Monday, 1 April 2013

MUFFIN MONDAY - Marbled Vanilla & Chocolate AND Oaty Fruity Muffins

It's Monday....and it's Muffins! I baked up a couple of batches of new recipes to try over the weekend and as promised (to my FB friends), after being sampled and some bits slightly tweaked, the results and ingredients are now here for you to try.

Marbled Vanilla & Chocolate Muffins

I recently found a little book  '1 mix, 50 muffins' with some very interesting variations in, but have really only just got around to trying out some of it's contents. I wanted to make basic chocolate muffins and could have used my normal tried and tested recipes, but found in this book one for a marbled effect - ie the mix is split into half chocolate, half vanilla then randomly spooned into the cases to create a marbled swirled sponge. I decided to give this variation a go...but mainly because the instructions got me a little curious. It called for the whole batter mix to be mixed up as vanilla, then halved into two bowls, and an amount of cocoa powder added to one batch. On reading this I immediately thought...hmmmm surely adding the cocoa to this batch would alter the consistency, compared to the vanilla...

I went ahead with the recipe...and sure enough, the addition of the extra 'dry ingredient' cocoa powder did indeed make the chocolate batch much thicker in consistency to the vanilla half. My concern then, was whether this would affect the baking. I think it did. The batch of muffins came out very uneven and lopsided...and on pulling apart and tasting one, found the chocolate sections much drier and heavier....and maybe even a tad overcooked. The vanilla parts were much nicer in I wasn't happy...a tweak of the recipe was called for.

Convinced that the dry powder ingredients (ie flour and cocoa) needed to be equal in weights for both batches I took a look at the book again and took the details for a basic vanilla mix and then compared it to the details for a basic chocolate mix. The vanilla one called for 10oz of plain flour, the chocolate one called for 8oz of flour with the remaining 2oz substituted with cocoa powder.....(all the rest of the ingredients were identical) so the obvious thing was to use both of these recipes instead, halve the quantities and just follow the same instructions as to spooning these batches into the cases as before, to create the marble.

The result was a much more evenly baked and risen muffin...and so here is my amended version -

Marbled Vanilla & Chocolate Muffins (makes approx 10-12 standard sized)

for the Vanilla batch -
5oz Plain flour
half tbsp baking powder
quarter tsp salt
2oz caster sugar
4 1/2 floz milk
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1tsp vanilla extract

for the Chocolate batch -
4oz Plain flour
1oz Cocoa powder
half tbsp baking powder
quarter tsp salt
2oz caster sugar
1 egg
4 1/2 floz milk
3 tbsp vegetable oil

Pre heat oven to 200oC/400oF/gas mark 6 (if using fan assisted oven, reduce temperature according to manufacturers instructions)

Prepare a muffin tin, grease and line or use paper cases.

Make up each batch in separate bowls in the order as follows - Sift together dry ingredients, mix together wet ingredients in another bowl or jug, pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and stir quickly but gently until just combined (it will look lumpy but no dry flour should be visible).

Using teaspoons, spoon batter into the muffin tins, alternating the chocolate and vanilla mix.

Bake in oven for approx 20mins until well risen, and tops spring back when touched or a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

These muffins look pretty cool with the swirled two tone sponge but as it was Easter, I tarted mine up a little bit more for an extra sweet treat -
The tops were smothered in chocolate frosting and little chocolate mini eggs placed on as couldn't see the marbling and only once the case was peeled back and the sponge bitten into, did the multicoloured mix reveal itself!

Oaty & Fruity Breakfast Muffins (makes 10-12 standard size)
This is from a tried and trusted Susan Reimer recipe for Oatmeal and chocolate chip muffins that has been tweaked and the chocolate replaced with dried fruit....for a slightly more healthier version. I call then 'Breakfast' muffins because I use porridge oats.

2oz rolled oats
9 floz milk
8oz plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
half tsp salt
4oz mixed dried fruit
1 egg (beaten)
4oz light brown soft sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3floz vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 200oC/400oF/Gas Mark6 (if using fan assisted oven, reduce temperature according to makers instructions)

Prepare muffin tins.

In bowl combine the oats and milk and set aside to soak while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt...then stir in the dried mixed fruit.

To the oat/milk mixture, stir in the beaten egg, sugar, vanilla extract, and oil...then pour into the dry ingredients and stir quickly but gently until just combined. Do not over should be a lumpy batter but with no dry flour visible.

Pour into muffin tin/cups (about  three quarters full), bake for 20-25mins until light brown and firm to the touch. Transfer to wire rack to cool.