Strawberry and white chocolate muffins

Strawberry and white chocolate muffins 1My love affair with strawberries is still very much in swing, as evidenced by these strawberry and white chocolate muffins that I made a few weeks ago. I reckon I’ve probably eaten about 2kg of lovely British strawberries so far this summer… it’s a good job they’re healthy, isn’t it?!

Strawberry and white chocolate muffins 3
I was lazy and found a recipe online to use, rather than adapting one of my existing ones. I used vanilla extract rather than a vanilla pod and chopped up a white chocolate bar instead of using buttons (I actually think the recipe can stand a bit more chocolate, to be honest).

I don’t think these are quite as rich as they could be (I found the mix to be fairly runny rather than nice and thick), but they’re still delicious thanks to the use of fresh, in-season strawberries.

Strawberry and white chocolate muffins 2
I did find that I had to bake these for a lot longer than the recipe said, which made me worry that they would turn out all tough and horrible, but I kept a beady eye on them and took them out of the oven as soon as they looked lightly browned on top.

Strawberry and white chocolate muffins 4
The muffins were wonderfully soft and fruity, and went down a treat in my perpetually sugar-starved office, which is always nice!

Now, confession time: I’ve been in a bit of baking slump recently. I think I overstretched myself a while back when I did three lots of baking in a week… oops.

I’m also trying to get a handle on my eating habits while I recover from a hip/lower back injury I sustained in the Manchester 10k back in May. I haven’t been for a run since June and my waistline definitely knows it.

I’m going through physio at the moment, which seems to be going well, so hopefully I’ll be back on the baking wagon before long. No doubt the Cake Olympics (AKA Great British Bake Off) will whet my appetite for cakes again and I’ll be desperate to get the oven on come the 24th!

So if it’s a bit quiet around here, you’ll know why, but I might pop up with a curry recipe or something at some point!

Lemon yogurt muffins with strawberry jam filling

Lemon yogurt muffins with strawberry jam fillingI seem to be gravitating towards lemon-based recipes a lot at the moment – it must be the onset of spring that’s making me crave some lovely lemony flavours. I made these lemon yogurt muffins with a strawberry jam filling on the spur of the moment, when I was feeling a bit stressed/sad and just needed the joy of baking to pull me out of it.

Lemon yogurt muffins with strawberry jam filling
They were really easy to make – I found a basic for the muffins online and just added the jam. I’ve made some adjustments to my recipe (at the end of this post), as I think the original recipe didn’t call for quite enough sugar, and the baking time could have been reduced – you can see from these pictures that my muffins are a bit browner than usual!

Lemon yogurt muffins with strawberry jam filling
Aside from that, these muffins really are deliciously tangy and nicely soft thanks to the yogurt. Definitely go for the full-fat stuff here – low-fat yoghurt just won’t cut it, I’m afraid! The jam adds some much-needed sweetness considering the low sugar content of the original recipe – the muffins could still do with a bit more sugar though! (Apologies to your dentist).

Lemon yogurt muffins with strawberry jam filling
Lemon yogurt muffins with strawberry jam filling recipe

Adapted from this recipe

Makes 12 muffins

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 240g full-fat yogurt (I used Greek yogurt)
  • 100ml vegetable or sunflower oil
  • 300g plain flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • grated zest of 2-3 lemons
  • 60g strawberry jam (or another jam of your choice)

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Line a muffin tin with 12 paper cases.
  2. Beat together the eggs, sugar, yogurt and oil in a large bowl.
  3. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt, then add the lemon and stir until just combined (do not overmix).
  4. Spoon half of the mixture into the muffin cases.
  5. Place a teaspoon of jam in the middle of each dollop of muffin mix in the cases.
  6. Spoon the rest of the mixture over the jam, making sure it’s well covered to prevent leaks.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes until risen and golden.
  8. Remove from the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Orange and date muffins

Orange and date muffinsI had a sudden urge one night to bake something reminiscent of sticky toffee pudding. After looking through some of my saved recipes, I decided to adapt a recipe for prune muffins by making a few tweaks to create these orange and date muffins.

I’m going to be upfront here: they went a bit wrong. I managed to completely forget about the sugar until the muffins were in the oven! Luckily, I realised only a few seconds after I put them in, so I quickly whisked them out again and attempted to mix the sugar into each muffin case.

I wasn’t completely successful – it was difficult to make sure the sugar was completely mixed in, so when they came out, they had slightly caramelised tops from the sugar that didn’t dissolve into the mix. It sounds a bit weird, but (much to my relief) the caramelised tops actually meant the muffins were rather nice!

Orange and date muffins
There were still little pockets in each muffin that were a bit more… savoury than the rest, but the dates really helped to add some sweetness, and the orange zest and cinnamon was a nice distraction.

