Muffins are not exactly a new topic for this blog, and this basic recipe is one I wrote up not long ago … but then I read that EnglishMum was having a bake-off competition, with the prize of a hamper of Green & Blacks chocolate, and these came out looking so pretty that I had to write about them.
This is the based on the same banana muffin recipe I’ve been making for a while now, originally from Gordon Ramsay’s Healthy Appetite. It’s a good moist recipe and the banana flavour isn’t too dominant so they lend themselves to flavour variations. As these are a pretty healthy variation of muffins, with oil instead of butter, bananas replacing some of the fat, and wholemeal flour, I feel just fine about consuming them everyday. I like to freeze them and take them into work as a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack.
Muffins work well frozen, as they can be quickly reheated in a microwave, or left to defrost on their own. As with any cake or bread leavened mainly with baking powder or bicarbonate of soda (such as soda bread) they will go stale quite fast once out of the oven. Freezing is a good way to capture that fresh quality.
Having some ageing bananas in my kitchen last weekend, I cast around for a new set of flavours to add to the recipe. When I found a packet of dried cherries and a half packet of roasted marcona almonds in the cupboard, the decision was made.
As before, these can be adapted in many different ways. Just make sure to keep the liquid ingredients separate from the dry ones, mix them both separately, then combine gently, folding in any berries or other bits at the end.
Makes 12 muffins.
- 300g wholemeal self-raising flour (or plain flour and 1 tsp baking powder)
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- pinch of salt
- 100g light brown muscovado sugar
- 2 large ripe bananas
- 220ml buttermilk, or 180g plain yoghurt and 40ml milk
- 1 large egg
- 75ml vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
Bits and pieces
- 100g dried cherries
- 100g toasted chopped almonds (marcona almonds are really good)
- 6 glacé cherries, halved
- flaked almonds
Preheat the oven to 180°C / 160°C fan / 350°F.
Put the flour and other dry ingredients into a large bowl and use a whisk to make sure they are thoroughly combined.
Mash the bananas into a medium bowl, and add the sugar and other wet ingredients. (The sugar goes in here, because it’s easier to get the sugar to mix in and remove all the lumps in the liquid).
Add all the liquid ingredients to the dry in one go, and mix gently together with a spatula or large spoon. Add the bits and stir just to distribute them. The more you stir the batter, the more you develop the gluten in the flour, and the tougher the muffins will be.
Divide the batter between 12 muffin cases and bake for 20 minutes or until the tops are just starting to brown and the top springs back when pressed.
Cool for 5 minutes in the tin, the take out a cool on a rack. If you’re going to freeze them, wait until completely cold, then put into a freezer bag within a few hours and freeze. Should be fine for several months.