Apple and blueberry muffins

Maybe it’s because The Great British Bake off is back on the TV or maybe because I’m getting my baking mojo back, whatever the reason I am rediscovering why I enjoyed baking. I am not making as detailed cakes as I once used but opting for quick bakes that can easily fit into my daily routine and still taste good; muffins, biscuits even bread that doesn’t take a great length of time. You’ll have noticed that I occasionally dabble in eggless baking, the texture and taste is different to that of an egg based cake but only those who are cake connoisseurs or are told about the lack of egg would most likely notice the difference. 

Tuesday night I had Bake Off on in the background but not sure if other avid fans of this television show feel the same but this series isn’t holding my interest. I was on in the background while I busied myself experimenting with a new recipe I had found for blueberry and apple muffins through Google from netmums.comApple Blueberry muffin batter_WebThe mixture looked ok, I don’t think I over mixed the batter and it definitely looked lumpy as the recipe said it should. Where I fell down was the timing, every oven is different but I think I just have a special one that either wants to cook food too quickly or wants to take its time, in this case it was the latter. The recipe said the muffins should take about 10-12 minutes to cook on gas mark 6, mine took about 16-18 minutes. I was concerned about overbaking them as they started to brown but when poked with a skewer there was still a bit of wet mixture attached.

Apple blueberry muffin_WebThe end result was better than I expected, I did think they felt a bit soft but were cooked but that can happen with additional liquid from fruit but they were holding their shape and not falling apart when they were removed from their cupcake cases. As always I have willing guinea pigs who give honest reviews, my work colleagues;

  • the blueberries gave a jammy texture
  • it was light with a nice texture
  • they were a bit soggy probably caused by the apple but tasted nice!  

Here is the Netmums recipe if you want to try it out.

Ingredients

  • 256g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 220g soft light brown sugar
  • 1 apple (large)
  • 150g raspberries
  • 2 eggs
  • 120ml milk
  • 50g unsalted butter, melted

Method

  • Pre-heat the oven to 200’C/400’F/Gas mark 6
  • Line a muffin tin with muffin cases
  • In a large bowl mix all the dry ingredients together
  • Beat the milk and egg together lightly, add the melted butter and then add the apples and raspberries
  • Mix gently into the dried ingredients until just combined (the mixture will look lumpy, but that’s okay!)
  • Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden, well risen and firm to touch
  • Remove from the oven and cool in the tray for 5 minutes, then remove from the tray and leave to thoroughly cool on a wire rack

 

Advertisements

Do you know the muffin woman?

Weekends go so quickly, one minute it’s Saturday next thing you know you’re getting ready to go to work that’s including the day off I had Friday! The day off was to go see a friend who had her first child in November, I had already sent presents for the new born but didn’t want to go empty handed so of course I baked something. I would have made a candle but my I’m not confident in my candle making skills just yet.

Crumble topped raspberry muffin

cupcakes_muffinsLooking through my cookbooks; Cupcakes & Muffins,  I found a crumble topped raspberry muffin recipe that I hadn’t made before. I thought it would be nice to try something new, the crumble topping isn’t difficult to make but I know from making apple crumbles that the topping can sometimes be a bit too sweet. These turned out better than I expected. as you can see from the picture I put a bit too much mixture in a few of the cases resulting in some of the muffins spreading and trying to escape the tray!20170120_092256

Below is the recipe if you want to make these soft delicious muffins. Experiment with different berries, I haven’t tried it myself yet but fruit flavoured yogurt could work.

Ingredients
Makes 12 Muffins

6 tbsp sunflower oil or 85g / 3 oz butter, melted and cooled, plus extra for greasing.

280g / 10 oz plain flour

1 tbsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda

pinch of salt

115g / 4 oz caster sugar

2 eggs (I had large eggs so used them)

250 ml / 9 fl oz natural yogurt

1 tsp vanilla extract

150g / 5 1/2 oz frozen raspberries

Crumble Topping

50g / 1 1/4 oz plain flower

35 g / 1 1/4 oz butter, cut into pieces

2 tbsp. caster sugar

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 C / 400 F/ Gas Mark 6. Grease a 12 hole muffin tin. (I used muffin cases)

For the crumble topping, place the flower into a bowl. Add the butter and rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and set aside.

