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Category Archives: Muffins

Apple and Rosemary Muffins with Lemon Glaze



My go-to recipe for muffins these days is Matt Stone’s wonderful Greenhouse muffin recipe, blogged here.  His book The Natural Cook Maximum Taste Zero Waste is one of my favourite reference cookbooks at the moment. This recipe works well, as Matt suggests letting the mixture sit in the fridge overnight to let the flour hydrate and the flavours deepen. The resulting texture and taste are exceptional!

I’m experimenting with different flavours for this recipe. This recipe features rosemary, a fragrant woody herb, which gives the muffins a lovely intense aromatic flavour. I’ve used  apples, and lots of cinnamon and ground ginger. I drizzled the muffins with a lemon icing, which complements the rosemary beautifully.

Ingredients

4 free-range eggs

280g raw sugar

200g apples, unpeeled and grated

150ml vegetable oil

10g chopped fresh rosemary

300g  or wholemeal plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp salt

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Enough icing sugar to make a lemon icing that will glaze the muffins, and drip a little over the sides

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees fan-forced 180 degrees non fan-forced.

Whisk the eggs together in a large mixing bowl and once things start to get foamy, slowly begin to pour in the sugar. Keep whisking until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has doubled in size. Whisk in the apple, oil and chopped rosemary. Use a spatula to gently fold in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt.

The mixture can be baked straight away, but Matt suggests leaving it in the fridge overnight. This will give the flour a chance to hydrate and the baking powder to activate, resulting in a more consistent muffin texture. The mix will keep for 3–4 days in the fridge too.

Grease a 12-hole standard muffin tin and line the holes with squares of baking paper. Spoon in the muffin mixture and press it down to the level of the tin.

I used my fancy new Silverwood molds instead – available pretty easily in the UK, but if you’re in Australia like me, you will need to go to Blackwood Lane in Melbourne to buy them. If you want to use a fancy mold, my advice is to butter and flour very carefully to avoid the muffins sticking. I actually butter the molds, stick in the fridge for 10 minutes, then butter again, and finally flour.

Here is a photo of the molds I used:


Place the tray in the oven and cook for about 20 minutes, checking with a skewer to see if the muffins are cooked.

Once cooked, remove the muffins from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 5–10 minutes. Remove them from the tin, peel off the baking paper and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the lemon glaze, mix the lemon juice with enough icing sugar to achieve the desired consistency.

Spoon the lemon glaze over the muffins, allowing a little to drop down the sides.


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Fig and Frangipane Muffins

 

 

Here’s another muffin recipe – I’m always experimenting with ingredients and tweaking recipes to create new taste and texture sensations.

Figs are plentiful in early autumn in Sydney, and a colleague brought me some beautiful bounty from the Southern Highlands from her very own fig tree. Lucky Ms L to have a tree bearing such luscious treats!

This recipe is based on one from Mike McKenearney’s “Kitchen by Mike” see here for details – with a bit of method thrown in from Matt Stone’s Greenhouse Muffins and my own flavour combo of fresh figs, stem ginger and frangipane.

Ingredients

150g plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Pinch of sea salt

80g butter, softened

65ml vegetable oil

150g caster sugar

2 free-range eggs

75ml buttermilk (or ordinary milk with a good squeeze of lemon juice added)

6 fresh figs

6 pieces stem ginger, finely chopped

1/2 quantity of frangipane

A couple of teaspoonfuls of a good jam – apricot works well

Handful of flaked almonds, toasted

Frangipane

100g unsalted butter

100g caster sugar

1 free-range egg

Method

These quantities make 6 big muffins. You could probably get 8 or so daintier muffins from the mixture.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line a six-hole muffin tin with baking paper or paper cases.

In an electric mixer, whisk the butter, oil and sugar until smooth, and the sugar has dissolved. The mixture should look creamy.

Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Slowly add the buttermilk or lemon-soured milk.

Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into another bowl and then add  1/2 cup of the flour mixture and whisk on a low speeed until smooth. Be careful not to overmix and this will toughen the muffins.

Fold in the remaining flour mixture, again being careful not to overmix.

