I wanted something to go nicely with the Vermont Parsnip Chowder, so I thought Vermont Graham Muffins would do very well, indeed. Graham flour is entire wheat flour (not to be confused with regular whole wheat flour, which is usually just white flour with some of the wheat germ added back in). Named after 19th century health reformer Sylvester Graham, it was one of the only parts of his largely unpalatable health and religious reforms, many of which were later adopted by Seventh Day Adventist prophet Ellen G. White and even later by John Harvey Kellogg, that was widely accepted by the general public. Graham pudding, graham gems, graham bread, graham muffins and eventually, yes, graham crackers (which would have appalled Sylvester), were all prevalent in cookbooks throughout the 19th and into the 20th century. And Kellogg used graham flour in his "Granula" cereal.
Graham flour came to be widely associated with New England in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This particular recipe I found in the absolutely delightful The United States Regional Cook Book, edited by Ruth Berolzheimer. My edition was published in 1947. It has a whole section on New England foods (among others), and "Vermont Graham Bread" is included in the chapter, "Breads, Quick Breads, and Pancakes."
Vermont Graham (or Rye) Muffins
This is my take on the original recipe, with the listed additions for muffins.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (feel free to use less)
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups graham flour (or rye)
4 tablespoons butter, melted (half a stick)
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Grease a standard muffin tin.
Whisk together the all-purpose flour, graham flour, baking soda and powder, salt, and brown sugar until well combined (try not to leave any brown sugar lumps, but don't worry if you do). Stir in the buttermilk and melted butter. Spoon into muffin tins (makes a dozen) and bake 30 minutes, or until muffins are golden brown and spring back to the touch. Remove from tins and cool on a wire rack. Serve warm with plenty of butter.
Do you think graham muffins go with White Christmas (1954)? Let me know in the comments! And be sure to follow the White Christmas tag or visit the original menu post for the rest of the White Christmas Dinner and a Movie menu.
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