To make the muffins, sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar.

Place the eggs in a large jug or bowl and beat lightly, then beat in the yogurt, oil and vanilla extract.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, pour in the beaten liquid ingredients and add the raspberries.

Stir gently until just combined, don’t over mix. Spoon the mixture into the muffin tin. Scatter the crumble topping over each muffin and then press down lightly.

Bake in the reheated oven for 20 minutes, or until well risen, golden brown and firm to the touch.

leave to cool in the tin for five minutes then serve warm or transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

20170121_160748Chocolate chip muffins

I was on a bit of a baking roll also making a few chocolate chip muffins. I have a go to fool proof chocolate chip muffin recipe courtesy of Allrecipes.co.uk that always comes out soft and perfect each time, even when a few chocolate chip get a bit burnt on top!

If you can’t be bothered to click on the link, below is the recipe.

Ingredients
Makes 12 Muffins

250g plain flour

200g caster sugar

125g chocolate chips

45g cocoa powder

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 egg

235ml plain yogurt

120ml milk

120ml vegetable oil

40g chocolate chips

Method

Preheat oven to 200 C/ Gas 6. Line a muffin tray with paper cases.

Combine flour, caster sugar, 125g chocolate chips, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda in a large bowl.

Whisk egg, yogurt, milk and vegetable oil in another bowl until smooth; pour into chocolate mixture and stir until mixture is just blended.

Fill paper muffin cases 3/4 full and sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips. (Sometimes I sprinkle the chocolate chips on top, sometimes I add them all in with the flour)

Bake in preheated oven until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

Cool in the tray for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire cooling rack.

The baking cinnamon challenge is on!

Want to take part in a cinnamon challenge?

No, I don’t mean the stupid one where the challenger is filmed ‘swallowing a spoonful of ground cinnamon in under 60 seconds without drinking anything, then upload the video to the Internet. I’m talking about the baking kind.

I’ve previously mentioned the jar of cinnamon a friend bought me whilst on a recent trip to Costco. I don’t want to waste any of this spice so have decided to try and make at least one baked treat a week that contains cinnamon. I’ve kicked started off this self imposed challenge with a walnut and cinnamon muffin, and a sultana and cinnamon bread. The muffins were a 20140811_Walnut_CinnamonMuffins[1]first for me and turned out well. There bread, though pretty looking is a bit on the dense side. Every time I try to make this bread something goes a bit wrong 20140811_CinnamonBread[1]hence the brick effect this time round.

Even though my ‘bread’ did turn out stodgy and could be used as a weapon according to my taste testers the flavours were there and weren’t adverse from taking another bit. I have not given up hope of making a decent cinnamon bread, it just didn’t happen this time.

Another plus side of baking with cinnamon is  my house smelt nice and dare I say it, even a bit homely and cosy whilst the weather outside had turned nasty with wind and rain!

I really need to work on choosing ‘nice’ backgrounds for my baking pictures, in my defence it was about 9.30 and I my adrenaline levels were nearly depleted. Ok, that sounds more like an excuse but…hmm it’s the best reason I’ve got for now!

I will post the recipe I used for the walnut and cinnamon muffins at some point.

I have some cinnamon related recipes to keep me going for now I just hope I and whoever become my guinea pigs don’t get sick and tired of cinnamon or develop some kind of allergy to the spice!

I’ve already inspired a work colleague to take part in the cinnamon challenge, or I should say his wife who he texted asking for some cinnamon related baked goodies.

Do you have any go to cinnamon related recipes, don’t be shy, share! 😀

Week 4 cake decorating course / Muffin Monday.

This week’s class was spent taking our piping skills to the next level and piping animals and objects out of royal icing using a plain nozzle. From the pictures you can see the teachers duck and swan look very elegant. I was getting the hang of the ducks, but my swan just looked like a creature from another world – a swan with fangs! It all comes down to practice something I need to start doing at home.20130928_120409[1]

Apart from the class which went well the rest of the weekend was a bit of a baking disaster.

