Vegetarian food blog featuring delicious and nutritious whole food recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

Apple Chocolate Chip Muffins – Random Recipes #32

Small Cakes | 27th September 2013 | By

This month’s Random Recipes has been restricted to puddings, cakes and bakes, which suits me fine. I picked my book the usual way using Eat Your Books and got Seaweed and Eat It: a family foraging and cooking adventure by Fiona Houston and Xa Milne.

My mind went into a bit of a frenzy trying to imagine what seaweed and chocolate would taste like and in what form I could possibly put them together. I had a look through the book and really there wasn’t a great deal I felt I could make from it – not that included chocolate anyway. So, I cheated a little, just a tiny bit. Before giving up on the book entirely, I thought I’d look to see if there was a suitable recipe I could adapt and I found one – Yummy Muffins. These muffins were unlike anything I’d made before as they used  cream cheese and lemon juice so I was keen to try them. One of the ingredients was foraged berries. Well I didn’t have any of those to hand, but I did have plenty of windfall apples, so I used those instead. And of course, I added a bit of chocolate.

This is how I made:

Apple Chocolate Chip Muffins

  • Sifted 300g flour into a bowl together with 1½ tsp of baking powder and ½ tsp of bicarbonate of soda and a pinch of sea salt.
  • Stirred in 175g cardamom (caster) sugar.
  • Peeled, cored and finely chopped 2 cooking apples making about 200g in total.
  • Added this to the flour and stirred to coat.
  • Chopped 75g of milk chocolate (35% G&B)
  • Melted 90g unsalted butter in a pan over low heat.
  • In a separate bowl, beat 90g cream cheese with the juice of half a lemon until combined.
  • Beat in 2 eggs, followed by the butter.
  • Beat in 125 ml sour milk – recipe stated ordinary milk, but I had some to hand that needed using up.
  • Made a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and poured in the wet ingredients. Mixed gently until just combined.
  • Spooned into 12 muffin cases and baked at 180°C for 25 minutes.

As we hadn’t been out of Cornwall, I didn’t have anything particularly exotic to offer the team on my return from annual leave, so these muffins went back to work with me instead. They quickly disappeared and the feedback I got was very positive, so I can say these muffins were a success and I shall be making them again.

These muffins were specifically created for Dom’s Random Recipes over at Belleau Kitchen.

 

As these muffins were meant to be made with foraged fruit and were in fact made by foraged windfalls, I am submitting them to Credit Crunch Munch which is hosted this month by Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary. This is a monthly challenge run by Fab Food 4 All and Fuss Free Flavours.

Beetroot, Carrot and Goats Cheese Muffins

Lunch, Savoury Chocolate | 26th March 2013 | By

When I met Vanesther of Bangers & Mash at Blog Summit in Bristol a couple of weeks ago, I learnt about her Recipes for Life challenge which she hosts in conjunction with SWALLOW, a charity which helps adults with learning difficulties to lead more independent lives. Do find out what it is all about by visiting her blog. As soon as I heard what the ingredients were (beetroot, carrot and cheese), I knew what I wanted to make. I first made savoury cocoa muffins for the Capricorn Challenge back in October last year and was very impressed by the results; I’m not sure why I haven’t made them since. My only concern was would I have time to do it. With a cake club meeting, a chocolate course and a birthday party to bake for, I really wasn’t sure if I could fit it in. But sense prevailed; as well as making a nice change to my lunchtime sandwich, it would save me having to make said item in the mornings before going to work, something I always find a bit of a chore. I was also given a bit of a helping hand by Ethel the Goat, who is up to her old tricks again and a round of Capricorn cheese or two found its way to my kitchen.

