Back-to-School Sesame Plum Muffins

We’re in back-to-school mode here. Even though it is the beginning of my (ugh) 23rd school year, I’m still somehow hoping that school will turn out to be in Deep Valley, Minnesota instead of New York. But, after 23 Septembers, I know the best I can do is make muffins.

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For those of you who just went, “huh?”, Deep Valley is the fictional home of the charming Betsy-Tacy books, which trace the idyllic late 19th-century childhood and young-adulthood of Betsy Ray: Every Sunday night friends come over for Betsy’s father’s sandwiches, all high school high jinks involve making fudge, and on the first day of school there are always muffins.

No one in the Betsy-Tacy books decides to do nonsense things like go to law school or get a PhD, but in an effort to bring a little 19th century idealism and simplicity into our skeptical and over-complicated 21st century lives, I baked these muffins to welcome in the school year. Of course, it being the 21st century, they are gluten-free and full of tahini, an ingredient that I would wager Betsy’s devoted cook, Anna, did not have on hand.

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Sesame-Plum  Muffins (adapted from this muffin recipe from Sprouted Kitchen)

If you have any muffin-tin liners, I would use them. As you can see from the pictures, these muffins are pretty crumbly, very moist, and stuck to the pan a bit. I was fine without them, but my muffins were, perhaps, a little less pretty than they could have been. Makes 12 muffins. 

– 5 medium plums

– 1 1/2 cups almond meal

– 1/2 cup cornmeal

– 1/2 tsp baking soda

– 1/3 cup maple sugar (You could certainly substitute another sugar of your choice here, although I would avoid brown sugar as these muffins are already pretty juicy.)

– Pinch of salt

– 2 eggs

– 2 tablespoons olive oil

– 2 tablespoons tahini

– 2 tablespoons honey

– 1 teaspoon vanilla

* Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

* Oil or line muffin tin.

* Pit plums and chop into bite size pieces.

* Mix together all dry ingredients.

* Whisk together all wet ingredients.

* Fold wet ingredients into dry and then fold in plums.

* Fill muffin tins close to top, these muffins do not rise much.

* Bake 20 minutes, until tester comes out clean and tops are golden brown.

* Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes and then remove from pan and allow to cool the rest of the way.

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