Barley Muffins with Apple and Cashew Pieces

barley muffins

Muffins are one of my favorite quick breads to make because they are easy to put together and there are endless possibilities to keep your taste buds interested. There is nothing like a nice basketful of muffins to provide nourishment throughout the day. Not only do they make for a quick breakfast, they are a wonderful portable snack to take to work for break time, and when I am hungry in the evening but fussy about what I might want, muffins will usually do the trick.

barley muffins

In this case, I wanted something a little different and incorporated some barley and cashews, along with apples that make up the fruit component, for an especially nourishing and healthy alternative to store-bought sugar-filled cakes masquerading as muffins as I know them. Not there is anything wrong with indulging your sweet tooth from time to time, but if you want to eat cake, well eat cake and you can still have your muffin and eat it too.

Probably some of the most unique muffins I have made in a long time, I was especially delighted with the layers of texture from the grain, seeds, nuts and fruit — chewy, crunchy and soft sensations in the mouth with each bite. Little sweetener is needed here to make these a treat and you might not be able to stop at one, especially if you are lucky to enjoy one fresh out of the oven.

barley muffins with apple

Barley Muffins with Apple and Cashew PiecesBarley Muffins with Apple and Cashew Pieces
Recipe by
Published on January 15, 2014

Soft, chewy and crunchy apple and pearl barley muffins with lightly toasted sesame seeds and cashew pieces — nourishing and not-too-sweet

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  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds, lightly dry roasted
  • 1/4 cup cashew pieces, lightly dry roasted
  • 1 1/2 cups spelt flour or unbleached white flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour or another 1/2 cup spelt or white flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • scant 2 tablespoons brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked pearl barley
  • 1 small apple, peeled and finely sliced
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Lightly toast the sesame seeds and cashew pieces in a dry unoiled skillet or saucepan over medium-low heat, tossing or stirring frequently, until lightly browned. Set aside.

  • Preheat an oven to 400° and grease 12 muffin cups.

  • In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Stir in the barley and use a fork to break up the barley and mix everything together well. Stir in the apple, sesame seeds and cashew pieces.

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, maple syrup or honey, egg, and vanilla and almond extracts until smooth but not frothy. Pour this into the flour and barley mixture, along with the melted butter, and stir until everything is moistened and just combined. Take care not to overmix.

  • Distribute the batter evenly into the prepared muffin tins. Fill 10 for larger muffins and 12 for smaller muffins. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the tops of the muffins are nicely browned and a cake tester inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Let sit in the pan for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Makes 10 to 12 muffins

barley muffins

More savory quick breads you are sure to enjoy from Lisa's Kitchen:
Apple Cheddar Scones
Classic Blueberry Muffins
Mini Gruyere Scones
Quick and Easy Cornbread Muffins

On the top of the reading stack: 660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer

Audio Accompaniment: Aes Dana


Eat2live2travel said...

Perfectly baked muffins

Anonymous said...

Can these be made with gluten-free flours instead, or would that just change the whole texture?

Lisa Turner said...

Using gluten-free flours would make the muffins denser, so yes, the texture would be different.

Catherine said...

Great recipe. I left out the seeds. Added 60 grams raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom. Apple is 4oz by weight and I grated it. Great texture.