I took the muffins into work, and no one would have known I’d had a disaster in the kitchen if I hadn’t told them, so I think I got away with it!

I would recommend that you do actually beat the sugar into the muffin mix *before* spooning it into the cases, but if you also want some nice caramelised tops, all you have to do is sprinkle a bit more sugar on top – I think demerara would be perfect for this! See my recipe below for full details…

Orange and date muffins

Orange and date muffins recipe

Adapted from this recipe.

Makes 12 muffins

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 250ml milk
  • 125ml sunflower oil
  • 80g soft dark brown or dark muscovado sugar
  • 285g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 0.5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Zest of one orange
  • 115g pitted dates, chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp demerara sugar (optional)

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6/200C. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases, or grease thoroughly.
  2. Mix together the egg, milk and oil in a measuring jug, then mix in the sugar. Set aside.
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon into a large bowl. Stir in the orange zest.
  4. Make a well in the middle of the flour mix and pour the liquid mix into it. Stir until just combined (do not overmix, otherwise you’ll end up with horrible, rubbery muffins).
  5. Fold in the dates.
  6. Spoon the mix into the muffin tin. Sprinkle the demerara sugar over the top of the mix in each case, if using.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes until risen and browned on top. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Banana and Malteser spread muffins

Banana and Malteser spread muffinsAs usual, my first thought on realising that my one remaining banana was too far gone to eat was: “What can I bake this into?”. I decided to adapt my trusty recipe for banana and Nutella muffins by swapping out the Nutella for…. *drum roll* Maltesers Teasers spread. Et voila! Banana and Malteser spread muffins.

If you haven’t yet seen this wondrous creation in the shops, the Maltesers spread is basically a jar of chocolate spread with lots of little malty bits in it.

*gets a spoon*

A photo posted by The Very Hungry Baker (@mooingzelda) on Sep 4, 2015 at 10:30am PDT

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js

I KNOW.

Anyway, the muffins were very easy to make, as always. There were only two issues: 1) I should have made more than 8 muffins, because some of them had a really pronounced muffin top, even for actual muffins. 2) The Maltesers spread wasn’t particularly malty after the muffins had baked, which was a shame. But they were still nice.

Banana and Malteser spread muffins
I think that if I was to make these again, I wouldn’t combine the spread quite so well with the rest of the mix as I did the first time. Keeping the spread as big solid lumps of chocolatey, malty loveliness should make the muffins a bit more Malteser-y… hopefully!

Banana and Malteser spread muffins
Still, as you can see from the photo above, the muffins turned out lovely and moist, and they tasted very much of both banana and chocolate, which is always a good thing. Just be sure to follow my instructions below if you want to detect a bit more of the malt.

Banana and Malteser spread muffins
Banana and Malteser spread muffins recipe

Makes 8-12 (depends on how much mix you end up with!)

  • 200g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 100g light muscovado sugar
  • 4 tbsp Maltesers Teasers spread
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 50g melted butter
  • 100ml milk
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to gas 6/200C/180 C fan and line 8-12 holes of a muffin tin with paper cases or squares of baking paper.
  2. Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl and stir in the sugar.
  3. Beat together the egg, vanilla extract, butter and milk in a separate bowl or jug.
  4. Add the egg mixture and banana to the flour mixture and stir until only just combined (you should still see streaks of flour in the mix).
  5. Spoon half of the mix into the muffin tin, then divide the Malteser spread equally between each hole, dropping the spread into the middle of the mix.
  6. Spoon the rest of the mix over the spread in the muffin tin.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes until risen and golden. Cool in the tin for a few minutes and then finish cooling on a wire rack.

Cherry, white chocolate and coconut muffins

Cherry, white chocolate and coconut muffins
I was in the supermarket a few weeks ago when I stumbled across one of the holy grails of summer produce – fresh British cherries! I had to buy them immediately and, after ‘sampling’ quite a few of them, decided to bake these cherry, white chocolate and coconut muffins to make the most of them.

Cherry, white chocolate and coconut muffins
I adapted a recipe for coconut and raspberry muffins to make these, and they turned out wonderfully. They were a doddle to make, too. I like that there’s no butter in the recipe, but the texture is still lovely and rich thanks to the oil and coconut milk.

Cherry, white chocolate and coconut muffins
I think the muffins could have stood a little more coconut, but that’s just me being me! The fresh cherries were so delicious and added a nice bit of moisture.

It would be really easy to change this recipe to suit whatever you have in – swap the cherries for raspberries, blackberries or strawberries, or change the white chocolate for milk or dark chocolate, or even (gasp) omit the coconut altogether.

