Imagine a vast empty dessert. All you see is sand. Dull, boring sand. The same could be said about regular refined white granulated sugar. There is nothing special about it. The only taste to it is sweet. All the flavor has been processed away. And yet it has been a staple item in my pantry along with confectioners, brown, and turbinado. Now I’ve discovered Morena and I baked pecan muffins to showcase it’s flavor.
What is Morena sugar? It is an all-natural, unrefined, and non-GMO pure cane sugar. It’s made by squeezing and evaporating sugar cane juice. It has a light golden color. The crystals are a smidgen larger than refined white. What counts is the flavor. If you have ever chewed on sugar cane you will know exactly how this tastes. The subtle flavor is similar to caramel or molasses or a cross between the two.
I took my time to find a good recipe to use Morena. I’m sure the nice folks at Zulka wondered what took me so long. They had sent a sample bag several weeks ago. Cookies were a possibility although I already had made Cuban Sugar Cookies. I also recently baked a Orange Blueberry Yogurt Bundt cake. Then I realized it has been a long time since I made muffins. The question then was which ones to make. I wanted something simple and where the flavor of the sugar would shine.
Pecan muffins fit the bill. I thought about sugared pecans and how the combination works so well. There would not be chocolate or cinnamon or fruit overpowering the cane sugar flavor. The result exceeded my expectations. The muffins have a crunch from the pecans and a slight taste of praline from the Morena sugar. They are small muffins and are best served a little warm with butter.
There is a new staple sugar in my pantry. I will use Morena for baking when I want the added pure cane sugar flavor. It is what will be in my sugar shaker. In case you don’t know about a sugar shaker, it is something my family always had in the cabinet. It is for serving sugar with beverages instead of cubes or in a bowl. I have two and they both came from Germany.
- 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- ½ cup Morena sugar (or firmly packed brown sugar)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup whole milk, at room temperature
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 12-cup muffin pan.
- Add flour, pecans, sugar, baking powder, and salt to a large bowl. Whisk to combine.
- Add milk, butter, eggs, and vanilla to a medium bowl. Whisk to combine.
- Pour the liquid mixture into the large bowl of dry ingredients. Stir until just moistened.
- Divide batter equally into the 12 muffin cups.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until light brown around the edges and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Invert pan to remove muffins. Serve and enjoy!
Recipe adapted from one in the Southern Living 1983 Annual Recipes cookbook.
Disclosure: I received a 4 pound bag of Zulka Morena sugar at no charge. I was under no obligation to give a positive review. All opinions are my own unless otherwise stated or contained within a guest post.