Category: Muffins

Perfect chelsea butter buns…guest post

These chelsea butter buns are PERFECT!!! They are the best perfectly perfect fabulous awesome loveliness (running out of adjectives). I know this because I didn’t make them. Megan did. Megan, who needs no introduction after sharing her lovely soups and savoury muffins previously.

Here’s her fabulous how-to guide for Chelsea butter buns – old school style with pink icing, coz it tastes better than way. Perfect! Take it away megs:
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I have been meaning to make these for weeks, ever since Aimee and I visited this amazing little cafe in Soho in London, where we shared this amazing Chelsea butter bun.

When I came back to Melbourne, I dragged out my copy of the Women’s Weekly ‘How to Cook Absolutely Everything’ book and sure enough, there was a recipe in there for these delicious little buns!

So this weekend, I attempted to make them. I followed the recipe below verbatim, but found you could definitely cut the butter ratio to around 100 grams, brown sugar to about ½ a cup and even the currants to about 1 ½ cups.

It goes a little something like this:

Cut them up, nice are carefully.

Line them up on your greased tray. Then cook them!

ice ’em. eat ’em. (say hello to the chelsea butter bun official tester. tough life for some!)

Here’s the recipe!

Ingredients
1 tablespoon of dried yeast
1 tablespoon caster sugar
4 cups plain flour
1 ½ cups warm milk
2 cups  (320g) dried currents (see notes above, I would use 1 ½ next time, you can also use a selection of dried fruit)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 egg
125g butter, melted
2/3 cup of firmly packed brown sugar

Icing
1 cup icing sugar
1 tablespoon milk
pink food colouring

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to moderately hot (200°C/180°C fan forced).
  2. Combine yeast, 1 teaspoon of the flour and milk in small bowl, cover, stand in warm place for about 10 minutes or until mixture is frothy.
  3. Place currants in small saucepan, cover with water, bring to boil. Remove from heat, cover, cool for 15 minutes. Drain currents well, combine in small bowl with rind and cinnamon.
  4. Whisk egg into yeast mixture. Sift remaining flour into a large bowl; stir in yeast mixture. Cover, stand in warm place for about 40 minutes or until dough has doubled in size. Use this time do the dishes you were meant to do last night, except you went to the pub instead.
  5. Knead dough on floured surface for about 3 minutes or until smooth. Roll dough into 30 cm x 40 cm rectangle. Brush with a quarter of the butter and sprinkle with a third of the brown sugar.
  6. Grease a deep 23cm square cake pan. Fold one end of the dough to come two-thirds of the way up the dough, fold over top third to cover first fold. Turn dough halfway around to have the open ends facing you. (see pics above)
  7. Roll dough into 30 cm x 40 cm rectangle. Repeat folding from Step 5, using the same amount of butter and brown sugar. Turn dough halfway round, roll into 30 cm x 40 cm rectangle. Brush dough with half the remaining butter, sprinkle with remaining brown sugar and the current mixture.
  8. Roll dough firmly from the long side like a Swiss roll (I’ve never made one of these, but I like to eat them!). Cut dough evenly into nine pieces, place buns, cut side up, in the greased pan. Sprinkle with the remaining caster sugar. Stand, uncovered in a warm spot for 20 minutes or until buns have risen slightly.
  9. Drizzle buns with remaining butter. Bake, uncovered for 5 minutes. Reduce temperature to moderate (180°C/160°C fan forced). Bake for a further 25 minutes or until golden brown.
  10. Meanwhile make icing. Use no more than one drop of food colouring, unless you like my psychedelic pink icing in the photos above, in that case use 3-4 drops.
  11. Turn buns onto wire rack, drizzle a little icing onto each bun, cool.
  12. To make icing: Sift icing sugar into small bowl, stir in enough milk to form a thin, smooth paste. Tint with food colouring.

Healthy? 16.9g total fat (10.4 saturated), 2788kj (667 cal), 112g carbohydrates, 13g protein, 5.0g fibre. I would actually have an ambulance on standby for when you go into a diabetic coma from too much sugar.

Gluten free? Not this recipe.

Storage? Web searches say you can freeze them. I’ll give it a go and report back.

Basic muffin recipe

As part of my how-to collection, this handy recipe is a good starting point when you already have the muffin idea in your mind, but just need the recipe.

Banana and passionfruit muffins made from this basic muffin recipe

I always like to have food with me.  I’m one of those people who slip very quickly into grumpy-dom if I don’t eat constantly. I go from chirpy-Aimee, to evil-Aimee in a blood-sugar dropping minute.

This is why I have so many recipes. I need a range of food to last me until I’m safely back in my kitchen and pantry full of food. Today, for example, I have some cherry ripe slice and a feta and spinach muffin (amongst other things).

So every week I say ‘what muffins shall we have this week?’ the answer from my house is consistently ‘raspberry and white chocolate’. Which is lovely, but variety is the spice of life and all that. So when I look in the cupboard and see…. say…. a tin of passionfruit pulp and some old bananas, or a few apples and packet of white chocolate chips – this old favourite comes out.
Over to you – adapt away my pretties!