Chop 4 of the figs into quarters and then half each quarter. Carefully fold the chopped figs and the chopped stem ginger into the muffin mixture and then spoon evenly into the baking papers or muffin cases.

To make the frangipane, cream the butter and caster sugar in a food processor, add the egg and ground almonds and process until smooth. (You will only need 1/2 this quantity, if that).

Mix a good teaspoonful of the frangipane into each muffin. It doesn’t matter if it’s not mixed in too well – it’s nice to have an almond surprise in the centre of the muffin!

Bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool in the muffin tin for 10 minutes, then transfer the muffins to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.

When the muffins are cool, brush the top of each muffin with jam, then sprinkle on some toasted flaked almonds.

I decorated with slices of the remaining 2 figs. It would be nice too, to bake some fig slices on the top of the muffins. My track record of having baked fruit pieces stay on top of muffins and cakes is not good! They always sink. So I content myself with decorating the baked goods with fresh fruit.

Serve on their own or maybe with a spoonful of Greek yoghurt.

 

Nectarine, Zucchini and Apple Muffins

 

img_5282img_5280Here’s another riff on my latest muffin recipe, Matt Stone’s beautiful Greenhouse Muffins from his book “The Natural Cook Maximum Taste Zero Waste”, see here to buy the book.

Matt’s recipe uses carrots and apple. I substituted zucchini (courgettes) for the carrot, and added nectarine slices inside the mix and also as decoration on the top.

Ingredients

4 eggs

280g raw sugar

200g zucchini unpeeled and grated

1 apple unpeeled and grated

1 nectarine chopped into small pieces

150ml vegetable oil

100g nuts, roughly chopped –  pecans, walnuts, almonds would be good. I used pecans.

300g plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp salt

Topping

50g cold butter

70g plain flour

50g rolled oats

50g sunflower seeds

3 tsp honey

1 nectarine cut into thin slices

Method

Whisk the eggs together in a large mixing bowl until they are frothy. Slowly pour in the sugar. Keep whisking until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has doubled in size. Whisk in the zucchini , apple, oil and nuts. Using a spatula,  gently fold in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Lastly gently fold in the nectarine pieces.

The mixture can be baked straight away but Matt suggests leaving it in the fridge overnight. This will give the flour a chance to hydrate and the baking powder to activate, resulting in a more consistent muffin texture. The mix will keep for 3–4 days in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. For the topping, place the cold butter and flour in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips. Add the oats and seeds and mix well, then mix in the honey to create a crumble-type mixture.

Grease a 12-hole standard muffin tin and line the holes with squares of baking paper. Spoon in the muffin mixture and press it down to the level of the tin.

Cover the top of the muffins with the crumble  topping and place 2 or 3 nectarine slices on top of the crumble. Place the tray in the oven and cook for about 25 minutes. After  15 minutes check the muffins using a skewers and test  for “doneness”. My experience has been that they will need another  5-10 minutes, so keep checking until you are sure they are cooked.

When done, take the muffins out of the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 5–10 minutes. Then finish cooling on a wire rack. They keep fine in their paper wraps, making them easy to store  and transport.

 

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Cinnamon Buttermilk Muffins

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I have just discovered the secret to great muffins – keeping the mixture in the fridge overnight or longer before baking. Matt Stone in his fabulous book “The Natural Cook Maximum Taste Zero Waste” gives this tip in his recipe for Greenhouse Muffins, which I recently wrote up in a post, see here. This trick of leaving the mixture in the fridge definitely gives the muffins their gorgeous flavour.

My other discovery came about when I realised that I didn’t have any buttermilk. You just add lemon juice to milk to create the separation process. So easy!

My recipe uses ground cinnamon and cinnamon honey. I bought this honey made by Beelish Honey (http://www.beelish.com.au/) at a hand-made market in the Hunter Valley recently.  It has an unusual strong cinnamon flavour. You can just use ordinary honey instead and maybe add a little more cinnamon to the mixture.

