Zucchini muffins

When you haven’t got a lot of time, and you want to bake something that you know is going to work, then I can’t recommend muffins highly enough. And these ones have so much going for them: perfect snack size, hidden vegies, not too much sugar, easy to adapt to dairy-free, they can be frozen… They are also toddler-friendly, according to my 2-year-old daughter, who has figured out how to get them down from the kitchen bench!

IMG_0044

I make them in a small muffin/standard cupcake size tray, but you could make them as giant Texas-style muffins if you wanted – just increase the cooking time a bit. I also like to use individual silicon liners because they’re so easy to turn out, which is particularly good if you want to freeze the muffins.

IMG_0042

125g butter, melted
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 cup finely grated zucchini
2 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground allspice

Whisk the butter, eggs, milk, sugar and chia seeds together in a small bowl. In a larger bowl combine the flour, flaxseed, baking powder and allspice. Add the zucchini and toss lightly to coat. Make a well in the centre and pour in the butter mixture. Mix briefly until just combined – remember that muffins work best when worked quickly and the mixture isn’t beaten too much. Spoon into muffin tins and bake in a preheated 180C oven for about 20-25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

If you want to make these dairy free you could switch the butter for coconut oil and the milk for coconut milk. Another tasty thing to do would be to add 1/2 cup sultanas or chopped walnuts to the mix!

IMG_0043

Cherry Ripe Muffins

Last week I had an idea for cherry ripe muffins, so this weekend I was compelled to make them. I need to have these kind of ideas more often, because the resulting muffins are AMAZING! Rich and chocolatey, with bursts of cherry pieces and coconut, they taste just like their namesake chocolate bars. Even the batter tasted incredible.

1 2/3 cups self raising flour
½ cup caster sugar
1/3 cup desiccated coconut
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup glace cherries, halved
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup coconut milk
90g butter, melted
¼ cup cherry liqueur

Preheat oven to 180C, line or grease a 6-hole texas muffin pan. Sift dry ingredients into a large bowl, stir in chocolate chips and cherries. Stir in remaining ingredients and divide the mixture among the pan holes. Bake for 30 minutes, stand in trays for 5 minutes before turning on to a wire rack to cool.

Easy Cheesy Mini Muffins – a guest post

My fiancé doesn’t bake much, but when he does, he makes these deliciously easy little bites of savoury cheesy goodness.

 

Here he is to tell you how to do it:

Hello internet!

I got this recipe off one of my friends, it was hand written in a letter, I suspect the recipe was knowingly simple as I have meagre baking skills. (I can heat up pies like a pro though)

The things you will need are listed below. I suggest you purchase all of them and put them in a heap in front of you before you start baking as nothing sucks more than having to run down the shops for some cheese halfway through making cheese muffins.

2 cups grated cheese

1 ½ self-raising flour
½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

a healthy shake of smoky paprika

1 egg

1 cup milk

Mix all the dry ingredients, and the grated cheese, together in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl whisk the egg and the milk. Pour the egg and milk into the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Spoon mixture into greased mini muffin trays, and bake at 210C for about 10-15 minutes. Cool in tins for 5 minutes, then turn on to a wire rack.

Woah ok that was easy! Here’s an action shot of me spooning the sticky stuff in the muffin pan.

Tips:

  • The cheese needs to be tasty cheese, or pizza cheese is also good. The best cheese however is called pizza plus and it’s the best cheese because it’s 3 kinds of cheese; tasty, mozzarella, and parmesan, also known as the ‘Cheese Triarch’ (it’s not really).
  • If you have any leftover cheese, sprinkle a little on top of each muffin before putting them in the oven (let’s face it we all have leftover cheese)
  • You can make them hammy by adding a good big handful of diced ham or bacon bits (adding bacon bits will make them more bacony than hammy)
  • If you want to get really fancy you can also add fresh chopped herbs, if you want to get really really fancy you could add in some myrrh and frankincense (don’t do this).

Everyone loves them, even babies!! Best served warm straight out of the oven, but at room temperature is also fine.

Luke had never had muffins before – he’s now a huge fan!

Fruit and Spice Muffins

It was the show day holiday here in Brisbane today. A gorgeous sunny winter Wednesday, and I didn’t go to the show, but I did go to a picnic in the park this afternoon. So I made muffins! Perfect picnic food – easy to prepare, easy to take with you, easy to share. These are cranberry spice muffins, and they are good! (I may have had to taste test one when they came out of the oven, just to make sure)

3 cups self-raising flour
2 teaspoons mixed spice
1/2 cup caster sugar
125g butter, chopped
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 cup dried fruit (I used cranberries, but you could use anything)

Sift flour, spice and sugar into a large bowl, and rub in the butter (I hate this part because I’m impatient, so if you really don’t want to do it then you could use a food processor for this step). Stir in the fruit, milk and eggs and mix until just combined. Divide mixture amongst a lined 6-hole texas style muffin pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 180C, cool on a wire rack.

I was a bit worried to start with because the mix seemed really thick, and I thought the muffins might turn out too dry, but they were perfect! Massive though, you could probably do regular sized muffins and bake them for 20 minutes instead.

