Category Archives: Muffins

Chocolate Brown-Butter Muffnuts

Chocolate brown butter muffnut

One of the things I like best about my new working-from-home regime is the fact that I can act on my impulses. If I want soda bread for breakfast, I can just walk into the kitchen and make soda bread for breakfast. If I fancy a curry for lunch, all I need to do is avoid being knocked out by the jar of Madras paste when I attempt to dislodge it from the top of my (overstuffed) cupboard and whip one up during The World at One. So, when I was gripped an overwhelming urge for donuts on Monday afternoon (brought on by the sight of a Dunkin Donuts box in an episode of Orange is the New Black) I knew what I needed to do.

I am too much of a wuss to deal with bubbling pans of boiling oil on a weekday afternoon, so I turned to a baked doughnut recipe from Joy the Baker to cure my cravings. While some may see baked doughnuts as being a bit of a cop-out – particularly as they lack that delicious artery-clogging hit of hot fat and white sugar you get from the fried versions – they’re great for people like me who like to kid themselves that they are a ‘healthy option’. The only snag in my glorious plan was that Joy’s original recipe calls for a ‘doughnut pan’. I do not own a doughnut pan. I do not know anyone who owns a doughnut pan. In fact, prior to reading that recipe, I wasn’t even aware that doughnut pans existed. And I certainly wasn’t going to schlep all the way to Lakeland for a very specific item of bakeware. It was time to put my thinking cap on.


So, I used what few lateral thinking skills I have retained from my time in the Girl’s Brigade, and decided to improvise. If you’ve been keeping abreast of the food media over the past week or so, you’ll have seen a lot of press about the ‘duffin,’ a doughnut-muffin hybrid which was created by Bea’s of Bloomsbury and has (rather naughtily) been trademarked by Starbucks.  I’m not going to say that this donut-muffin mishmash is my version of a ‘duffin’ as a) I don’t want to be sued by Starbucks and b) I much prefer the portmeanteau of ‘muffnut’ (plus, ‘muffnut’ just sounds dirtier.) What I will say is that these muffnuts are the perfect vehicle for a chocolate glaze and a shedload of sprinkles, and make a perfect 3pm high-tea treat. Oh, and if you have an incredibly childish sense of humour like me, they provide you with ample opportunity to make loads of jokes about your ‘muff’. Sorry Mum.

Topped Muffnuts


Adapted from Joy the Baker

You will need

For the Muffnuts:

  • 150g plain flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 75g white sugar
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 100ml buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

For the Chocolate Glaze:

  • 100g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp good quality cocoa powder (I used Green & Blacks)
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Make It!

  1. Heat your oven to 200 degrees c/gas mark 5. Lightly grease a muffin tray, and set to one side.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and sugar.
  3. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter. The butter will begin to crackle and pop as it melts. Once the water has evaporated, the butter will begin to brown quickly and smell nutty. Make sure that you keep an eye on it, as it can easily burn at this stage. Once it’s turned a rich brown colour, remove from the heat and immediately transfer (brown bits and all) to a small bowl.
  4. In a small bowl whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, brown butter and vanilla essence.
  5. Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients. Stir together until no flour bits remain and all of the ingredients are well combined. Try not to overmix the batter, as that will lead to rubbery muffnuts (and no, that’s not a euphemism.)
  6. Portion out the batter into each section of the muffin tray until they are all evenly filled. This batter should give you six large ‘muffnuts’.
  7. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, until they have turned a rich golden colour.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan before gently (!) removing them and placing them onto a wire rack. (If you don’t have rack, a large plate will be fine.)
  8. While the doughnuts cool, make the glaze.
  9. To make the glaze, sift your icing sugar into a medium sized bowl to remove any lumps. Then, whisk it together with the cocoa powder, and salt.
  10. Add 2 tablespoons of milk and vanilla essence, and whisk to combine. If it looks too thick, add a touch more milk. You want the glaze to have a relatively thick consistency.
  11. Once the muffnuts are completely cool, dip top-side-down into the chocolate glaze. Return to the wire rack/plate. If you’re artistically minded, this is the time to cover them in sprinkles. Allow to set for about 30 minutes before stacking or serving. The muffnuts should last for 2 days, but quite frankly, you’ll be lucky if they last two hours.
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Chocolate Chip Muffin Loaf

Chocolate chips

Last Wednesday, I was having an exceedingly bad day. It was raining, my train to work was late, the Virgin Trains wi-fi connection that I paid £6 for was so slow that I seriously wondered if it was being powered by a hamster wheel, my laptop decided not to save the presentation I spent an hour working on, and  – perhaps worst of all – I ate a disappointing muffin.