This is how I made:

Beetroot, Carrot & Goats Cheese Muffins

  • Scrubbed 2 medium carrots and 2 smallish beetroot (weighing about 300g) then topped, tailed and grated them in a food processor.
  • Put 300g flour (half wholemeal, half white) in a mixing bowl.
  • Added 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda and 1/4 tsp salt.
  • Added 2 tbsp cocoa powder and 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • Whisked together to ensure all was incorporated and there were no lumps.
  • Stirred in 50g of chopped walnuts.
  • In another bowl beat 2 large organic eggs with 200ml yogurt.
  • Beat in 100ml sunflower oil.
  • Beat in 100ml milk and a good good grinding of black pepper.
  • Divided 100g Capricorn goats cheese into three.
  • Chopped two lots into pieces and stirred into the batter.
  • Chopped the third piece into twelve equal portions.
  • Made a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and added the batter.
  • Stirred as lightly as possible until everything was just incorporated.
  • Added the grated beetroot and carrots and stirred just enough to incorporate into the mixture.
  • Divided between 12 silicone muffin moulds.
  • Topped each with a piece of goats cheese.
  • Baked at 200C for 20 minutes
  • Left for a few minutes in their moulds, then turned out onto a wire rack to cool.

These were just as good as the Beetroot, Walnut Goat’s Cheese Muffins I originally made and the raw grated vegetables cooked through with no problem.

Blog Summit Bristol

I’m not going to write an account of the Blog Summit, a really useful gathering of bloggers from Foodies100 and Tots100 held at the famous MShed down by the river. This is partly because there was not a single piece of chocolate or chocolate cake or even a chocolate biscuit to be had anywhere – can you believe it? Partly because others have written far more informative posts than anything I am likely to do and partly because this was the only 1/4 decent picture I took. I’ve listed below a couple of particularly useful write ups that others have done. It was a useful day and despite the rather long journey, it was worth attending. I met lots of very nice bloggers and heard quite a lot of useful tips about SEO, social media and photography – the follow / no follow issue was covered at some length. Special mention must go to Ali of PLUS 2.4 and Annie of Mammasaurus who rescued me from who knows what heinous fate as I wondered around Temple Meads in daze, stupefied by the splendour of a great metropolis – I am a country lass after all! Apart from the lack of chocolate, the only slight quibble I have, is that Foodies 100 members were sadly underrepresented, with only myself and Vanesther in attendance. 

 
Ten things I learnt at Bristol Blog Summit by Vanesther of Bangers & Mash
Blog Summit Bristol: a summary by Sally Whittle of Tots100
 

Mexican Mole Muffins and a Dr Oetker Chocolate Giveaway #15

Cornwall is my home and I hate to leave it. However, the pull of friendship can be strong, so this weekend, we headed upcountry to some chocolate loving friends in Glastonbury. With time in fairly short supply, I decided to make some chilli muffins from Unwrapped, the Green & Black’s Original chocolate cookbook. These Mexican Mole Muffins appealed, not only because they were quick to make, but also because they had a lot of chocolate in them – ideal for the aforementioned chocoholics. With the cold winds and hail storms we’d been experiencing, the chilli seemed like a nice warming idea too.

Luckily I had recently been sent a load of chocolate goodies from Dr Oetker, so I had plenty of chocolate to choose from. As the above recipe called for a high cocoa content milk chocolate, the 33% Cook’s chocolate was ideal.

This is how I did it:

  • Chopped 100g 33% milk chocolate into shreds with a sturdy knife.
  • Chopped half a de-seeded rocoto chilli finely.
  • Sifted 200g flour (half wholemeal, half white) into a bowl along with 1 tsp baking powder, 25g cocoa powder and 1/2 tsp fine sea salt.
  • Added 110g vanilla (caster) sugar. 
  • Stirred in the chocolate and chilli.
  • In a large jug, beat 2 medium eggs with 100ml sunflower oil.
  • Whisked in 225g milk and 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract.
  • Made a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and poured in the wet.
  • Mixed together gently until just incorporated.
  • Divided the mixture between the muffin cases, making a complete mess as I did so – the mixture was very runny.
  • Baked at 180C for 20 minutes.

They didn’t rise as much as I expected, but they were nonetheless delicious. The rocoto generated a gentle heat, which allowed the flavour of the chilli to come through. But after the muffin had gone, that same chilli buzzed around the mouth and was much more noticeable. Although liberally studded with chocolate, which gave a satisfying sweet crunchy burst, the chips had sunk to the bottom half, which was a bit disappointing but inevitable given the wetness of the batter. Anyway, between us we managed to devour most of them in fairly short shrift and used them to power us to the top of Glastonbury Tor.

Many thanks to Dr Oetker for this great chocolate themed toolbox. I’m looking forward to making lots of fun things with the remaining items, although I have already made some scrumptious cookies with the white choc chips – recipe to be posted later.