Random Pantry Ingredient Muffins

It was a Sunday afternoon. I was bored. I was hungry. I was a little tipsy on cider.

I decided to make muffins, the catch was that I could only use the ingredients already available to me in the house, and I hadn’t been grocery shopping in nearly 2 weeks. Interesting challenge…

I went with this basic recipe, but varied it slightly out of necessity!

2 cups flour – I only had 1 cup plain flour and 1 cup plain gluten-free flour left, so I mixed them together and then added ¼ cup oat bran for a bit of something extra
¼ cup sugar 
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk – no milk in the house, but I did have an unopened carton of almond milk, so I used that.
 ¼ cup oil or melted butter, cooled to room temperature – no butter, I used vegetable oil.

I also added 1 mashed ladyfinger banana that I had acquired that morning at the Mother’s Day Classic fun run, a handful of sunflower seeds, a handful of desiccated coconut, and a handful of dried cranberries (a very generous handful of those!). Followed the usual muffin instructions of mixing the dry ingredients separately to the others, then mixing them all together very briefly before spooning into the muffin pan and baking at 200C for nearly 30 minutes.

They actually turned out ok!! And not a massively sugar/fat laden snack either, they went well with another bottle of raspberry and apple cider!!

Let the wheat free/dairy free adventures begin!

Confession: I’m not supposed to eat most of the things that I bake and post on here, and generally I don’t – I let other people eat it all instead! – because wheat and dairy make me feel sick. I’m not allergic, just intolerant, and I’d rather not feel nauseous so I tend to avoid those foods.

I’ve been a bit scared of attempting to bake anything wheat & dairy free though, partly because I’ve eaten some things in the past that were pretty awful, and also because they seemed far more of a hassle to make! This all changed on the weekend though. I found a huge range of wheat free & dairy free products in a local supermarket, including a packet muffin mix, and it seemed like a perfect place to start – easy, cheap, and it would use up the old blueberries that I had in the fridge!

Initially I was reluctant to go with a packet mix, it feels a bit like cheating to me, but I thought it would be the safest place to begin. If the muffins went wrong then I wasn’t left with a heap of leftover ingredients that would be hard to use, and it would give me a good idea of what the final product should be like when I start trying to bake them from scratch.

The instructions were easy, and all I needed was eggs, water and the filling (I used some blueberries that were slightly past their best, but you could use almost anything). The batter was really sticky, but it was just the right quantity to make 6 big muffins.

They were slightly crunchy on the outside and soft and cakey in the middle, and turns out I really loaded them with blueberries! I was impressed.

Overnight I kept them in an airtight container on the bench, but by the next day they had lost their crunch and gone kind of sticky. I warmed one up for breakfast and it still tasted good, but I’d say these are best on the day that they are made, fresh from the oven.

I got myself some wheat free self-raising flour too, so I may even give cupcakes a try soon – I’m excited that I’ll actually be able to eat them this time, so stay tuned for that experiment!

Savoury Cupcakes

You might be thinking “savoury cupcakes, doesn’t she just mean muffins?”. Well, I’d say you’re right, but there are some who disagree*. The debate started recently at work, with a colleague who wanted to know why there couldn’t be such a thing as a savoury cupcake. My definition of cupcake vs muffin is all in the process, however I thought it would be possible to make a savoury muffin in a cupcake liner and decorate it in a way similar to a cupcake. Because today was the birthday of the colleague who asked the original question, I thought it fitting that I attempt savoury cupcakes in her honour.

It is technically a muffin recipe, this is true. The nod to cupcakes comes through with the cupcake liners and the size, and also with the topping. The recipe is modified from an AWW recipe, and it made 24 savoury cupcakes.

½ cup polenta (cornmeal)
 1 cup milk
200g finely diced bacon or ham
3-4 spring onion stalks, finely chopped
1 ½ cups self-raising flour
2 teaspoons caster sugar
125g corn kernels, not drained
100g melted butter
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup grated cheese

Preheat oven to 200C. Mix polenta and milk in a small bowl, drain the corn kernels and add the juice but not the corn, and allow to stand for 20 minutes. This helps to soften the polenta and makes it less gritty in the final baked result.

Fry the bacon and onion for about 5 minutes, and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes. Mix the flour, sugar, corn kernels, grated cheese and bacon mixture together in a large bowl. Add the butter, eggs and polenta mixture, and mix briefly until just combined.

Fill each cupcake liner about 2/3 full, and bake for about 20 minutes.

To make the topping I mixed a tub of spreadable cream cheese with a large handful of finely chopped parsley, and spread this on top of each cupcake once they were cool. I then topped each cupcake with a small amount of tomato relish, but chutney could also work. The cupcakes can be served at room temperature or warmed slightly.

If you wanted to make a vegetarian option, you could omit the bacon, add more corn, and maybe also add some sun-dried tomatoes or toasted pine nuts.

*Although most people seem to think that this counts as a muffin, not as a cupcake, as you can see below from the (informal) vote we ran today…