Thursday, 30 April 2009

Apple and Blueberry Muffins

I’m sorry for my lack of blog posts lately but life has a habit of sometimes getting in the way and I lost my baking mojo somewhere along that path. I decided that using the blueberries I bought last week would be a good start in getting back into the goddess’s kitchen and finding my mojo again. After flicking through a few of my many cookbooks I opted for this easy muffin recipe and adapted it by adding chopped apples. These muffins are juicy and moist and packed with a delicious combination of flavours. What better way to start the day then a gorgeous fruity healthy muffin!

Apple and Blueberry Muffins

Makes 12

2 medium eggs
250ml/9fl oz semi-skimmed milk
250g/9oz golden caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
350g/12oz plain flour
4 tsp baking powder
250g/9oz blueberries, fresh or frozen
2 apples, cored, peeled and chopped into small pieces
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons

Preheat the oven to 200oC/180oC fan oven, mark 6. Line a muffin pan with 12 paper muffins cases.

Put the eggs, milk, sugar and vanilla extract into a bowl and mix well.

In another bowl, sift the flour and baking powder together, then add the blueberries, chopped apple and lemon zest. Toss together and then make a well in the centre.

Pour the egg mixture into the flour, blueberries, apples and mix in gently – overbeating will make the muffins tough.

Divide the mixture among the muffin cases and bake for 20-25 minutes.

I'll be visiting all my favourite blogs and promise to try and not stay away so long next time!

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Chocolate Fudge Easter Cakes

Easter wouldn’t be Easter without chocolate and over the coming weekend most of us will over-dose to the point of never wanting to eat chocolate again! I’m starting my chocolate marathon with these Chocolate Fudge Easter Cakes. These cakes have a light, fluffy chocolate sponge, topped with luscious chocolate buttercream frosting and completed with a colourfully wrapped chocolate egg. An “egg-cellent” Easter treat that kids and adults will devour!

Chocolate Fudge Easter Cakes

Makes 16

140g soft butter
140g golden caster sugar
3 medium eggs
100g self-raising flour
25g cocoa, sifted

For the frosting:
85g milk chocolate, broken
85g soft butter
140g icing sugar, sifted
Foil-wrapped chocolate eggs

Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5 and put 16 gold cases into a fairy-cake tin. Tip all the ingredients for the cake into a mixing bowl and beat for 2 mins with an electric hand-whisk until smooth. Divide between the cases so they are two-thirds filled, then bake for 12-15 mins until risen. Cool on a wire rack.
For the frosting, microwave the chocolate on high for 1 min. Cream the butter and sugar together, then beat in the melted chocolate. Spread on the cakes and decorate with the foil-wrapped chocolate eggs.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Mini Simnel Muffins

I started my Easter baking today with these Mini Simnel Muffins, which are a twist on the traditional Simnel Cake that I bake every year for Easter. These muffins are light, moist, packed with gorgeous vine fruits and gooey nuggets of marzipan baked within which melt deliciously into the fruit. The top of each muffin is then decorated with a blanket of marzipan and adorned with lovely spring sugar flowers!

Mini Simnel Muffins

Makes 12

175g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
175g caster sugar
3 medium eggs
225g plain flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp mixed spice
350g luxury mixed dried fruit
100g chopped walnuts or almonds
Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
50g natural almond paste, cubed

For the decoration
Icing sugar, to dust
250g natural almond paste
Small sugar flowers

Preheat the oven to 160°C/fan140°C/gas 3 and lightly grease a 12 x 125ml muffin tin or mould. Beat the butter, sugar, eggs and flour in a mixing bowl until smooth. Add the baking powder, spice, fruit and nuts, orange zest and juice, and mix well. Divide between the muffin holes and push in the almond paste pieces. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden and firm. Cool for 20 minutes, then remove from the tin and set aside on a wire rack.