This is what I received:

  • 150g bar of cook’s 33% milk chocolate
  • 150g bar of cook’s 54% dark chocolate
  • 150g bar of cook’s 72% dark chocolate
  • 100g bag of white chocolate chunks
  • Pack of chocolate ready to roll icing
  • Giant milk chocolate stars
  • Chocolate flavour writing icing
  • Milk and white chocolate flakes
  • Chocolate flavour strands
  • Vanilla extract with seeds
  • Cake release spray

Giveaway
If you would like a chance at getting your hands on this chocolate baking and decorating extravaganza just in time for Christmas, then please fill in the Rafflecopter below. You will need to leave a comment on this post which then gives you additional chances to enter if you so wish. Rafflecopter will pick a winner at random from the entries received. If you are commenting anonymously, please give me some way of identifying you as I will be verifying the validity of entries. Any automated entries will be disqualified. This giveaway is only open to those with a UK postal address.

Closing date is Sunday 2 December 2012

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pumpkin and Goat’s Cheese Tarragon Brunch Muffins – We Should Cocoa 26

When Natalie of Hungry Hinny chose pumpkin for this month’s We Should Cocoa, my first thought was not a happy one. Normally we manage to grow a fair few winter squashes; this year, if we are very lucky and the mild weather continues for a bit, we might get one. So, for the first time in many a long year, I had to buy a winter squash, in this case a butternut. Once I got over this unfortunate turn of events, a number of possibilities went flying around my head. Last year, I made a really light almond and squash cake and some really dense pumpkin and ginger cakes, both were delicious although very different. I quite fancied making a marble cake to get the bright orange from the pumpkin contrasting with the chocolate, but others got there before me. In the end, I thought I’d go for a triple whammy and do something using pumpkin oil, pumpkin seeds and squash flesh.

 
With thoughts of my very successful beetroot muffins lingering on, I thought I’d try something similar and enter it into the #CapricornChallenge. Sadly I only had 70g of goats cheese, so had to make up the 100g with cheddar. I also decided tarragon might compliment the flavour of squash, so I used the last few withering sprigs of tarragon from our garden.
 
This is what I did:
  • Roasted 350g of cubed butternut squash in a little olive oil at 200C for 20 minutes.
  • Toasted 40g of pumpkin seeds by dry frying them in a pan for a few minutes until a substantial number had popped.
  • Put 300g flour (100g wholemeal spelt, 200g white) in a mixing bowl.
  • Added 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda and 1/4 tsp salt.
  • Added 2 tbsp cocoa powder & whisked together to ensure all was incorporated and there were no lumps.
  • Stirred in the cooled pumpkin seeds.
  • Grated in 30g cheddar cheese.
  • Divided 70g goats cheese into two.
  • Chopped half into small pieces and stirred into the flour.
  • Chopped the other half into 24 portions and put to one side.
  • In a separate bowl beat 3 small eggs with 200ml yogurt.
  • Beat in 50ml of pumpkin seed oil and 50ml sunflower oil.
  • Beat in 100ml milk and a good good grinding of black pepper.
  • Chopped a few tarragon leaves into tiny pieces and beat these in too.
  • Mashed the roasted squash roughly with a fork and stirred into the milk mixture.
  • Made a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and added the batter.
  • Stirred as lightly as possible until everything was just incorporated.
  • Divided between 12 silicone muffin moulds.
  • Topped each with a few raw pumpkin seeds and two pieces of goats cheese.
  • Baked at 200C for 20 minutes
  • Left for a few minutes in their moulds, then turned out onto a wire rack to cool.

As I hoped, these were a match for the beetroot muffins and made a very tasty lunch for CT and I for the next few days. Toasting the pumpkin seeds first worked really well, bringing out their rich nutty flavour. The squash was more subtle, but played its part very well in keeping the muffins moist. The tarragon added a nice aniseed hint, although a few more leaves would have given a better flavour; it was only just detectable. The cheese added that yummy umami quality which just makes you want to come back for more.

One Ingredient is also featuring pumpkin this month, so in addition to entering this, I’m also looking forward to seeing the other entries – squash is one of my favourite vegetables. This month’s challenge is hosted by Nazima of Franglais Kitchen, but is co-hosted by Laura of How to Cook Good Food.

