Come into the kitchen while Sue makes Graham Muffins. These appeared on the Twenties table often because they added fiber to the diet. This is Lesson 13 in the series from When Sue Began to Cook, one of the cookbooks in the Bettina’s Best Recipes book series from the Twenties. If you are just joining the series for the first time, click the book title to transport back to Lesson 1. Sue and her friend Ruth Ann’s story unfolds as the lessons progress. In addition, the recipes increase in difficulty as they go.
Graham muffins contain graham flour. This coarselSy ground whole wheat flour was named for the maker of the Graham cracker. The grind of Graham flour added texture and fiber to the recipe. Unlike almost all other flours and powders in the kitchen, cooks never sifted Graham flour. If they did, the point of the flour stayed behind in the screen.
This is the first muffin recipe to appear in When Sue Began to Cook. Most beginning cookbooks began with simple breads like biscuits and muffins. They were relatively easy to make and looked good even when they came out less than perfect. A good white sauce can be tricky for a beginning cook, yet this is exactly where Bettina began teaching in Lesson 1. Sue and Ruth Ann find the muffin recipe relatively easy after their preceding kitchen adventures.
Sue’s notebook about Graham Muffins
Old Mrs. Rambler, who lives across the street from us (next to the McCarthy’s) has headaches and doesn’t like children. Probably that’s because she lives so close to so many of them. Ruth Ann and I keep thinking how nice it would be if she would only adopt Maxine McCarthy, the one with the beautiful tight curls, and perhaps Clarence Patrick, the well behaved boy, but so far nothing has come of the idea. The children bother her a lot and are always swinging on her gate when she isn’t looking just because it makes her so cross to have them do it. And I suppose she never notices which ones are good and which are bad.
So, with this introduction, anyone would understand how surprised I was when Ruth Ann said to Mother, “Aunt Bettina, would you mind if I carried six or eight of my nice fat muffins over to Mrs. Rambler?”
“But why Mrs. Rambler?” I asked in a surprised tone. “With all the McCarthys there who are always so hungry, why in the world would you slight them in favor of a cross crabbed woman who is simply rolling in money?”
Mother laughed. “Mrs. Rambler isn’t exactly rolling in money, dear,” she said. “And besides, everybody is always doing things for the McCarthys. Let Ruth Ann take her muffins wherever she wishes.”
“I want to give them to Mrs. Rambler because nobody ever thinks of her when the presents are going round,” Ruth Ann said, bravely. I guess she needs to be brave when she talks to me. I can be quite fierce and sarcastic at times.
“We’ll put the muffins in my pretty brown basket,” said Mother. “We’ll put a clean napkin in it first and then we’ll draw it up over the muffins to keep them warm while Ruth Ann is carrying them. You can leave the basket there, dear. Tell her Robin will call for it tomorrow.”
Ruth Ann and I went together on the errand of mercy (only I wasn’t very sympathetic) and Mrs. Rambler herself came to the door. “Here are some muffins for your lunch,” said Ruth Ann, handing them in. “Someone will call for the basket tomorrow.”
“I never have any appetite anymore,” said Mrs. Rambler, but she took the basked and thanked us for it very nicely. Maxine and Clifford were leaning over the fence when we came out. I guess they wondered why on earth we would be taking anything in a basket to old Mrs. Rambler when so many hungry children lived next door. But after all, the McCarthys have more fun than Mrs. Rambler does even if they are hungrier.
Recipe for Graham Muffins
Sometimes the storyline that appears in Sue’s notebook reads a bit odd. This was one of those entries. No explanation is given for Sue’s animosity towards Mrs. Rambler. Only that the neighborhood children annoy her and that this is somehow Mrs. Rambler’s fault. Like I said. Odd.
Here’s the recipe for Graham Muffins. You should be able to replace the graham flour with oat flour if you cannot tolerate wheat, and replace the white flour with 1 to 1 gluten free flour. The muffins will be quite a bit softer but they should still be tasty. The egg will help to hold them together.
- 1 cup Graham flour
- 1 ¼ cups white flour
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 4 Tbsp light brown sugar No lumps in it!
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 1 cup milk
- 2 Tbsp lard or butter, oil, etc.
- Never sift Graham flour! I learned that a long time ago when I was a little girl, so I rememebered today when we began to make our muffins. Mother had us each put the white flour, baking powder, sugar and salt through the flour sifter, and then add the Graham flour. You see, if you sift Graham flour it takes away all the bran part that is so good for you.
- Well, after we had all the dry things mixed together, we each beat up an egg in a bowl with a Dover egg beater and then added the milk to the egg. Then Mother had us melt the lard the way she does in order to save dishes. She had us light the oven and each warm up a muffin pan in it. Then we each measured out our two level tablespoons of lard in one of the little muffin places. Then we dipped a piece of clean brown paper in the lard and with it, we greased the other muffin compartments. (Of course the one that held the lard was already greased.)
- Then we emptied the melted lard and the egg and milk in the bowl and with the other things and stirred them all together very thoroughly. (I'm growing a lot of muscle with all this beating!)
- Then Mother had us fill the greased muffin pans with the batter. Each little compartment had to be only about half full, and the recipe made twelve muffins. Then we baked them in a moderate oven for about twenty minutes and they were done. [moderate oven = 350º F]