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Going absolutely bananas!

5 Feb

If you do read this blog on a regular basis, you’d know I am a muffin freak.  So it wasn’t too surprising that it was what I decided to make when my husband got yet another dollar bag of bananas that were about to go.

Admittedly, all this baking and cooking has been going to the hips – remember the old saying “A minute on the lips, forever on the hips?”  I’m definitely learning this fast!  So I’ve been trying to eat healthy (let’s see how long that lasts!)  Nothing screams healthy louder than wholemeal flour, yes?  So in the same vein, I figured honey and olive oil sounded like good things to use too.  The result were very filling muffins which definitely kept the muchies at bay. (And when I say munchies I actually mean crunchies which are way too easily available at work – for fundraising too!  How is a girl supposed to say no?)  And let’s just say the fibre in these babies is HIGH!  Am quite pleased with my healthy snackeroos which also scores high in the natural sugars department!

Am trying to get used to my replacement camera.  It’s got lots of functions but I’m not sure how to use them.  I miss my DSLR.

Banana Muffins

Makes 6 – 8 muffins

Ingredients

3 large very ripe bananas

0.6 cup self raising wholemeal flour

0.5 tsp ground cinnamon

30ml olive oil

40ml honey

0.5 tsp vanilla essence

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Peel and mash up the bananas.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients together.
  4. Mix the wet ingredients together.
  5. Mix the dry with the wet ingredients.
  6. Spoon into muffin cups
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer poked into the muffin comes out clean.
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Strawberries and cream muffins

6 Dec

I’m sure I’ve raved about how fresh the food is in Melbourne and how CHEAP it is.  At the market, the strawberries were going for ONE dollar a punnet. Who could resist?  I was greedy and got 2 punnets.  It was even cheaper than the time when I got them for 1.50 and thought I had a steal!

But as with all cheap food, the strawberries were on the brink of being overripe and would rot by the end of the day if I didn’t eat them or do something with them.  Jam would be difficult considering how ripe the strawberries were.  What’s more, I had just made another batch of apple jam.  I remembered how Fanny enthused about some really good strawberry muffins.  It all sounded just delicious.  Plus this would be a new thing to try – muffins which weren’t just mixing everything in a bowl and then baking the batter in tins.  It would involve actually layer different flavors in the tins!

I tried to do a step by step demonstration with each muffin tin being one step.  But it was getting dark fast so the other shots didn’t turn out.

By the time the muffins were out of the oven, the sun had set.  So I had to make do with my lousy apartment’s lights.  What a waste!  But the muffins were just out of this world. Especially when fresh out of the oven!

Strawberries and cream muffins

Adapted from lululu at home

Makes 12 medium sized muffins

Ingredients

1 punnet of strawberries chopped

Muffin batter

2 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup raw sugar

113g butter, melted

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 cup milk

Cream cheese filling

100g cream cheese brought to room temperature

1/4 cup raw sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Combine all the dry ingredients for the batter in a big mixing bowl.
  3. Combine all the wet ingredients for the batter in a separate bowl and mix well.
  4. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring to just mix into a batter.
  5. Place cream cheese filling ingredients in a bowl and mix until smooth.
  6. Fill half the muffin case with batter.
  7. Then place some strawberries as the next layer.
  8. Cover with a teaspoon of cream cheese filling.
  9. Cover with a tablespoon of batter.
  10. Top with more strawberries
  11. Bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean after stabbing the muffin.

Tips

  1. I used 3/4 of a strawberry for each muffin.
  2. The strawberries will discolor after a day so it is best to eat it quick! (But honestly, it gets finished really fast anyway)
  3. The quickest way to melt butter is to chop it up and nuke it in the microwave for about 10 seconds and additional 5 second interval until it’s all melted.  I would recommend bringing the milk to room temperature as well.  Cold milk will solidify the butter again and make all your efforts go to waste.
  4. I use 2 spoons to transfer the batter and cream cheese filling for better control and not to spill it everywhere.  1 spoon scoops and the other one scrapes the first spoon.  I know some people use ice cream scoops but I don’t have that.

Chocolate muffins

30 Nov

My cousin loves her chocolate.  So I though I’d make some chocolate muffins for her.  Some moist, chocolately goodness.  A parting kind of gift for her last day in Melbourne. Food Network had a recipe from Nigella Lawson and from what I read, Nigella’s recipes are always quite easy and rich.  What’s more, I had all the ingredients in my cupboard except cocoa powder so I used some drinking chocolate.  The end result was a lighter colored muffin.