As the last of our tarragon was used in these muffins, I am entering them into Herbs on Saturday, hosted by Karen of Lavender and Lovage.

I’m also submitting these to Weekend Herb Blogging as I’ve used both tarragon and pumpkin seeds. This is a weekly challenge where any recipe featuring some part of a plant can be submitted. This week is being hosted by La Cucina di Cristina

Beetroot, Goats Cheese, Chocolate & Walnut Brunch Muffins

Lunch, Savoury Chocolate | 3rd October 2012 | By

 

That goat, otherwise known as Ethel, has filled my head with thoughts of goats cheese and chocolate and I can hardly think of cooking with anything else. The fig and goats cheese tarts still have my mouth watering at the thought of them. At the weekend, rather than making my normal loaf for my work sandwiches, I thought I’d try something a little different to take in for lunch. Some lightly vinegared baby beetroot was in the hamper I received for the #capricornchallenge.

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Chia Seed Muffins – We Should Cocoa 17

Small Cakes, We Should Cocoa | 22nd January 2012 | By

As some of my regular readers will know, I try to ensure that most of my baked goods contain mostly healthy ingredients. Indeed they are a good vehicle for nuts, fruit, seeds and various super foods. I generally use at least half wholemeal, spelt or other healthy flours in my baking. I use organic eggs where possible and properly free ranging hen and duck eggs when it’s not. I believe organic butter where the cows have been grass fed is also nutritious (in moderation). Chocolate, it goes without saying is good for you 😉 My main concern is sugar – I haven’t managed to convince myself on this one. I use raw sugars in the main and do use other sweeteners such as Rapadura and agave syrup sometimes. But these substitutes are expensive and I do have rather a sweet tooth. I just hope, the other nutritious ingredients counteract the bad of the sugar. For more information on Rapadura and other ingredients I use see ingredients are the key – ties in very nicely with this month’s healthy theme.

But when Chele announced that the theme for this month’s We Should Cocoa was healthy eating, I thought I’d go the whole hog and produce something that was properly good for you. One of my Christmas  presents from CT was a packet of chia seeds. Chia seeds are said to be super healthy: they contain omega 3, vitamin B, complete protein, anti-oxidants and fibre. It is also claimed they can replace half the conventional fat in any recipe with no discernible effects on taste and texture. The secret is to soak the seeds in water for 15 minutes before using. They form a gel, which is then ready to be used. This seemed to be a good opportunity to put these claims to the test.

So for added nutrition, I rather nervously thought I’d create a muffin recipe using wholemeal spelt and oats, some of the pumpkin butter I made back along, Rapadura rather than sugar and of course, chia seeds. I also had a jar of raw chocolate and almond spread that I hadn’t yet used and thought this would be suitable for the chocolate element.

This is what I did:

  • Spooned 1 level tbsp of chia seeds into a jug.
  • Topped it up with water to 50ml and left to soak for 15 minutes.
  • Beat 2 eggs with 120g rapadura and 35ml sunflower oil for a few minutes until well incorporated and bubbly.
  • Beat in 2 heaped tbsp pumpkin butter.
  • Stirred in the chia seeds (which had indeed turned to gel)
  • Sifted in 200g wholemeal spelt, 2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda.
  • Folded this into the egg mixture together with 50g rolled oats.
  • Spooned this into 12 muffin cases.
  • Placed a small teaspoon of raw almond and chocolate spread on top and scattered over a few oats.
  • Baked at 180C for 23 minutes.

These had a nice flavour with a rich aroma of molasses, but they weren’t overly sweet. They were firm, substantial and chewy and had a crunchy top. CT’s comment was “it tastes like it’s probably good for you”. They’d be ideal as a breakfast muffin, but I think I’d feel a bit short changed if I got these as a tea-time treat. The chocolate spread was really good and I’m not sure why I haven’t used it before.

The only thing I wish I’d done differently was to put the chocolate spread in the middle of the muffin rather than on top, where it got burnt. I’d sort of assumed the chocolate spread would sink through the mix, which is why I’d put it on top, but it didn’t!

PS 18 February – Nearly one month after making these, I’ve just found two muffins hidden in one of my cake tins and amazingly they are not only still edible, but really nice – I shall have to rename these indestructible muffins!

