Tangerine and Marzipan Muffins

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These muffins just scream Christmas to me, but of course in a very stylish and elegant way.  I love marzipan, but for those of you who don’t, the flavour is not overwhelming. Though I am also a fan of any of the small winter citrus fruits and always expect to find one in my Christmas stocking, I find oranges easier to work with both in terms of zesting and juicing. If I were to make these again, which I surely will, I’m going down the orange route! The original recipe can be found here: http://www.olivemagazine.com/recipes/tangerine-and-marzipan-muffins/

Ingredients

200g self-raising flour

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

50g ground almonds

75g golden caster sugar

60g flaked almonds

50g marzipan, chopped into small pieces

2 eggs beaten

150ml yogurt

4 tangerines, zested; 2 juiced or 1 large orange, juiced and zested

75ml rapeseed oil

icing sugar for the glaze

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Directions

·         Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6 and line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper muffin cases.

·         Sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl, then stir in the ground almonds, sugar, flaked almonds and marzipan.

·         Add the beaten eggs, yogurt, tangerine zest and oil, and stir until the mixture is just combined. It doesn’t matter if the mixture looks a bit lumpy, don’t overmix or the muffins will turn out tough. 

·         Divide the mixture between the cases and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

·         Mix the tangerine juice with a little icing sugar to make a glaze and spoon a little over each muffin.

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Apple and Cranberry Muffins

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I love the cranberries. I love the tartness and I love the association with Christmas. These muffins are beautiful; they are lightly spiced and both sweet and tart. I have to say I did improvise a bit with this recipe as I couldn’t find half the ingredients and the measurements were in American cups. Anyhow, I think I got lucky because I can’t stop eating them!

Ingredients

110g sunflower oil

225g apples peeled and cored (I used Braeburn apples)

1 piece of pared lemon peel

juice of half a lemon

½ teaspoon cinnamon

200g soft brown sugar

50g date syrup (you could just add more sugar)

2 eggs

zest of an orange

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

225g whole wheat self raising flour

65g plain flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 and ½ teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

200g fresh or frozen cranberries

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Directions

  • Preheat oven to 180°c/160°c/gas 4 and line a muffin tray with 12 muffin cases.
  • Make the apple sauce by cutting up the apples into small chunks and putting them in a small saucepan. Add the lemon juice, peel, cinnamon and a little water and cook for about 15 minutes on a low heat. When the apples have cooked through, take out the lemon peel and mash up the apples with the back of a fork.
  • Add the applesauce, sugar, syrup, eggs, orange zest and vanilla extract into the bowl of a free-standing mixer and mix on a medium speed until smooth.
  • In another bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: both flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg and salt.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and mix until combined.
  • Use a rubber spatula to add the cranberries, leaving a few to put on top of the muffins.
  • Fill each of the muffin cases 3/4 full and decorate with the remaining cranberries and a sprinkle of the brown sugar.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes.

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Banana and Oat Muffins

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There was a time in my life when the sight of bananas with black speckled skins would have meant they were headed straight for the bin. Not anymore! Now that I know that the ugly black spots are a sign of the natural sweetness of the banana, they are headed straight into banana bread or in this case, healthy banana and oat muffins. I’ve had this recipe in my folder for a really long time and decided that this was the time to try it out. It comes from Kate Harrison’s book, The Ultimate 5:2 Diet Recipe Book (that’s why all the calories are there).  I also recently went to a food styling workshop and so my pictures are a little bit different from my usual style. I wanted to try and capture the changing of the seasons, hence the conkers! (I won’t be eating the conkers but I might challenge C to a game!)

