Sunday, October 16, 2011

More Muffins

It turns out that this week was national baking week in the UK and also national chocolate week so it's rather fitting that I was planning a big day of baking for the weekend. While stuck in hospital with nothing to do I was watching cooking shows on the tele and there was one that I had never seen before but was really good, called the Great British Bake-off, and I have now found it on the internet so I can steal all the recipes. They did these finger buns, like what we at home in NZ call boston buns, with white icing on the top, and cream and jam in the middle. I have to make those one day! They looked so good! None of that was this inspiration for today's baking though, which has been planned for quite awhile anyway because I have been on a muffin craze lately. Today though I am taking a break from experimenting and sticking with an old, tried and true recipe. These are what my friend's mum used to make sometimes for lunch, and perhaps chocolate muffins are not a good lunch but we didn't care then and I don't much care now. A basket of muffins makes a great lunch. This recipe is from a great muffin book by Alison Holst, it's the second of it's kind and called 'More Marvellous Muffins'. I really hope they work nicely because sometimes my muffins don't and today I am teaching a friend who absolutely loves chocolate muffins.

Double Chocolate Surprise Muffins

1 3/4 cups plain flour (250 grams)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup cocoa powder (25 grams)
1 cup white sugar (250 grams)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (about 100 grams)
75 grams butter
2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk (180 millilitres)
Rasberry jam

Today I will be trying harder than usual to make these instructions as thorough as possible, yet the first step is already pretty self explanatory. Turn the oven on. Put it on to about 180 degreees celsius, either fan-bake or normal bake. Make sure there is an oven rack right at the centre of the oven because that is the best place for baking - if you bake at the top or the bottom your muffins will not cook properly.

The second thing to do is to prepare your muffin tin and you do this now because once the mixture is ready it is best to cook it straight away, and not leaving it sitting while you fuss around greasing trays. This mixture will make 12. normal size muffins or 6 giant texas muffins. If you have paper muffin cases line your muffin tray with these but if not just grease it really well with butter or oil or cooking spray. Make sure the bottom is greased well and also do the top of the tray, so that if the muffins bulge up above the holes they will still come away easily. If you like you can sprinkle some flour over, it will help the muffins come out smooth, but they will be just fine without aswell.

Now we are ready to begin mixing our muffins, but keep in mind that this really doesn't take long at all so you want to allow some time first for the oven to heat up. The first thing to do is take a large bowl and sift the flour, baking powder and cocoa in. Add the sugar and the chocolate and give it a good mix. If you are using plain flour you will need baking powder but a lot of the flour here in Ireland has added raising agents, which means that you don't really need the added baking powder.

Place the butter in a separate bowl, a glass or ceramic one so that it can go in the microwave, and microwave the butter for about 30 seconds, until it has melted. Alternatively you could use cooking oil. Then pour the milk into the melted butter and whisk it briskly to combine it. Finally, break the eggs into the liquid and whisk it well, so that it is all well mixed.

So at this point you should have the oven heated to the right temperature, the muffin tins greased, a bowl full of dry ingredients and a bowl with liquid ingredients. Take a large mixing spoon and use it to make a well in the dry ingredients, so that everything is heaped around the sides and there is a hole in the middle. Into which you are going to pour the liquid ingredients. The thing about muffins though is at this point you cannot mix them too much. Instead you take your large spoon and you fold the two mixtures together slowly. This means you start in the middle of the bowl and move the spoon towards the outside, scooping up the dry stuff and folding it over to the top. Keep doing this until it is nearly all combined but there are still little bits of flour visible. I probably should have taken photos as I went along but I always forget. Maybe next time!

Finally you are ready to fill the muffin tin. Now, if you want to leave out the surprise and just have chocolate muffins then  you simply spoon the mixture in and each hole should be about three quarters full. Surprise muffins require a little bit more effort though. First, you place a spoonful of mixture (about a normal desert spoon) in the bottom of each muffin hole. Then you place a teaspoon of rasberry jam in the centre of each. You want jam that is more solid than runny for the best result. Now add another spoonful of mixture to each muffin, and I hope that you have enough mixture. I often put too much in the first muffins and then do not have enough for the last muffins. I don't really have any advice for fixing this problem. Maybe other people don't even have this problem.

When your muffins are ready you can place the tin in the oven and bake them for 20 minutes (for normal size muffins that is, texas muffins need longer). Take them out when they are done and I hope they have risen perfectly for you! Leave them to cool in the tin for another 5 minutes and then loosen them by running a knife around the edges of each tin. Hopefully now when you tip the tin upside down and give it a tap the muffins should pop out nicely!


  1. Hi Rachel, thanks so much for the recipe for the delicious muffins. I recently found your blog and will follow more often. Please pop on over to my blog and perhaps you would also like to follow me. That would be great. Hugs, Chris

  2. So sorry Jaimie. I was thinking of my niece Rachel in NZ.


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