sourdough english muffins & sweet cashew crème

on monday, david and i both started exciting new jobs. hurrah! he took on a long term sub position teaching high school math, while i started up with a fabulous new client as a personal chef. i've been so excited about taking on more clients, i can hardly fall asleep at night... while seeking self employment, it can be hard to switch gears and turn off your 'work mode.' there is always something more you can do and i can't seem to stop my brain from planning menus or pondering avenues of networking i could pursue. but it is all out of pure excitement! my counselor gift me a mug years ago that says it best: "life isn't about finding yourself. life is about creating yourself"...

unrelated... here's a little insight about me: i am incapable of choosing between sweet and savory for breakfast. i cannot just have one or the other, i must have both. this typically results in making savory eggs and kale with toast loaded with jam. recently though, i've been making weekly batches of sourdough english muffins. i am exponentially happier as a person with my constant supply of homemade english muffins. i highly recommend you find a friend, like my lovely band mate jessie, who has a sourdough starter and follow the recipe she shared with me from her family. or be brave, and follow this link to learn more about starting your own sourdough culture. i have no experience or tips to give you, other than i once failed at making a rye sourdough starter. so good luck. long story short, i think i love english muffins so much more because once split in half, you get two opportunities for toppings! one for sweet. one for savory. today's english muffin featured smashed avocado with sliced radish, and the other half was smothered in sweet raw cashew crème and blackberry jam. 

sweet cashew crème ~ makes 2 cups
2 cups raw cashews
1/8 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

soak cashews in water for 2 hours. strain and add soaked cashews to blender with remaining ingredients. blend until smooth and slightly fluffy. serve plain on toast or with banana or jam.

sourdough english muffins ~ makes 8-10
2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon active yeast
2 teaspoons salt
2/3 cup lukewarm milk (or water for vegan option) 
2 tablespoons oil or butter
1 tablespoon honey or sugar
coarse cornmeal

using a stand mixer & paddle, or large bowl with wooden spoon - mix together starter, flour, yeast & salt. once combined, add remaining ingredients and mix until a ball starts to form. pour dough onto floured surface and kneed for a few minutes, adding up to 1/2 cup extra flour, until tacky but not overly sticky. place dough in a clean bowl with a teaspoon of oil, rolling dough in oil to coat exposed surface. cover with a towel and let rise for 2-3 hours (longer if your home is very cold).

return risen dough to floured surface and cut into 8 or 10 evenly-sized pieces (keep in mind they will expand slightly) gently roll each piece in your palms to form smooth dough balls. place back on floured surface and let rest for 30 minutes.

preheat one or two large cast iron skillets over medium low heat for about 10 minutes. then sprinkle a large handful of coarse cornmeal onto each skillet. place as many dough balls as you can fit onto skillets, allowing for an inch between each muffin. cooke over low heat for 10-15 minutes, rotating once, then flip and continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes until both sides are gently browned.

let cool and store in airtight container. to serve, cut in half or pry open an english muffin and toast the inside until lightly crisp. without toasting, the inside will still be a bit doughy. serve with coconut oil, jam, butter, smashed avocado... whatever you like!