Ingredients
2 cups self raising flour (or 2 cups plain flour with 2 teaspoons of baking soda added)
1/4 – 1/2 cup olive/vegetable oil (or, 1/4 cup oil, 1/4 plain, non-fat natural yoghurt)
3/4 cup milk
1/2 – 3/4 cup caster sugar (alter depending on how sweet you choice of flavourings are)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
150 grams added flavour, e.g. frozen raspberries, dark/milk choc chips, grated apple, mashed banana and passionfruit (as in pic above) etc.

Method
Don’t forget the how-to make muffns post if you want some step-by-step instructions.

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin or line with patty cases and spray with cooking oil.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients together and make a well. Add all wet ingredients and pour into well. Add your choice of flavourings and mix well until just combined. Over mixing will toughen the muffins. It’s OK if you have the occasional flour pocket, muffins are meant to be rough.
  3. Spoon in to your prepared muffin tray and bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Do: get experimental. Switch out the white sugar for brown sugar or honey for different flavours. Substitute the flour for whole wheat flour. Let me know what works and what doesn’t.

Healthy? Obviously this depends what flavours you add, but this basic recipe made with 1/4 cup of oil and 1/4 natural yoghurt is 154 calories a muffin

Gluten free: I haven’t tried adapting this recipe, I will endeavour to make a basic GF muffin soon.

Storage: They freeze well, otherwise best eaten within a couple of days. Store in airtight container.

Modified from Kim’s Moist Muffins on bestrecipe.com.au

Banana and chocolate chip muffins (how to make muffin)

It’s time for a how-to post, meet my test subject, banana and chocolate chip muffins!

I’ve had a bit of feedback that ‘fold in all other ingredients’ isn’t that helpful if you haven’t been cooking much. So it’s time for a step-by-step guide. I’m going to use banana and chocolate chip muffins as the example because it’s a pretty normal recipe with the usual mix-dry-ingredients-add-wet-and-fold instructions.

Clever muffin, eh?

I think I take for granted cooking basics. I was lucky, in my house while I was a young’n’ cooking, I could always ask my mum for clarification.

10 year old me: Hey mum, the recipe says cream the butter and sugar together*, what does that mean?
Mum: Oh, no one actually does that darling. Just melt the butter and put it straight in.

Priceless motherly advice. Especially as her ‘it’ll be fine’ philosophy taught me not to be daunted by fancy-pants recipes. Not that I tend to make too many of them anyway.

*please note that although sometimes creaming butter and sugar is a grand old waste of time, for some recipes, like chocolate chip cookies, it makes them fluffier and is worth the effort. Just soften the butter on defrost in the microwave (but don’t let it melt!) and use electric beaters to beat the sugar and butter together until it’s pale in colour and fluffy, or work your arm muscles and do it yourself with a wooden spoon. Both will work.

This post will soon be followed by a basic muffin recipe you can adapt. But for now, let’s talk banana and chocolate chip.

Ingredients
Dry
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/3 cup caster sugar
Wet
60 grams butter, melted
2/3 cups mashed banana (about 2 medium/small bananas)
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup chocolate chips (about 100 grams)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C. In other words, turn the oven on when you start preparing your muffins.
  2. Prepare a 12 cup muffin tin – either spray the tin with oil spray, or rub paper towel in some margarine or butter and grease each muffin cup. If using patty pans, spray lightly with olive oil.
  3. Place flour and caster sugar (your dry ingredients) in a bowl and mix together. Form a bit of a well in the middle.
  4. In a medium bowl or jug, mix up all your wet ingredients. If there is butter, melt it. Hold off on the chocolate chips.
  5. Pour wet ingredients into the well you have just formed.
Add wet to dry

Then add your chocolate chips, make sure you eat a couple to check they’re OK.

Then, using a large wooden spoon, in a single action, run the spoon around the side, then along the base of the bowl. Now fold the mixture over onto itself.

Start at the side, run along the base, and over the top.

The point of this is to combine the ingredients without knocking the air out of it. Air keeps it fluffy. Fold until the ingredients are JUST combined. It’s OK if there is still a bit of flour not mixed through. Muffins are supposed to be rough, and if you over mix, they get chewy and tough. Just give it a go, but if you want further instructions, then you can always watch an American girl called Casey on You Tube stirring some egg whites into a chocolatey thingy to get the technique down.

…just a little flour left showing, so two more folds ’till done.

Spoon your mixture in to your prepared muffin tin and bake for 20 minutes, turning the tin around half way through the cooking time so they cook evenly. I should add here that this recipe makes about 12 small muffins, or 10 better sized ones.

Muffins are done when either one, or all of these things apply:
1. you give it a poke with your finger and it bounces back instead of indents
2. it is golden on top
3. you stick a skewer or sharp knife in it and it comes back clean. By clean, it means no raw looking dough. A bit of melted chocolate chip doesn’t apply.

As a general rule, if you think muffins are done, give them another 2-5 minutes. Anywhere before burning point is OK in my books. Note that with biscuits, the opposite applies, if you think they need two more minutes, pull them out there and then. Over cooked biscuits are only good for lobbying at siblings, whereas soft chewy biscuits are an art form.

