Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Christmas Morning Muffins - Sweet and Simple Bakes
As well as delicious muffins my great, big beautiful cat "Mystery" is featured in this post, taking his ease in his kitty condo. He is truly the master and commander in my house and posed for a special Holiday pic.
Sweet and Simple Bakes is one of my favorite blogs, with a great recipe to enter every month. For December we could vote on one out of four Christmas recipes and Nigella Lawson's "Christmas Morning Muffins" won. (I was one of the folks who voted for the muffins recipe).
I have just consumed a Christmas Morning Muffin. It's 9:15PM on December 16th but that doesn't matter does it? - I think Nigella will allow me some poetic licence. They were not quite cooled on the rack when I reached out and grabbed one - oh my, delicious! It's all those plump dried cranberries (1/2 lb.) in the mix that did the trick, I think.
Some of the ingredients are true British and a bit difficult to get here in the States, but it's nothing that can't be resolved. For caster sugar just pulse some regular sugar in the coffee grinder a few times and presto, it's caster sugar. Demerara sugar can be substituted with "Sugar in the Raw." It's not as sparkly as Demerara sugar but it will taste good. I got fresh dried cranberries at Sahadi's on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn - just so much better than the dry shrivelled stuff one gets in a packet at the supermarket.
I took them to work (all 10 of them as I ate two before work) and placed them alongside the "Buttery Jam Cookies" I had baked for "Tuesdays with Dorie." They were quite the rave (as well as the cookies). An excellent recipe for Christmas time and so easy to put together. Here's the recipe:
Christmas Morning Muffins ~ adapted from Nigella Christmas Book
250g (9 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
2½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g (4 oz) caster (super fine) sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Good grating of fresh nutmeg (or ¼ tsp ground nutmeg)
2 Clementine’s or Satsuma’s *see notes*
Approx 125ml (4 fl oz) full-fat milk
75g 3 oz) vegetable oil (or melted butter, left to cool slightly)
175g (6 oz) dried cranberries
For The Topping
3 tsp Demerara sugar *see notes*
Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan oven 180°C/400°F/Gas mark 6. Line a 12-bun muffin tin with muffin paper cases.
Measure the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, caster sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg into a large bowl; grate the zest of the Clementine’s/Satsuma’s over and combine.
Squeeze the juice of the Clementine’s/Satsuma’s into a measuring jug, and pour in the milk until it comes up to the 200ml (7 fl oz) mark.
Add the oil (or slightly cooled, melted butter) and egg, and lightly beat until just combined.
Pour this liquid mixture into the bowl of dried ingredients and stir until everything is more or less combined, remembering that a well-beaten mixture makes for heavy muffins; a lumpy batter is a good here.
Fold in the cranberries, then spoon the batter into the muffin cases and sprinkle the Demerara sugar on top.
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. The muffins are ready to eat now either plain or broken up and smeared with butter and marmalade.
*Cranberries could also be replaced with another dried fruit of choice*
If you’re unable to source Clementine’s or Satsuma’s, 1 orange of zest and juice would be adequate.