Monday, November 23, 2009
Mini Bulgar Wheat Cranberry Walnut Muffins with Honey-Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
You know of the show Iron Chef, right? You know, the one with all sensationalist theatrics in which world renowned chefs are pitted against one another to make a five course meal featuring a secret ingredient in one hour or less? Well, this weekend my house had its own version of Iron Chef, albeit far less intense and probably less entertaining. It was Iron Chef: Bulgar Wheat (we're hippies, I know).
Now I've used bulgar wheat many times for things like tabbouleh or salads, but for Iron Chef my dish had to be more impressive. Since one of the options for the challenge was to make a dessert, I decided to push the limits of this weird little grain and bake it into something.
I started with a basic recipe for bulgar wheat muffins, then added some dried cranberries and chopped walnuts. I then finished them off with a healthy dollop of honey-vanilla cream cheese frosting. They turned out pretty tasty. The muffins themselves were surprisingly moist but with a rich nuttiness from the bulgar and walnuts. The homeyness of the vanilla-honey frosting echoed the earthy flavors of the muffins and the cream cheese and cranberries offered a tartness. Plus they're really cute. I'll be honest, I probably wouldn't make these guys again, but for baked bulgar they aren't half bad. Give 'em a go if you're feeling adventurous and kind of healthy or if you want to get an honorable mention in an Iron Chef: Bulgar Wheat competition.
Mini Bulgar Wheat Cranberry Walnut Muffins with Honey-Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting - Adapted from Bishop Taboli (the best looking recipe that came up on a Google search)
For muffin batter:
1/2 cup bulgar wheat
1 cup water
3 tsp. baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp. of salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 350. Combine bulgar wheat and water in a small sauce pan and cook over low heat until bulgar wheat is tender but still has a slight bite (think aldente), 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together baking powder, sugar, flour, and salt. Whisk in egg. Fold in cooked bulgar and add butter.
Divide batter into lined mini muffin tins, about a tablespoon in each or nearly to the top of the tin. Bake for 10 minutes, then cover with foil and bake for another 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
For the frosting:
1 stick unsalted butter
8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and cheese. Add powdered sugar, honey, and vanilla and mix on high until light and fluffy. Pipe frosting onto the cool muffins and top with chopped cranberries and walnuts.