Cherry, white chocolate and coconut muffins
I took these muffins into work and they seemed to go down a treat. I haven’t done nearly as much baking for work as I used to since I changed jobs, so it was nice to be able to take something in and have my colleagues enjoy it!

Cherry, white chocolate and coconut muffins
Cherry, white chocolate and coconut muffins recipe

Makes 12

  • 200g plain flour, sifted
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 50g dessicated coconut
  • 100ml sunflower oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 150ml coconut milk
  • 100g fresh cherries, halved and stones removed
  • 75g white chocolate, chopped

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6. Line a 12-hole muffin with paper cases or squares of baking parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and coconut.
  3. In another bowl or jug, combine the oil, egg and coconut milk.
  4. Gradually stir the oil mixture into the flour mixture, being careful not to overmix.
  5. Fold in the cherries and white chocolate.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the muffin tin and bake for 20-25 minutes, until risen and golden.

 

Chocolate orange carrot muffins

Chocolate orange carrot muffins
It’s been hot, hasn’t it? Some of the last few days have definitely been too hot for any kind of baking activity, but luckily for me, I was able to knock out these chocolate orange carrot muffins last Sunday, when it wasn’t as sweltering as it has been.

I was feeling inspired by the lovely mini carrot cakes I had at Luis Troyano’s afternoon tea the previous week and wanted to make something carrot-y. So, I found a recipe for carrot and orange muffins online and adapted it to add the chocolate.

Chocolate orange carrot muffins
All I really did was add a bit of cocoa powder and some milk chocolate chunks that needed using up – but that definitely did the trick! The resulting muffins were incredibly light (thanks to the carrot) and flavoursome (thanks to the cocoa and the zest of two oranges).

Chocolate orange carrot muffins
What I really like about these muffins is that you can see the grated carrot within them – and they could easily be mistaken for shreds of orange zest! I left in the cinnamon from the original recipe, and I’m glad I did, because it added an extra dimension to the flavours.

Chocolate orange carrot muffins
We finished these off in around 3 days and I didn’t feel particularly guilty about it – I reckon these were around 200 calories each. Definitely not as decadent as my usual triple/quadruple chocolate chunk muffins, but just as delicious!

Chocolate orange carrot muffins
Chocolate orange carrot muffins recipe

Adapted from this recipe on the Olive magazine website.

Makes 12 muffins

  • 300g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 0.5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 75g milk or dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • finely grated zest of 2 oranges
  • juice of 2 oranges
  • 100g carrots, peeled and grated
  • 75g butter, melted

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190c/fan 170c/gas 5. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with muffin cases or squares of baking paper.
  2. Mix together the flour, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon, cocoa powder, chocolate and salt in a bowl.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, zest, juice, carrots and butter.
  4. Gently stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined, being careful not to overmix.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the muffin tin and bake for 20-25 minutes until risen.

Oat, blueberry and honey muffins

Oat, blueberry and honey muffinsNow this is a lovely recipe for when you want something that’s sweet, (sort of) good for you and quick to make. These oat, blueberry and honey muffins are really easy to whip up and are delicious – plus there’s no butter in these, just oil and milk instead, so you can fool yourself into thinking you can have more than just one!

Oat, blueberry and honey muffins
The recipe is much like most other muffin recipes – make up the dry and wet mixes, then carefully combine them without overmixing. The original recipe called for raisins, but I replaced these with blueberries as I happened to have some in the fridge.

Oat, blueberry and honey muffins
I also increased the amount of sugar in the mix, as blueberries aren’t quite as sweet as raisins. You end up with a rather wet mix, but that’s apparently what it should be like! Cue lots of messiness as I attempted to spoon the mix into the muffin cases…

Oat, blueberry and honey muffins
The muffins baked in 20 minutes, but I think I would give them a couple of minutes longer next time, due to the extra moisture provided by the fresh fruit. Still, these are scrumptious – not too sweet and lovely and purple inside!

Oat, blueberry and honey muffins
The original recipe says to have these for lunch with cheese or on their own with some butter and extra honey, both of which I might try over the next couple of days. If there are any left after today, that is!

Oat, blueberry and honey muffins
The recipe

Makes 12 muffins

  • 250g plain flour
  • 85g porridge oats
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 100g blueberries
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 200ml milk
  • 75ml vegetable or sunflower oil
  • 75g light brown sugar
  • 5 tbsp honey

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6/fan 180C. Line a muffin tin with 12 paper cases, or butter the holes directly.
  2. Mix the flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and blueberries together.
  3. In another bowl, mix the eggs, milk, oil, sugar and honey.
  4. Add the wet mix to the flour mix and stir until just combined. The mix should be fairly runny.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the tin and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until risen and golden on top.
  6. Leave the muffins to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve alone, with cheese or buttered with honey.