Using tongs, remove the muffins from your pan and move to a rack to cool. This is important otherwise the muffins steam themselves in their little cups and go soggy. If you haven’t used patty pans and they’re a bit stuck, try giving the muffins a gentle twist, then use a knife to leverage one side out before grabbing it with your tongs.

Allow muffins to cool completely before putting in an airtight container, or yet again, they’ll steam themselves straight to soggy-ville.

Eat them!

These muffins are especially fun served sliced, with banana and whipped cream inside. Faaancy.

Healthy? 185 calories if you make 12

Gluten free: I’ve used GF flour and these work well, though slightly crumbly. Could do with an extra egg white if converting.

Storage: In an airtight container, or freeze well.

Sue’s jaffa muffins

EAT ME. please.

I have a very real first world problem. I think this is even worse than when my air conditioner went onto turbo and made my apartment so cold I had to put on a jumper, during a heat wave. At the moment, get this, I have too many baked goods and not enough friends to eat them because I’m temporarily living abroad. I know!

In Melbourne it was easy, bake stuff, stuff disappeared. Bake stuff, stuff disappeared. People came over for wine, after two bottles of sem sauv they left merrily with a doggie bag of biscuits for work the next day. Sometimes I’d give stuff to the neighbours. Or, I’d mail them to Perth in lieu of buying people real gifts. Er, I mean, out of love.

Believe me, I’m doing my best. I eat a lot and love to eat. But I also like variety and cook to wind down. I need some hungry friends. The girls at work are happily taking some, but they’re skinny I tells you, skinny, and not eating enough.

This AWESOME muffin recipe is pinched from Sue, who lived next door to us when I was a kid. After school I’d go over and tell her about my day at primary school and play with her toddler. She’d often have these muffins fresh out of the oven. And I bet she was grateful I ate them. After all, food is best shared.

And yea, they taste just like jaffa lollies.

Ingredients
2 oranges: grate the rind from one orange, then squeeze them to make 1/2 cup of orange juice
125 grams butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups plain flour
90 grams dark chocolate chips

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 190 C. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin or line with patty cases and spray with cooking oil.
  2. Grate orange rind and squeeze the juice or the orange to make your 1/2 cup. Mix together butter, eggs, sugar, orange rind and orange juice.
  3. Add baking powder and baking soda, mix with a fork to get all the lumps out, you’ll see the rising agents working.
  4. Fold in flour and chocolate chips and mix until just combined.
  5. Spoon into the prepared muffin tin and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean and they bounce back to touch. Makes 12

Healthy? Until more of my baked goods disappear everything is calorie-free. Yes, I have the power. (update: they got eaten. 276 calories a muffin.)

Gluten free: No, and I’ve tried adapting it. No luck, they’re just not right.

Storage:They freeze well, otherwise best eaten within a couple of days. Store in airtight container.

Little aerodynamic movie missiles aka jaffas.

Carrot cake muffins with cream cheese icing

As with a heap of the recipes on here, this is a more-is-more kind of recipe. I just couldn’t find a recipe with enough stuff in it, and for me, a carrot cake should have pineapple, sultanas, nuts and some great spices, minimum. This recipe is loosely based on a breakfast muffin (hence the oats), which also keeps it good and moist.

Ingredients

For the muffin
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup oats (not instant of quick cooking)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup olive oil (you can swap this out for plain natural yogurt, works well)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup low fat milk
1 x 225 gram can crushed pineapple (if you can’t get that – as I’m finding in the UK –  just get normal pineapple in a can and resign yourself to cutting it up best you can)
1 1/2 cups grated carrot (about 2 medium carrots)
1/2 cup sultanas
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

For the icing
½ cup light cream cheese
½ teaspoon vanilla essence
Pinch of salt
1 ½ cups icing sugar (approx.)
Orange or lemon rind (optional)

Method for muffin
Preheat oven to 180 C. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin or line with patty cases and spray with cooking oil.

Whisk flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in a large bowl.

In a medium bowl stir brown sugar, egg, oil, vanilla essence and milk until well combined. Stir in pineapple, carrots and raisins.

Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until moist.

Spoon into the prepared muffin tin and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean and muffins are golden and spring back when pressed. Makes 12

Cool on wire rack. Once completely cooled, spread on icing.

Method for icing
Mix cream cheese, salt and vanilla essence with a fork, then keep adding icing sugar until it’s thick enough to hold its own shape. You’ll end up adding over a cup and a half of icing sugar. A small amount of orange or lemon rind makes the icing extra special.

Healthy? You’ve got a couple of options, without the walnuts and icing, they come in at 190 (and 155 if you swap oil for natural yogurt). Otherwise they’re about 290 as written above, with a good generous serve of the icing, which is how I usually make them. They’re super filling!

Gluten free? I’ve made these with GF flour and GF oats and you never would have known the difference. They adapt really well.

Storage: They freeze well, icing and all. Otherwise keep in airtight container and are best eaten in two days.

Do: Eat the leftover icing and feel sick for doing it. It’s still worth it. Or, the icing freezes well if you make too much – as I often do. Then you have some stored for next time.