I was obviously distracted when I put 3/4 cup of oil instead of 1/3.  So I had to do my math and ended up with 26 muffins instead of 12 as I originally intended.  Sigh.  Lots of muffins to finish now!  Luckily for me, they were yummy, yummy, yummy – especially the parts with the chunks of chocolate.

Chocolate Muffins

Adapted from Food Network

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients

1 and 3/4 cup all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tbs cocoa powder

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup cooking chocolate

1/3 cup plus 2 tbs vegetable oil

1 cup milk

1 egg

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius
  2. Chop up cooking chocolate into small chunks
  3. Mix all the dry ingredients together
  4. Mix all the wet ingredients together
  5. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together to get a lumpy batter
  6. Spoon into muffin paper cups in a muffin tray
  7. Bake for 20 minutes

Tips

  1. It pays to use good quality chocolate.  The cheaper versions leave a slightly waxy after taste due to the higher vegetable oil content.
  2. There are many types of chocolate available on the shelves. Look here for a good introduction to what you see.
  3. You can fill the muffin tin halfway and then place the chocolate chunks in the centre, followed by more batter for a oozy, chocolaty centre.
  4. For a greater enjoyment of your muffin, it’s best to heat it up in the oven before serving to melt the chocolate!  YUM!

Adding to my experience

26 Nov

Deformed zucchini muffins

I thought since I was doing so well with muffins, I could get fancy.  So I experimented with zucchini muffins.  Nothing ground breaking but I experimented with a different kind of cheese, rather than what people usually used – I used Kraft Singles.  In my absolute brilliance, I forgot that 1. The cheese forms an impermeable layer and prevents the steam from the muffins from escaping. 2. I had just used the grill function of the oven and hadn’t changed it back to convection.

So I ended up with a rather ugly, deformed muffin.  But it tasted yummy all the same.

I learnt again not to judge a book by it cover.

Zucchini Muffins with cheese

Adapted from Best Recipes

Makes 12 medium muffins

Ingredients

2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla essence

2 large eggs

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup apple sauce (I used my apple jam)

2 cups grated zucchini

3 slices of Kraft Singles

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degree Celsius.
  2. Mix all the wet ingredients together until the color lightens.
  3. Mix all the dry ingredients together.
  4. Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients until just mixed.
  5. Add grated zucchini to batter.
  6. Spoon batter into muffin tins lined with muffin cups.
  7. Quarter the Kraft Singles and place on to of the muffin.
  8. Bake muffin for 20 minutes or until skewer comes clean from the centre.

Tips

  1. Grate zucchini using the largest hole grater on the cheese grater.
  2. If you want better looking muffins, you may want to break up the cheese and sprinkle on the top instead.

Carrot muffins

24 Nov

Carrot Muffins

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day but it is always rushed when one has to get to work quickly.  Sandwiches need time to assemble and sometimes come apart as you gobble it down while walking.  Cereals are out of the question – there’s no such thing as eating on the go.  Plain bread isn’t a rounded meal at all.  Muffins?  The answer to my prayers!

Muffins are a great solution for so many reasons:

  1. Easy to make
  2. Sweet or savory
  3. Many flavors
  4. Some freeze well
  5. You can make a meal out of these little things

I accidentally bought 2 bags of carrots so I decided to make a batch.  Prep time was 15 minutes.  Baking time 20 minutes.  Quick and easy!  I omitted the cream cheese as it’s fattening and they don’t freeze too well.

Carrot Muffins

(Adapted from The Delicious Life)

Makes 12 medium muffins

Ingredients

1.5 cups all purpose flour

1.5 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

2/3 cup sugar

1.5 cup carrots shredded

3 eggs

2/3 cup oil

1/3 cup pine nuts

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degree celsius.
  2. Combine all the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl and stir.
  3. Combine the wet ingredients and mix well together,
  4. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and gently mix until it just comes together
  5. Scoop batter into muffin tins that are lines with paper liners.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until skewer comes clean after inserting into the centre of the muffin.

Tips

  1. Use some flour and pour it into the container with oil to soak up the last bits of oil and make cleaning a lot easier.
  2. Don’t over mix the batter otherwise the muffin becomes tough.
  3. A chinese soup spoon makes transferring the batter a lot easier.
  4. I fill my liners till they are full to get a overflowing muffin.  But if you don’t want them to peek up from above the liner, fill it to 3/4 full.