Archive for the 'Muffins' Category

A RECIPE: Banana & chocolate muffins

banana muffins

I was going to give you a break from baking this week and provide you with a warming soup recipe for a change. Obviously this did not happen but there are some mitigating factors and I think you’ll find them quite reasonable. You see, for the past two weeks my boss has been out of town and on any normal occasion this would mean that I would be left with rather more work on my plate than is to be desired, especially in the run-up to the holidays. But what wasn’t known when she booked her two week beef eating, wine drinking, tango-dancing jaunt to Argentina was that the day after she came back there would be a rather famous British chef cooking for a week on the show.  Jamie Oliver- perhaps you’ve heard of him?

Jamie, was how it all began for me and I look back on my days assisting his food stylist fondly- except maybe that day where I spent twelve hours cleaning mushrooms. Or the time when I had to wash-up in a pigs trough in the winter in the pouring rain. But other than those two days, pure fondness. Working with a genius is never easy and so this past week my work load went from being undesirable to down-right stressful. Delays in getting information did not help but then neither did my decision in the same week to run a marathon, in eleven weeks time. Training for 26.2 miles of knee-pounding does have a habit of eating into one’s waking hours. Jamie marathons or even Jamie and marathons combined with daylight savings is why I never got around to photographing the parsnip soup that is warming my belly for the second night in a row.  And that is the long and the short of why there’s no soup recipe for you today- it’s now too bloody dark outside to take a decent photograph. And I didn’t want to try to sell you parsnip soup without showing you how beautiful it really is- so you’ll have to wait.

On that note- they say when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. I say that when life gives you bananas and you don’t get a chance to eat them because you spend too many hours at work, make banana bread (or muffins). And of course no banana recipe would be complete in my books without its best mate, dark chocolate firmly by its side. These muffins use the same method as the pumpkin one’s I made a few weeks ago and it is officially my new favourite muffin batter. It’s so moist that it’s hard to eat just one; although the fact that they’re mini doesn’t help either. Or perhaps it’s just all that running I’ve been doing…..

Continue reading ‘A RECIPE: Banana & chocolate muffins’

A RECIPE: Pumpkin mini cakes

Another Magnolia bakery has opened up just down the street from my work. From first thing in the morning to last thing at night there is a line that winds out the door and onto Sixth Avenue in midtown. I stroll past the beautiful windows daily- the shelves neatly displaying jars of cup cake adornments and ingredients in a Martha Stewart-esque way. An industrial-sized Kitchen Aid sits in one corner with glossy butter cream icing beating away as a baker slowly adds sugar and the long glass covered display cases are lined with cupcakes designed to entice. And all I keep thinking as I stroll past this enticing little shop is: why are you people so crazy about these cupcakes? They are dry and taste of nothing but sugar. The overly ambitious swirls of icing, weigh down heavily on the pitifully dry cake bases and taste of not of butter but lard. These cupcakes do nothing for me and I find it so hard to believe that anybody throws the wrapper away feeling satisfied. Munching on sugar cubes would give me the same satisfaction, or lack there of. They are the Sarah Palin’s of the culinary world- attractive, maybe even enticing if you don’t think about it, but completely devoid of substance.

But then I’m not the biggest cake eater- which I probably should have let you in on first. If I’m going to sit down to eat cake then it has to be moist, rich in flavour, and utterly moorish– which Magnolias emphatically are not. As one who would not on most accounts break out into a freakish dance of joy over a cake and one loaded with pumpkin and spices to boot, I implore you to try these. Not only do they rise into beautiful ragged-peaked domes with ease and taste even better the next day but despite their small size they manage to remain dense and squidgy and just a teeny bit sticky. If comfort was a cake these would be they.

Continue reading ‘A RECIPE: Pumpkin mini cakes’

A RECIPE: Coconut muffins with lime curd


Ever since I produced these fabulous (if I do say so myself) cookies, I’ve become borderline obsessive compulsive about testing recipes with coconut oil. I get into little ruts like this on a fairly regular basis- like at breakfast for instance. Breakfast is the only meal of the day where I become infatuated with a particular thing and stick with it for six months to a year, unable to break the habit. That is until I’m forced to and then I, reluctantly at first move on to something else. For instance I have just broken the Total 2% yogurt with mango and blueberries phase and I’m now back to porridge dolloped with yogurt and sprinkled with grapenuts (sometimes berries). Every other meal of the day is different but breakfast is where I get stuck. And so I’ve digressed. Coconut oil is now consuming my every culinary thought and as I discover its versatility I’m becoming more and more infatuated.

Partially it’s the smell. Unscrewing a jar of coconut oil is like opening a bag of coffee to me. I just have to shove my nose inside and inhale like it’s the last breath I’ll take in all day. So, in lieu of my preoccupation with the use of coconut oil, this weeked I baked muffins. Lots of muffins. Lots of muffins that are now piled high in my freezer crying out for people to come over and eat so that they don’t fall out everytime that I open the door. It took me a while to come up with something that worked because I wanted to incorporate the lemon-lime curd I had in the fridge- initially with the idea that I would fill them with the curd. But it all became too tricky and so I stuck with spooning over the curd after the cooking (which is optional but highly recommended). Instead you could cut them open and spread with jam or honey. Enjoy and please pass on any suggestions for coconut oil that you have! Continue reading ‘A RECIPE: Coconut muffins with lime curd’

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