You ain’t seen muffins yet!

by Annie Bell

Gluten free (or with a GF option) every one. Bake a batch for the cake sale. Pack some for a picnic. Serve them at brunchtime. Easy!

Spiced chocolate beetroot muffins

MAKES ABOUT 12

 

80ml groundnut oil or vegetable oil

2 large eggs

80g good quality plain live yoghurt

200g light muscovado sugar

225g plain flour (or plain gluten-free for example Doves Farm)

25g cocoa

2 heaped tsp baking powder

½ tsp each ground ginger and ground cinnamon

175g coarsely grated raw beetroot

100g dark or white chocolate chips

freeze-dried raspberry powder to decorate (optional)

 

● Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and arrange 12 paper muffin cases in a muffin tin or two. Alternatively you can make mini loaves, see note right.

 

● Whisk the oil, eggs and yoghurt in a large bowl, then add the sugar and whisk to get rid of any lumps. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and spices into another large bowl. Pour the wet ingredients over the flour mixture and stir to blend. Fold in the beetroot and three quarters of the chocolate chips.

 

● Fill the cases by half to two thirds, scatter over the remaining chocolate chips and bake for 20-25 minutes or until risen and crusty. Leave to stand for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Dust with a little freeze-dried raspberry powder if you have some. They keep well for a couple of days and can be rewarmed if wished.

 

FOR MINI LOAVES You can also make the muffins in mini loaf cases as in the picture on page 61 (we used standard-size paper moulds from the supermarket, 10cm long x 5cm wide x 4cm high). You should get about 8-10.

 

Olive & pistachio muffins

MAKES ABOUT 10

 

100g shelled pistachios ground (you can use a coffee grinder)

a pinch of fine sea salt

1 tsp cornflour

¾ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda

4 medium eggs

2 tsp cider vinegar

1 tbsp hempseed or rapeseed oil

1 tsp runny honey

70g mixed pitted olives coarsely chopped

2 spring onions trimmed and finely sliced

30g finely grated comté cheese

 

● Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 and arrange 10 silicone muffin cases in a muffin tin or two. Place the ground pistachios and salt in a large bowl, then sift over the cornflour, baking powder and bicarb, and stir to blend. Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl until well blended, then whisk in the vinegar, oil and honey. Pour over the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Fold in the olives and spring onions.

 

● Fill the moulds by two thirds. Scatter over the cheese and bake for 17-20 minutes until risen and crusty. Transfer to a wire rack and leave to stand for 10 minutes before removing from the moulds. They will keep well loosely covered until the following day.

 

Date & coconut muffins

 

MAKES ABOUT 12

 

120g pitted dates chopped

170ml water

2 tbsp lemon juice

1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

60g coconut oil melted and cooled

4 medium eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

160g ground almonds

1 tbsp cornflour sifted

2 heaped tbsp stevia (optional, omit if you prefer a semi-sweet muffin)

100g coarsely grated apple (about 2 apples)

50g goji berries

finely grated zest of 1 orange

TO SERVE

 

coconut yoghurt

runny honey

extra goji berries

toasted flaked almonds (optional)

 

● Place the dates in a small pan with the water and lemon juice, gently bring to the boil and simmer over a low heat for 5 minutes, stirring now and again to mash them up. Remove from the heat and stir in the bicarbonate of soda, which will froth up. Transfer to a large bowl and leave to cool for 15-20 minutes.

 

● Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5 and arrange 12 silicone muffin cases inside a muffin tin or two. Whisk the coconut oil with the eggs and vanilla in another large bowl. Add the date mixture, then fold in the remaining muffin ingredients.

 

● Fill the muffin cases by three quarters and bake for about 25 minutes until risen, golden and shiny on the surface. They should feel soft to the touch without any hint of wetness in the centre. Leave to cool on a wire rack and then slip the muffins out of the moulds.

 

● Just before serving dollop a teaspoon of coconut yoghurt in the centre of each one, drizzle with a little honey and decorate with a few goji berries and toasted flaked almonds if using.