Ingredients

100g rolled oats, 355 cals

50g wholewheat flour, 155 cals

150g plain white flour, 503 cals

2 tsp baking powder, 10 cals

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 5 cals

¼ tsp salt

75g muscovado sugar, 300 cals

4 large, very ripe bananas, mashed 480 cals

1 large egg, beaten, 100 cals

4 tbsp light olive oil, 540 cals

2 tbsp pumpkin or sunflower seeds or a mix, 175–184 cals

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Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F/Gas mark 4. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases.
  2. Mix together the oats (keeping a tablespoon aside for the topping), flours, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and sugar.
  3. Mix together the mashed bananas, egg and oil and then pour into the dry oat and flour mix and fold together.
  4. Spoon into the prepared muffin cases and scatter the top of each muffin with the reserved oats and the seeds. Bake for 20–25 minutes, until brown and slightly springy to touch.

 

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Rhubarb and Spelt Muffins

Muffins with rhubarb

As a child, I remember eating raw sticks of rhubarb from the garden dipped in sugar. I still have a love of rhubarb, but I’m not sure if I could handle it raw. I saw this recipe in Waitrose Magazine (February, 2016) and just loved the pinkness of the rhubarb. I was intrigued by the spelt flour in this recipe and thought it made the muffins sound healthy. However, it turns out that the benefit of spelt flour is that it made the muffins easier to digest. I made then anyway and they were a huge success. These muffins may look pink and sweet, but the contrasting tartness of the rhubarb makes them a clear winner for me.

 

Ingredients

 

60g unsalted butter, melted and cooled

150ml buttermilk

1 egg, beaten

½ tsp vanilla extract

2 clementines, zest

85g plain flour

100g spelt flour

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

80g golden caster sugar

120g rhubarb, cut into 0.5cm slices

2 tsp demerara sugar

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Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 18o degrees/160 fan/gas mark 4
  • Line 8 holes in a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases.
  • Combine the melted butter, buttermilk, egg, vanilla and clementine zest in a small bowl.
  • Put the flours, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda  and caster sugar in a large bowl, then pour in the egg mixture. Fold together until combined, there should be no pockets of  flour, but it should still look lumpy.
  • Fold through most of the rhubarb, keeping some back for the topping.
  • Divide the mixture evenly between the paper cases, topping each with some of the reserved rhubarb, then scatter over the demerara sugar.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, until risen and golden; a skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean.
  • Remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack before serving.
  • Rhubarb and spelt muffins

Butternut Squash, Cheese and Chilli Muffins

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I can’t believe how well these muffins turned out. To be honest, I’m not really a fan of muffins, either sweet or savoury. I made them for C, but when they came out of the oven, they smelt so good. I just had to try one. And well, I have been converted; this recipe has changed my whole attitude to muffins! These ones are cheesy, spicy and extremely comforting. This is a stunning recipe from Jamie Oliver’s new Superfoods book. I’ve been really impressed by the Superfood series on TV, not just by the ‘superfood’ concept but by the number of recipes I actually want to make. I’ve also made the tofu burgers which may sound boring, but were fantastic. Kudos to Jamie Oliver.

http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/vegetables-recipes/sweet-potato-muffins

Ingredients

olive oil

600g sweet potatoes or ½ a butternut squash (I used butternut squash)

4 spring onions

1-2 fresh red chillies

6 large free-range eggs

3 tablespoons cottage cheese

250g wholemeal self-raising flour

50g Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon sunflower seeds

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

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  •  Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.
  •  Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases or 15cm folded squares of greaseproof paper, then lightly wipe each one with oiled kitchen paper.
  • Peel the sweet potatoes or squash and coarsely grate into a large bowl.
  • Trim the spring onions, then finely slice with the chilli and add to the bowl, reserving half the chilli to one side.
  •  Crack in the eggs, add the cottage cheese and flour, then finely grate in most of the Parmesan and season with sea salt and black pepper. Mix until nicely combined.
  • Evenly divide the muffin mixture between the cases.
  • Sprinkle over the sunflower and poppy seeds, then dot over the reserved slices of chilli. Use the remaining Parmesan to give a light dusting of cheese over each one.
  •  Bake at the bottom of the oven for 45 to 50 minutes (if using squash, it’ll be a bit quicker – check after 35 minutes), or until golden and set.

These are amazing served warm 5 minutes after taking them out of the oven, and good kept in the fridge for a couple of days.

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