups.  Try not to compact the forming sponge, work quickly and get the scuffins in the oven where the heat will finish the rising process.

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