Double Chocolate Buns – Quick, Easy & Delicious

Double Chocolate Buns

Small Cakes | 6th October 2011 | By

When is a bun not a bun? Who knows, it all gets rather confusing. Some might call these double chocolate buns American muffins, some cupcakes or maybe even fairy cakes. Whatever you call them, they are easy to make and really delicious.

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Apple Sauce and Raspberry Muffins

Small Cakes | 11th February 2011 | By

Following on from last month’s We Should Cocoa, I was in use up leftovers mode. I had a jar of apple sauce that I made back in September still sitting in my fridge and some raspberry puree I’d made some time back that had gone alcoholic. When I spotted Chele’s Skinny Passionfruit and Raspberry Muffins, I knew just how to use that apple and raspberry up. I do like passionfruit, but not having any of those in the house I used double the quantity of apple sauce instead. Mine weren’t quite as “skinny” as Chele’s as I used whole eggs rather than just the whites and I did, of course, add a little chocolate! Using wholemeal and the protein rich quinoa flour made up for these lapses.

This is what I did:

  • Sifted 360g flour (150g wholemeal, 150g white and 60g quinoa) into a bowl with 1 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp bicarb of soda.
  • Stirred in 105g granulated sugar
  • Made a well in the centre and added 2 duck eggs, 300ml apple sauce, 2 tbsp raspberry puree and 3 tbsp milk.
  • Mixed together until combined then stirred in 50g chopped 70% dark chocolate.
  • Divided mixture between 12 muffin cases and baked at 180C for 18 minutes.
What a difference shelf position made; those on the right were on the top shelf and those on the left were on the bottom. After my success with the triple apple and orange cake, I’ve become rather a fan of using apple butter or apple sauce to replace or reduce the butter used in baking (although I still remain wedded to butter). The apple gives a lovely texture as well as keeping everything moist. These were no exception.  Of course, the downside to thinking these were “healthy” was that we ate twice as many as we might otherwise have done; we did, however, manage to keep them going for three days and they kept really well.

Rhubarb & White Chocolate Muffins with a Garden Tour

Events, Small Cakes | 29th May 2010 | By


In our old allotment we used to harvest masses amounts of rhubarb and it was always a challenge to try and use it up. I used to make crumble of course, rhubarb and ginger cake, rhubarb polenta cake and rhubarb vodka, I’d give it away and even managed to sell it at our local organic shop a few times. Since losing that plot, we have been rhubarbless for three years now and I’ve really missed it. We planted a crown in our new plot this year, but won’t be able to harvest anything until next year. Luckily, we had passed a crown of our old rhubarb to my mother and a couple of weeks ago she gave me a nice bunch of it to use – hoorah! I’d already spotted this muffin recipe over at Chocolate Teapot, so I knew exactly what I wanted to make with it.

 
This also coincided with a wild food walk combined with a local tour of three vegetable plots of varying styles, one of which was ours. Tea and cake was to be had at the middle venue so these muffins were to be my contribution. As I had yogurt in the fridge and no buttermilk I made a substitution using part yogurt and part water. I also added vanilla, which wasn’t in the original recipe.
 
This is what I did:
  • Chopped 400g rhubarb into small pieces
  • Chopped 150g white chocolate into small pieces (I used my usual Green & Black’s which is very vanillary)
  • Creamed 80g unsalted butter with 150g vanilla sugar (I have a jar of granulated sugar with a vanilla pod in it permanently on the go.
  • Beat in 2 duck eggs and 100g Greek yogurt
  • Stirred in 225g of sifted flour (1/2 wholemeal, 1/2 white) and 1 tsp baking powder alternately with 50g water.
  • Added the rhubarb and chocolate pieces and mixed thoroughly.
  • Spooned into 12 muffin cases and baked at 200C for 20 mins.
 
Because of all the rhubarb, these were particularly moist but oh so good to eat. The tartness and flavour of the rhubarb was a great contrast to the sweetness of the white chocolate. I did notice one participant going back for a sneaky second. The walk and tour was a great success as we had a good turnout, the weather was fabulous, the plots were appreciated, lots of knowedge was shared and the tea was totally scrumptious. Unfortunately I forgot, again, to take much in the way of photographs as we went along!