Ingredients
1 Granny Smith apple or similar tart apple
150 gms self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bi-carb soda
50 gms almond meal
50 gms rolled oats
75 gms dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
50 gms melted butter
1 egg, beaten
225 mls buttermilk or semi-skimmed milk with the juice of half a lemon
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
1 tsp cinnamon honey or ordinary honey
2 handfuls sour cherries or cranberries or raisins

Crumble topping
50g cold butter
70g plain flour
50g rolled oats
3 tsp honey

Method
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.  Line a 6 cup muffin tin with muffin papers or grease muffin pan.
Mix flour, baking powder, bi-carb soda, almond meal, rolled oats, dark brown sugar and ground cinnamon in a large bowl.
Combine melted butter, egg, buttermilk, vanilla paste and cinnamon honey or ordinary honey in another bowl.
Stir the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients, being careful not to over mix.
Fold in the chopped apple and cherries or other dried fruit. Ideally, if you can, leave the muffin mixture overnight for the flavours to develop. This will give the flour a chance to hydrate and the baking powder to activate, resulting in a more consistent muffin texture. The mix will keep for 3–4 days in the fridge.                                                                                   Fill the 6 muffin cup muffin tin with the mixture.
For the crumble topping, place the cold butter and flour in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips. Add the oats, mix well, then mix in the honey. Cover the top of the muffins with the crumbly topping mixture.
Bake for about 25-35 minutes in the preheated oven. Check after 25 minutes with the skewer test, but they will probably need a further 5 -10 minutes. These are quite big muffins and need decent cooking time.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Serve with lashing of butter and maybe a little honey!

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Plum and Cranberry Soda Bread Muffins

 

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I wasn’t quite sure what to call these muffins! They are inspired by the recipe for Irish soda bread but, like all good muffins, are fruit filled and quite moist.

They came about when I was researching soda bread and found this great recipe from Jack Monroe for Rhubarb and Ginger Soda Bread from her blog Cooking on a Bootstrap. I was very impressed with her helpful suggestion about how to make a buttermilk substitute, by adding lemon juice to ordinary milk. I also liked that she added rhubarb to the traditional soda bread recipe.

So I decided to make muffins, using the main ingredients for soda bread – flour, bi-carb and lemon juice soured milk as the buttermilk substitute. I added an egg, as muffin recipes really need that enrichment.

My recipe has both fresh fruit and dried fruit. I think both are good – I suggest you go with whatever is seasonal for the fresh fruit, and any fried fruit would work well.

These muffins have no butter or oil, so are quite healthy. You could cut right down on the sugar if you really wanted a super-good-for-you muffin.

The result was moist, full of gorgeous spices and delicious on its own. A little yoghurt with the muffin would be nice, or even butter…!

Ingredients

200mls semi-skimmed milk
Juice of half a lemon
250g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 free-range egg lightly beaten
3 plums (chopped) or any other stone fruit or other fruit such as apples or pears
2 tbls dried cranberries or other dried fruit
100gms brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Demerara sugar for sprinkling.

Method

Preheat oven to 170 degrees C or 160 degrees C fan forced. Line 6 silicon muffin moulds with muffin papers. If you don’t have these moulds, use an ordinary 6 hole muffin tin. Or you can use a smaller 12 cup muffin tin for daintier muffins.
Pour the milk into a jug or a cup and squeeze in the lemon juice. Leave to stand for a minute or two to allow the milk to curdle. Add the beaten egg.
In a large bowl, combine the flour and bicarb and briefly mix through. Add the chopped plums, with the dried cranberries. Stir in the sugar and spices.
Make a well in the centre of the flour/fruit ingredients and pour in the curdled milk, lemon and egg mixture.
Stir together, remembering not to overmix as muffins definitely need only rough mixing.
Spoon the mixture into muffin cases in your moulds or tin. Just before putting into the oven, sprinkle the tops of the muffins with demerara sugar for added crunch.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the muffin comes out clean.
Serve warm on their own or with yogurt or butter.

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Sweet Potato Muffins – Jamie Oliver’s Everyday Super Food

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These muffins, from Jamie Oliver‘s book Everyday Super Food look great in the photos, and the recipe sounds quite intriguing. I’m a huge fan of sweet muffins and make loads of them. They’re a great go-to item when you’re asked to provide breakfast on the run for colleagues at work.

