Relish: Maple Acorn Muffins

In the month of October, I went about town chasing off squirrels and collecting acorns to make acorn flour after reading about it on one of my new favorite food blogs. While going through the process of making acorn flour, I learned a lot about how to make it a painless and even a fun experience, which I shared in this post.

Once I made the acorn flour, I needed a recipe to use it in. I really wanted to make muffins and after a bit of searching I came across Gluten-Free Girl’s food blog, which had a great sample base recipe for gluten-free muffins and a super helpful tip in replacing wheat flour with alternative flours. Essentially, she says you can replace wheat flour gram-for-gram with 70% alternative flour and 30% starch, which means if a recipe called for 1000 grams of wheat flour, you would use 700 grams of alternative flour and 300 grams of starch. This worked for these muffins, but I’m not sure how this would fare for recipes that rely more on gluten than muffins do.

I was excited to work with a nuttier, earthier flour, and I was very curious how the texture would be compared to a wheat-flour muffin. Since I was getting the chance to cook with acorns, I decided to theme my flavor combination after local trees: white oak acorns, maple syrup, and walnuts. Perhaps someday I’ll harvest my own syrup and walnuts, as well. What I enjoyed most about these muffins–this was a little unexpected–is the acorn flour gives it a texture similar to cornbread. Overall, I thought the flavors really pulled together nicely.

Since my collection of acorns only yielded 1 ¼ cups flour, I had to substitute the rest of the flour with something else. I decided to keep it gluten-free by grinding oats in a coffee grinder. As far as the starch, I used corn starch because it’s what I had available and I’m not very familiar with other starches such as arrowroot or potato starch, but if you prefer something else for this, just swap it gram-for-gram with corn starch at about 140 grams/cup.

If acorns are no longer something you can find where you live, a cursory search around the internet shows you can find it for sale on a few sites or you could even replace the acorn flour with another alternative flour of your choice, gram-for-gram. Acorn flour is about 100 grams/cup.

I’ve never gone out of my way to cook/bake gluten-free because I haven’t ever needed to, but this has sparked a curiosity about the flavors and textures different flours lend to recipes. Does anyone have an alternative flour preferred for flavor or texture?

Relish: Maple Acorn Muffins

Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Jon Schelander-Pugh
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 1 ¼ cups acorn flour
  • 1 ⅓ cups oat flour
  • ¾ cup corn starch
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon milk
  • ¼ cup walnut pieces
  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F and grease or paper your muffin tins.
  2. Whisk together the flours, corn starch, sea salt, brown sugar, baking soda, and baking powder.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, maple syrup, melted butter, sour cream, and milk.
  4. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, always stirring to prevent clumps. Just as it’s almost completely combined, add the walnut pieces and finish stirring until the mix is fully combined.
  5. Fill the muffin tins ¾ full and bake until lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean, about 25-35 minutes.
  6. Let cool for 5-10 minutes, then enjoy.

November 30, 2012