In fairness, I should probably have known what I was getting myself into when I decided to buy the aforementioned ‘skinny muffin’ before heading onto the train. Skinny muffin. Was there ever a more contradictory sounding food product? This one claimed to be filled with blueberries, but instead it tasted of artificial sweeteners and sadness. While I may have eaten the whole thing in a fit of hunger and self loathing, I vowed that I would not repeat the experience. And, that when I returned home, I would create a vastly superior product that would knock the socks off all who tried it. (I may have been watching too much Breaking Bad.)

Chocolate Chip Muffin Loaf (1)

So, behold this Chocolate Chip Muffin Loaf. That’s right. Muffin loaf. Because why have just one measly muffin when you can consume an entire loaf made out of the stuff? In terms of baking, this is about as simple as it gets – one bowl, lots of butter, and a shitload of chocolate chips (although, if you wanted to gussy it up a bit, this would probably be even more delicious if you added some chopped dried apricots to it.) It takes less than ten minutes to assemble too, meaning that you can go from no muffin – ultimate muffin within the space of an hour. And while this may not be the best muffin you’ve ever tasted, I’d argue that it’s pretty damn close. But seeing as I managed to eat half a loaf of this stuff within twenty minutes of it emerging from the oven, I guess I would say that.

Chocolate Chip Muffin Loaf (2)


Based loosely on this recipe from Abel & Cole

You will need:

  • 100g unsalted butter, melted
  • 200g plain white flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 130g golden caster sugar
  • 2 medium sized eggs
  • 120ml milk
  • 100g dark chocolate chips

Make It!

  1. Heat your oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Oil a medium sized loaf tin and line with baking paper (this will stop it sticking.)
  2. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a bowl.
  3. Whisk the egg, milk and butter together and add to the dry ingredients until a smooth batter forms (take care not to overmix your ingredients!)
  4. Mix in the chocolate chips. Eat a few while you’re doing this.
  5. Pour into the prepared baking tin and bake for 45 mins, till golden and a wooden skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  6. Devour immediately with a cup of tea.
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Cheddar & Herb Breakfast Muffins

I’m not really a breakfast person. The thought of scarfing down a bowl of cold soggy Cornflakes with my morning coffee fills me with dread, our Toaster has a horrible habit of trapping my homemade bread inside it and setting it on fire (leaving my house smelling of cinders and death), and whilst porridge is tasty, whenever I eat it, I’m always hungry by mid morning. Usually, I’m forced to grab an Apple and a Muller Lite from the canteen at my workplace or scoff the previous night’s leftovers. Have you ever tried eating Hot and Sour Aubergines at 7.30am? I really don’t recommend it.

However, I have a Mother who used to impress the importance of a good breakfast upon me each and every day before I left for school. In her eyes, a cup of tea and a pack of Spearmint TicTacs didn’t provide a growing teenage girl with all the nourishment she needed to go forth and prosper in the big bad world. And whilst I (foolishly) have gone against most of her advice in my 28 years on this earth (Mum, if you’re reading this, sorry about the whole ‘smoking’ thing), her wise words about breakfast still rattle around my brain each and every time I contemplate leaving for work with only a cup of tea in my stomach.

These Cheddar and Herb Breakfast Muffins are my attempt to solve that whole ‘what shall I have for breakfast this morning?’ conundrum. Filled with cubes of deliciously melty, oozing cheddar and most of the dried herbs I had stored away in my cupboard, they’re filling without being too stodgy. All you need to do is break them in half, add a smear of butter to their innards and you’re away. Best of all, being portable, they’re the perfect handheld snack to stuff into your gob whilst you’re skidding around in the snow.  I imagine they’d work equally well when paired with a bowl of soup, but to tell you the truth, these smelled so delicious when they came out of the oven that I ate two of them in one gulp and had to hide the others so I have them for breakfast tomorrow. After all, I believe in delayed gratification…and these are definitely muffins worth waiting until morning for.

You can use both dried and fresh herbs for this recipe. If you use fresh then use maybe 1/2 teaspoon more of the herbs.

You will need:

  • 240g plain flour
  • 240g cubed cheddar (I used a relatively strong cheddar in my muffins, but like many things in life, your mileage may vary)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon thyme, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon oregano, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium egg
  • 80ml buttermilk (Not sure how to make Buttermilk? Follow this handy guide!)
  • 60ml olive oil

Make It!

  1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 5/200 degrees C. Line a muffin tray with paper cups, or alternatively, spray the innards with some spray oil.
  2. Whisk together the flour, Cheddar, sugar, thyme, rosemary, basil, salt and baking powder. In another bowl whisk together the buttermilk, oil, and egg. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture. Mix together until gloppy and all ingredients have just come together.
  3. Spoon into baking cups and bake for 20-22 minutes. (Be careful when you’re putting these into the oven, and don’t burn your hand on the grill filament like I did. OUCH OUCH OUCH). Cool in pan on a wire rack for a minute or two. Serve immediately.
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