To decorate, dust a work top with icing sugar. Thinly roll out 250g almond paste. Press out 12 rounds with a 7cm fluted cutter (re-roll the trimmings). Press on each cake and decorate with sugar flowers.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Apple Cinnamon and Walnut Muffins

I came across this delicious recipe for Apple Cinnamon and Walnut Muffins over at AK Mom’s blog, At Home in Alaska and couldn’t resist the urge to try her delightful muffins! These muffins are a breeze to make, full of flavour and texture and loaded with chunks of apple and walnuts, which keeps them nice and moist. They’re good on the go or at home with that early cup of coffee/tea and they stay moist for days...if you have any left!! Thanks AK Mom, this is definitely a keeper!

Apple Cinnamon and Walnut Muffins

Makes 12 muffins (I ended up with 18)

2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¾ cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
⅓ cup butter, melted
1 cup chopped apples
½ cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 12-cup muffin tin, or line with paper baking liners. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. In a small bowl, beat milk, eggs and butter until well blended. Stir into flour mixture just until blended. Fold in apples and walnuts. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups or liners, filling three-fourths full. Bake 25 - 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centres comes out clean. Cool in pan for 2 minutes. Remove to wire rack.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Peanut Butter Blondies

Wow I can’t believe its Friday; this week has just flown by! I’m hoping the lovely spring weather we have been having will continue through-out the weekend, as hubby and I plan on doing some gardening. I’m also hoping to get some baking done at some stage during the weekend but just in case I’m too tired after my gardening and shopping activities I decided to bake these Peanut Butter Blondies today. These blondies are moist, really chewy and loaded with double peanut butter flavour!! These nutty treats will be devoured in no time. Have a great weekend everyone!

Peanut Butter Blondies

1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup/8 tablespoons/1 stick/113g unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1½ cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup crunchy peanut butter (NOT natural-style)
½ cup peanut butter chips
¼ cup chopped dry roasted salted peanut

Place an oven rack in the middle of your oven and preheat the oven to 350oF/180oC/160oC fan oven. Grease and line a 13 by 9-inch baking pan with baking parchment. You should have a few inches left on each short end with which to lift the brownies out when they are done.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together.

In a large bowl, whisk together the melted, cooled butter, and the brown sugar. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla. Whisk in the peanut butter until combined.

Add the flour mixture to the large bowl and stir just until combined. Stir in the peanut butter chips and chopped peanuts.

Spread the batter in the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Bake 30-35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the cooking time. Let the blondies cool completely in the pan, set on a wire rack, about 1 hour. Remove the blondies from the pan, cut into squares.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Apple Flapjacks

What better way than to start a glorious spring day in the kitchen with some light baking and trying out a new recipe. These Apple Flapjacks are so easy to make and not many ingredients, which most of us will have readily available in our kitchens. They are like ordinary flapjacks, except they have chopped apples which produce a really moist, delicious, sweet and buttery experience that resembles what I can only describe as toffee apple heaven! I have a feeling these won’t last long once my boys hit the cake tin. I couldn’t resist and had to add this pic of my cat Coco in one of her favourite spots, by the kitchen window watching me whilst I bake!

"What's that your baking? it smells delish!!"

Apple Flapjacks

250g (8oz) butter
250g (8oz) caster sugar
175g (6oz) golden syrup
425g (14oz) porridge oats
2 apples, peeled and chopped

Preheat oven to Gas 4, 180°C, 350°F. Grease and line base a 20x30cm (8x12in) cake tin with baking parchment.
Melt butter, caster sugar and golden syrup together in a pan, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in oats and apples.
Spread mixture in tin and bake for 20-25 minutes. Cut into 12-14 bars; allow to cool before turning out of the tin.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Oatmeal and Chocolate Chip Cookies ~ Sweet and Simple Bake!

This month over at Sweet and Simple Bakes I presented this tried and tested delicious recipe for Oatmeal and Chocolate Chip Cookies. These are a favourite in my home and usually fly out of the cookie tin. I am looking forward to seeing another great round up and reading everyone's entries. Please pop over to Sweet and Simple Bakes to view more cookie entries!

If you would like to re-create these scrumptious cookies, you can find the recipe here!