After all the wonderful food baked and consumed by everyone over the Christmas period and with 2014 fast approaching, I wanted to post something that is super quick and easy to make, with ingredients you are likely to have in your store cupboard or fridge.
Nothing fancy, just wholesome and tasty to ease you gently into the New Year, without breaking any resolutions.
These are basically a straightforward oat muffin which I have embellished with apricots and cocoa nibs but you could use any dried fruit – apples, raisins, sultanas, cranberries – whatever you have and use either, dark chocolate ( 70% cocoa solid) or white chocolate instead of the cocoa nibs.
This is the first time I have used cocoa nibs, essentially ground, dried cocoa beans. Eaten raw they have a slightly bitter, and not overly sweet, taste. They are delicious in these muffins as once baked they give a sweeter, slightly nutty flavour with a crunchy consistency (just like a nut, in fact).
So my plan for these? (admittedly I’m ‘cutting it fine’ with time…)
Prepare these muffins this evening, place in their muffin cases in the baking tray. Place in the freezer over night. Go out, celebrate the New Year in the usual way. Rise on January 1st, preheat the oven. Place frozen muffins directly into the oven (sprinkle with porridge oats, if you can manage). Bake as per ‘note’ in the recipe below. Enjoy these hearty muffins with a mug of milky tea (or coffee) with a clear(ish) conscience. The oats in these will keep you going in those new hours of 2014 when you may be struggling…
Wishing a Happy New Year to you all, near and far, and thank you for reading my posts these past six months.
To 2014, a year of healthy (and not so healthy) bakes! x
- 250g plain flour
- 150g porridge oats, plus extra for sprinkling
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 180g golden caster sugar (or caster sugar)
- 3 eggs
- Zest of 1 lemon, grated
- 80g butter, melted
- 300ml buttermilk (or whole milk mixed with natural yoghurt)
- 150g cocoa nibs, or good quality chocolate, chopped
- 150g dried apricots, chopped, or dried fruit
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C, or Gas Mark 6. Place 12 muffin liners into a muffin tin.
- Combine all the dry ingredients, flour, porridge oats, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt and mix together in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Melt the butter in a jug, then set aside to cool slightly.
- In a bowl, mix together the sugar and eggs until well combined. Add the grated lemon zest and incorporate.
- Add the buttermilk to the melted butter and mix together. Chop the apricots and the chocolate (if using).
- Make a well in the bowl of the dry ingredients. Add the sugar and egg mixture and the buttermilk and butter mix. Mix the mixture 4-5 times only. Add the apricot and chocolate and mix for a further 4-5 times. Do not over mix. The mixture should be lumpy and dry in parts.
- Spoon the mixture equally into the 12 muffin cases. Sprinkle with porridge oats if baking. Alternatively, place in the freezer to bake at a later date.
- Bake for 10 minutes at 200 degrees C, then reduce the temperature to 180 degrees C (Gas Mark 4) and bake for a further 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
- Best eaten the day they are baked otherwise store in an airtight container.
If baking from frozen, add a further 5 minutes to baking at 200 degrees C, Gas Mark 6, (so 15 minutes) and then reduce to 180 degrees and bake for a further 20 minutes.
Source: Heavily adapted from Signe Johansen’s ‘Scandilicious Baking’