One of the things I get asked for most by friends and family are good recipes for muffins. Now this is quite tricky for me because I’ve had my issues when it comes to baking the little beauties. I’m not referring to this recipe in particular – these have been a total success. I blame my inability to get used to different ovens quickly and efficiently. The oven in our flat in Woking was very powerful and loads of muffins were burnt! The one in Guildford had a smaller wattage (or whatever you call it) so things took longer to bake. Now I’ve returned to a gas oven and to test it I’m finding myself making loads of pizzas. Some have come out with black bottoms, whilst others have been spared, and ended up in our bellies.
A very good friend of mine always asks me for more muffin recipes. I get this. Unlike cakes, my personal preference if I were to choose (I don’t think so), muffins are charming little things. Even though I may have a muffin with my coffee when out running errands, I prefer homemade ones. Somehow shop-bought ones seem too big, too out there if you know what I mean.
Sometime ago I was invited to a YSL event at a local store. In one corner the ladies prepared a spread of pretty little cupcakes, which seem to be all the rage nowadays. To me they looked more inviting than all the expensive stuff in the shop. They were good, a bit on the small side, but good nonetheless. One would argue that you cannot look sophisticated while devouring a large chunk of cake! I went home and I wanted to bake something in between.
Homebaked muffins will be smaller than the huge things you might get at the store but don’t let that deter you. You can make the mixture in five minutes flat and they are so convenient when you have people round for afternoon tea. All you need is coffee! Blueberries are great here, but you can use whatever you want…strawberries, raspberries, or perhaps a mixture of both. Makes 12.
- 250g plain flour
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 120g unsalted butter, softened almost melted
- 120g golden caster sugar
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 100ml milk, preferably full-fat
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 180g blueberries
Line a 12-hole muffin tray with muffin cases and preheat the oven to 190ºC.
In a large bowl, sift the flour and baking powder together and set aside.
In another bowl, beat the butter together with the sugar, eggs, milk, lemon zest and juice till everything is just combined.
Fold in the flour mixture gently into the wet ingredients preferably with a spatula. Tip in the blueberries, and don’t overmix. A lumpy batter is exactly what you want here!
Using an ice-cream scoop, distribute the mixture evenly in the tray and bake for approximately 15 to 18 minutes. They should be ready by then but always check by inserting a skewer in the middle of one muffin just to be sure.
Place them on a cookie rack to cool, and eat them when they are slightly warm on the same day. They should keep in an airtight container until the next day – good excuse to invite a good friend for tea. Enjoy!
(Adapted from River Cottage Handbook No. 8: Cakes, Pam Corbin, Bloomsbury, 2011.)