 

Banana fudge & chestnut muffins

MAKES 10-12

 

2 ripe bananas (the riper the better) peeled

2 medium eggs

80ml sunflower or groundnut oil

80ml whole milk

170g chestnut flour

1 rounded tsp bicarbonate of soda

130g light muscovado sugar

30g fudge finely chopped

a few banana chips for topping (optional)

icing sugar for dusting (optional)

 

● Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and arrange 10-12 muffin cases or wrappers in a muffin tin or two. Coarsely mash the bananas in a medium bowl, then add the eggs, oil and milk, and whisk together until evenly blended.

 

● Whiz the flour, bicarbonate of soda and sugar in a food processor until free of lumps and blended, then tip this into a large bowl. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and stir to a lumpy mixture.

 

● Fill the cases by two thirds, evenly scatter over the fudge and, if wished, a couple of banana chips per muffin. Bake for 25-30 minutes until risen and firm. Transfer to a rack to cool. They keep well loosely covered until the following day. Dust with icing sugar shortly before serving if wished.

 

Milk chocolate chip muffins

MAKES ABOUT 12

 

80g unsalted butter melted and cooled

180ml whole milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 medium eggs

200g plain flour (or plain gluten-free for example Doves Farm)

50g cocoa

2 tsp baking powder

25g ground almonds

200g golden caster sugar

150g milk chocolate chips

 

OPTIONAL TOPPING

 

icing sugar for dusting

120g mascarpone

1-2 tbsp milk (see method)

extra cocoa

 

● Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5 and arrange 12 paper muffin cases or wrappers in a muffin tin or two.

 

● For the muffins, whisk the butter, milk, vanilla and eggs together in a large bowl. Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder into another large bowl, and stir in the ground almonds and sugar. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and stir to loosely blend – there should be no traces of flour, but the mixture should appear wet and lumpy. Fold in two thirds of the chocolate chips.

 

● Fill the paper cases by two thirds. Scatter over the remaining chocolate chips and bake for 25 minutes or until risen and crusty, and set in the centre. Leave to cool.

 

● If wished, dust the muffins with icing sugar and, for the topping, work the mascarpone in a small bowl with just enough milk to achieve a whipped cream consistency. Drop a teaspoon on the top of each muffin and dust with a little cocoa. These will keep well loosely covered and chilled until the following day. Remove from the fridge 30-60 minutes before eating.

 

Cappuccino walnut muffins

MAKES ABOUT 10

 

200g plain flour (or plain gluten-free for example Doves Farm)

1 heaped tsp baking powder

1 heaped tsp ground cinnamon

100g golden caster sugar

3 medium eggs

70ml cooled brewed espresso

30ml whole milk

100g unsalted butter melted and cooled

2 tsp cider vinegar

75g coarsely chopped walnuts

icing sugar for dusting

 

COFFEE BUTTERCREAM

 

60g unsalted butter softened

60g icing sugar sifted

1 tbsp cooled brewed espresso

 

● Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5 and arrange 10 paper muffin cases or wrappers in a muffin tin or two.

 

● For the muffins, sift the flour, baking powder and cinnamon into a large bowl, then stir in the sugar. In a medium bowl whisk the eggs with the espresso, milk and butter, then stir in the vinegar. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and stir to loosely blend – there should be no traces of flour, but the mixture should appear wet and lumpy.

 

● Fill the muffin cases by two thirds, scatter the walnuts over the surface (most of these will sink into the mixture as the muffins cook). Bake for about 20 minutes or until risen, golden and set in the centre. Leave to cool, then dust the muffins with icing sugar.

 

● For the coffee buttercream, whisk the butter in a medium bowl for 1-2 minutes until pale and light using an electric whisk. Add the icing sugar and continue to whisk for about 1 minute longer until fluffy, then whisk in the espresso. Drop a heaped teaspoon on the top of each muffin. These are best eaten on the day.

 


 Food styling: Clare Lewis. Styling: Sue Radcliffe

Follow Annie Bell on Twitter @anniebellcook and check out Annie’s books, including Baking Bible, Low Carb Revolution, How To Cook and The Modern Dairy at kylebooks.co.uk