But the idea of a savoury muffin also appeals, and as sweet potato, one of my favourite vegetables, is the star of this recipe, I was keen to have a go! So I made my first batch and was pleased with the result.  This recipe contains my amendments to Jamie’s recipe – see here for the original. My changes were not made on taste or aesthetic grounds – I needed to substitute some ingredients as I didn’t have the items… The main substitution was using yoghurt instead of cottage cheese.  The yoghurt was non-fat so I felt even more virtuous for making the change!

Ingredients

Olive oil

600g sweet potatoes

2 eschallots

1 fresh red chillies or 1 tsp chilli paste

6 large free-range eggs

3 tbls non-fat yoghurt

250g wholemeal self-raising flour

50g Parmesan cheese

2 tbls mixed seeds (I used pepita and sesame)

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases or 15cm folded squares of grease proof paper, then lightly spray with non-stick spray or wipe each one with oiled kitchen paper. Peel the sweet potatoes and coarsely grate into a large bowl. Finely chop the eschallots and the fresh chilli if using. Add the eschallots, chopped chilli or chilli paste to the bowl. Crack in the eggs, add the yoghurt and flour, then finely grate in most of the Parmesan cheese and season with sea salt and black pepper. Mix until combined.

Evenly divide the muffin mixture between the cases. Sprinkle over the seed. Use the remaining Parmesan cheese to scatter over each muffin, then bake at the bottom of the oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until golden and set.

Serve warm straight from the oven, or leave to cool to room temperature. They taste lovely as is, but you could also dress them up with a green salad as a lunch or picnic dish.

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Blueberry Granola Dust Muffins

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A huge fan of the muffin, I have lately changed my “go-to” basic muffin recipe. As a fan of the baker James Morton, whose bread prowess I have talked about a lot on this blog, I recently acquired his latest book How Baking Works (And What to do When it Doesn’t):

http://www.amazon.com/How-Baking-Works-What-Doesnt/dp/009195990X

He has much to say about, well, how baking works, and lots of tips for the trickier aspects of baking.

I thought I had muffin-making down pat, using The Moosewood Cookbook recipe which has been my staple since forever, but James’ tips about weighing all ingredients, even the liquids, and a few other good pointers, have given me some inspiration to try his muffin-making method from the above book.

To make a really healthy muffin, I substituted wholemeal flour for white, added Granola DustJamie Oliver‘s pulverized granola mix from his Everyday Super Foods – and lots of seeds. I substituted honey for sugar. A very tasty and fruity muffin and good for you too!

But you could use sugar, and completely leave out the Granola Dust and seeds if you like  – they both add texture and a nice nutty taste but are not essential – and this recipe still produces a great blueberry muffin. Maybe bump-up the flour by 20g if you leave out the Granola Dust and seeds.

Ingredients

250g wholemeal plain flour

1 1/2tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

A  pinch of salt

40g Granola Dust (optional)

30g mixed seeds (eg poppy, sesame, chia, linseed) (optional)

150g blueberries

100g honey or golden caste rugar

1 free-range egg

100g milk semi-skimmed or full fat milk

100g natural yoghurt

100g sunflower oil

150g blueberries

Method

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C, 160 degrees C fan-forced.  Line a 12 hole muffin tin with muffin papers, or grease the tin with butter or oil spray.

In one bowl, add the flour, baking powder, bi-carb, salt, Granola Dust and seeds, mixing carefully to integrate the dry ingredients. Add the blueberries and mix to coat the fruit. Be careful not to break up the fruit.

In another bowl, whisk together the sugar, egg, milk, yoghurt and sunflower oil.

Pour all the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and, using a wooden or large metal spoon, gently mix everything together. Make sure all the floury mix is combined,  but be careful not to over mix.  No flour should be visible, but the batter should still seem lumpy.

Divide the mixture evenly into the papers or tins, and bake for about 20-30 minutes depending on the size of the muffins (bigger muffins take longer). When done, they should be golden brown and should bounce back when pressed firmly. Or carefully insert a skewer into the centre of the muffin and see if it comes out clean the muffins are cooked.

Cool the muffins in the tin before eating, advice I’m not particularly good at heeding!

I served my muffins with Greek style yoghurt and honey. Healthy and delicious.

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