Let’s Talk About Grain Flavors & Pairings

I developed a Wheat Flavor Wheel as a tool to help encourage the dialogue around discovering the flavor profiles of wheat and grain varieties. It will be a work in progress for probably as long as I am milling and baking! However, it’s a good start. Since Einkorn was most recently featured as part of this exploration I thought it would make sense to build off of that and share a little bit about how I use what I smell and taste in a grain variety to either select recipes or create new ones. With the help of some new illustrations by Ashley Leon (@ashleyleonsworld on Instagram) I’d love to continue the conversation and share a new recipe. If you haven’t already, you can read the original Einkorn Flavor Wheel post here: https://www.gristandtoll.com/celebrating-einkorn-mother-grains/.

In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m absolutely in love with Einkorn. It is an incredible grain and mills to a whole grain flour that feels so velvety and soft. As the Wheat Flavor Wheel points out, I can taste and smell malted milk powder, kettle corn, cereal and biscuits in the flour. Lately, I’ve been working on integrating less refined sugar in some recipes for an outside project. Piloncillo (aka Panela, an unrefined, whole can sugar typically sold in small, compact cones to be grated or chopped) has become a fast favorite. Freshly grated, the texture is soft and velvety with flavors that fall more in the caramel/butterscotch family than molasses, as we taste in regular brown or dark brown sugar. I thought piloncillo would go hand-in-hand with Einkorn, especially in a baked good that relies heavily on toasty, warm, buttery flavors: blondies.

Some of my favorite pairing ingredients for Einkorn flour include browned butter, butterscotch, milk chocolate, vanilla and tahini. I’ve used several of them in the recipe shared below: browned butter, butterscotch (the piloncillo), tahini (the halva), and vanilla. If you can’t find piloncillo, it’s absolutely fine to use brown sugar. Feel free to swap out the cubed halva for a favorite Einkorn pairing ingredient of your own. Some other inclusions that would be great here include:
-chopped milk chocolate or white chocolate
-chopped nuts (hazelnuts or pecans especially)
-dried cherries
-chopped dates

Yield = one 9-inch square pan, 12 servings

7 oz unsalted butter, 14 Tbsp
1 1/4 C grated piloncillo or light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp kosher salt
2 large eggs
2 C G&T Einkorn flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 C chopped or crumbled halva, or your favorite mix-ins
1/4 tsp flaky salt for sprinkling on top

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Line a 9×9″ baking pan with parchment.
2. Brown the butter: melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the butter solids become golden brown and the butter smells nutty. Usually at this point, the melted butter has become actively foamy and you can see the browned butter flecks bubbling up in the foam – pay close attention as it can go from browned to burned very quickly. Transfer immediately to a medium sized mixing bowl to cool slightly.
3. Add the grated piloncillo, or brown sugar, to the browned butter, along with the vanilla and salt.
4. Whisk in one egg at a time.
5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the Einkorn flour and baking powder, then fold this mixture into the batter along with the halva or other mix-ins.
6. Scrape into prepared pan, smooth the top and sprinkle with flaky salt.
7. Bake 20-24 minutes, until set and slightly puffy but still a little soft in the center. Better to be on the softer, slightly underbaked side rather than too dry. Cool before slicing and removing from pan.

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