Monday, 26 September 2011

MUFFIN MONDAY - Blueberry & Apple with Cinnamon dusting.

Those of you who follow me on Facebook will know that now and again I have a Muffin Monday...a morning where I bake up a few muffins. I LOVE baking, I miss making my celebration cakes but those, these days, are an absolute no go so little cakes, muffins and biscuits fill the void....and my house with delicious aromas to set me up for a start to the week of artwork. Sometimes it's a mega day when I've baked for a request or party, sometimes it's just a half dozen or so that are often experiments with ingredients.
Muffins, in my opinion, are just the best things to make...so quick and as easy with the dry ingredients thrown into one bowl, the wet into another...then chucked all together to form a lumpy bumpy mess that then fills up the tins and transforms in the oven into golden delicious treats in 25mins or so. No slaving over creaming up butters and sugars, no worrying over eggs splitting the mixtures...and as long as you make sure the ingredients are measured out correctly (it is a baking science still afterall) and you do not overmix...you're onto a foolproof bake...and that's my kinda baking!
This morning Clive asked if I'd mix up a batch of blueberry muffins. We've had a great crop this year off our tiny little potted blueberry bush that sits by the kitchen door and picked off some more fresh ripend berries yesterday. We don't tend to use these berries for cakes as most tend to go into breakfast museli (or my mouth depending on how slow I walk from garden to kitchen, LOL) but we had a small bowlful left over that I did intending on freezing...but muffins won.

The problem, however, was that I knew there wasn't quite enough berries to make up a batch so the initial idea was to split the ingredients in half and make the usual choc chip ones too....but then when I spied a large lonesome apple sitting in the fruit basket and an idea popped into my head....why not do a berry and apple mix!
So it was out with the chocolate bit and in with a slightly more healthy option...I'll save them for some cookies at a later date!

Anyways, I've never done this particular mix of fruit before so it was going to be a new experience. I reckoned the sweet crunch of the apple with the soft bite of the berry would go alright but the dilema I faced was whether to add spices (most apple based muffins I do I add cinnamon or sweet mixed spices). I worried the spices would overpower the blueberry so decided to try without...and just add a drop of vanilla extract instead.

Now, I tend to work off a basic plain muffin recipe and alter it depending on what additional ingredients I add...the liquid ingredients ie the milk measurement is what tends to alter. If I'm baking citrus flavoured ones I'll use the squeezed juices as part of the milk volume....if fresh juicy berries, fruits and vegetables are used (such as apples, blackberries and rhubarb) they release liquid into the batter and so the milk content is reduced....on the other hand dried fruits absorb liquids so a little more milk is added. I guess because I've been baking these for so long and am used to the particular ingredients I use I get a feel for when the batter is right. So, in this case, using apples meant the milk content was reduced slightly.

The resulting muffins (yes I have just had one as my 'elevenses') have come out light, fluffy and delicate in flavour...totally yummy and perfect as an afternoon treat with a cup of tea. The blueberry apple combination is wonderful and I'm so glad I held off from the spices...just a tiny dusting of cinnamon icing sugar over the baked and cooled muffins was just all that was needed.....
....so here's the recipe....have fun baking....

enjoy!

BLUBERRY & APPLE MUFFINS (makes 10-12 standard size)

10 oz (280g) plain flour
3 teaspoons (15ml) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4-5 oz caster sugar
1 egg
6 floz milk
3 floz vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional but recommended)
5 oz combination of whole blueberries and peeled, cored & chopped apple

topping
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon icing sugar

1. Preheat oven to 190-200oC (375-400oF), Gasmark 5-6
2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar
3. In another bowl (or large jug) measure out the milk & oil, gently beat in the egg and stir in the vanilla extract.
4. Pour all of the liquid mix into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. The batter will be lumpy but should have no visable areas of dry flour.
5. Gently fold in the apple and blueberries taking care not to over mix or crush the fruit.
6. Spoon into prepared muffin cups and bake 20-25mins until lightly browned and there is a 'spring back' when gently pressed with a finger.
7. Mix together the cinnamon and icing sugar and use to lightly dust the muffin tops once baked and cooled.
8. EAT!

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