Don’t ask me why but I got it into my head that I was going to have a go at making jam. Let’s just say Martha Stewart I’m not! I think I overworked the jam it’s become hard and more like boiled sweets and not the traditional jammy consistency.20130930_Jam[1] It did taste nice before I put it into the jar and became a rock, my next task will be to get it out of the jar!

I experimented with making apple and cinnamon muffins. Tasted ok, bit dry and crumbly. 20130930_SunkenChocMuffin[1]The chocolate muffins, a recipe I found online, well they looked a bit pitiful and the chocolate chips sunk to the bottom but tasted really good. I don’t think my oven was hot enough hence a concave look. I’ve found a new recipe for the apple and cinnamon muffins and will give the chocolate muffin recipe another try.

I normally use the usual self raising and plain flour but one of the girls I work with has a gluten free diet, so I usually have gluten free products lying around. If it wasn’t for the fact that gluten free flour is so much more expensive than normal flour I would probably cook with it all the time. It would make life easier.

I thinking that Mondays are going to be ‘Muffin Mondays’. It would be something to look forward to, if I can get the muffins right. 😉

Week 3 of cake decorating course

This past weekend’s cake decorating class went well. I definitely need more practice with my piping skills, but I am getting there little by little.20130921_115002_PipingIcingTopCake[1] Although it is a bit of polystyrene I’m thinking of investing in a dummy cake and using it to practice on.20130921_115034_PipingIcingCakeSide[1] Practicing on a flat surface it very different to practicing on a cake, the shape and angles are all different.

Not working on the actual cake just yet, we are still in the process covering the cake in a number of layers of royal icing to get that polished look. This takes a bit of time as we leave the icing to dry ready for the next layer. Have to admit that I am getting better smoothing off the cake, last time my hands wouldn’t spread out enough on the smoother to give an even look, this week my child like hands decided to do as they were told.

Two hours of piping was more than enough as my hands started cramping up. Though I am thinking this could be a nice technique to use on my sister’s baby shower cake (which I will hopefully get round to making!).

As much as I like baking cupcakes and decorating them they can be time consuming whereas muffins, two bowls mix the wet ingredients with the dry using a wooden spoon, spoon into the cake cases and bake for about 20-25 minutes. coffee-cups-for-your-usage_7814Perfect to fix the sugar pangs, and to go with steaming mug of tea. I know I have a tea problem, some would go as far as to say it’s an addiction but who cares, if it gets me to function enough throughout the day that’s good enough for me!

I tried out a cinnamon muffin recipe and brought them into work on Monday. I clearly hadn’t made enough as they were gone within half an hour! I’m going to make up another batch also adding some sultana’s and apple to see how they go.

Proof is in the Banana Muffin

In my last baking related blog ‘Just because it looks like a chocolate brownie doesn’t mean it tastes like a chocolate brownie’, I talked about a missing baking recipe book. This all signing all dancing baking book has been found!

Who had it all along? The same person who denied all knowledge about the whereabouts of said book…yes it was my mum. Parents, what can you do about them, can’t live with them, and can’t live without them.

This weekend I discovered how much a leak in my roof was going to cost to repair, I’ll spare you the details. Needless to say if I’m to continue to have little sweet treats I’m going to have to make them myself. It works out cheaper and once I master the techniques I’m hoping will taste nicer. I’m also going to need to make full use of my gym membership!

With the reappearance of the baking book the banana cake recipe found on Pinterest has been put on the back burner. I did still make some banana muffins which turned out quite nice. I thought they were a bit dry but others thought otherwise, I think they were being polite.

The problem I have when baking is I can’t eat it all myself and unless my siblings are feeling brave I’m have plenty left over.

So I decided to be all caring and sharing. From a batch of 12 I had about 4 left over. Gave 3 to my sister and my parents had one each and I ate 3, leaving me with 4 muffins to test out on the  two guys that sit next to me at work. As far as I know they have not suffered and adverse side effects as a result they have agreed to be my guinea pigs for future experiments.

My next baking expedition is to be chocolate chip cookies. Wish me luck!