The mornings are getting chillier and the days shorter, reminding me that Winter is almost here. That means muffin season! Either as a sneaky treat with hot butter and cup of tea, or something extra in the school lunchbox, muffins are a wonderful tine in the fork of my baking adventures.
I love baking muffins because of the potential for variety; you can add fruit or veggies to them to really pump up the nutrients, or combine flavours for a more decadent muffin like white chocolate and raspberry, or caramel and date.
One of my favourite flavour combinations is chocolate and cherry. I’d had The Australian Women’s Weekly Kids’ Cooking book open on my recipe stand for weeks, on the apricot and coconut muffins page. This morning I happened upon a can of cherries in the cupboard, and thought of the dessicated coconut in the fridge. Cherry, plus coconut, plus chocolate (there is always a bag of choc-bits in the cupboard) equals a Bounty bar and Cherry Ripe combo in a cake, basically!
Whenever I bake something, I have a ready-made helper in Spider Boy. Today, he got his fingers into the buttery coconut crumble topping, he had a go of folding instead of mixing (in keeping with the lumpy muffin-mix ideal) and got the choc-bit to muffin mix ratio just right.
415g can cherries
1/2 cup choc-bits (give or take)
2 1/4 cups self-raising flour
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup cherry jam
1/4 cup plain flour
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1/3 cup dessicated coconut
1. Preheat oven to moderate. Grease a 12-hole muffin tin. Drain cherries.
2. Make coconut topping and set aside.
3. Combine flour and sugar in large bowl; use a fork to stir in cherries, then combined egg, buttermilk, oil and jam. Add in choc-bits. Mixture should look lumpy, so don’t overmix
4. Divide mixture among prepared muffin tin holes; sprinkle coconut topping over each muffin mixture. Bake, uncovered, in moderate over for about 25 minutes. Stand muffins in tin for 5 minutes; place top-side up on wire rack to cool.
Combine flour, sugar and coconut in a small bowl; use fingers to rub butter into flour mixture.
Makes 12 muffins.
The proof of the pudding
They weren’t ready after 25 minutes, so I gave them another 10. The result was perfect. Or as perfect as one of my baking adventures gets.
After the extra 10 minutes baking time, they were cooked perfectly. I’d had a wedge of paper in the broken oven door (I’ve been baking that way for a few months, the spring on the door has gone but is soon to be replaced).
The muffins were moist with a golden crumbly crumble topping. The tartness of the cherry perfectly balanced the chocolatey sweetness of the choc chips.
I met my friends Lulu and Mr. M later that day, so it was nice to be able to give them 1/2 the batch of freshly made muffins. Lulu texted later that she ate hers warmed up with ice cream.
My mum said, “You could sell those”, which is a real compliment as mum doesn’t say anything unless she really thinks it.
Recipe based on apricot and coconut muffin recipe from The Australian Women’s Weekly Kids’ Cooking.