Blueberry Muffins

With summer well and truly here I felt that continuing the summer baking just made sense. Blueberry muffins are simple, and taste delicious. They are a staple of almost any coffee shop, be it a Starbucks or one of the better quality independent places (we’ve a few great ones kicking about in Leeds, like Mrs Athas and Laynes Espresso). Filling a muffin with fruit, especially berries, adds that extra burst of flavour. It gives me the chance to say “it’s got fruit in it, it’s healthy”.

The key with this recipe is to leave it to rest for as long as you can allow yourself. (As  I often bake on a weeknight I usually don’t wait as long as I usually should). If you can allow it, leave it overnight and the cakes will taste just that bit better. This is a recipe for a relatively small batch, I didn’t want too many as I was making biscuits later in the night for my trip up to Scotland.

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This is also the first time that I’ve managed to get my DSLR involved with the photos. The charger simply disappeared a while ago and I had to order a new one. Part of this blog is going to be me teaching myself what I’m actually doing with it, so I’m hoping the pictures get better as I go along.

Blueberry Muffins
 
Ingredients
  • 110g plain flour
  • 110g butter
  • 65g caster sugar
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • 125g blueberries, or equivalent in frozen blueberries
  • pinch nutmeg (optional)
Instructions
  1. Mix together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.
  2. Cream together the butter and the sugar until creamy, this can take several minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. Mix in the flour, beating until smooth.
  4. Leave the batter covered in the fridge overnight, or at least one hour.
  5. Preheat your oven to 200°C (180°C fan). Line a muffin tray.
  6. Spoon the batter into each case, it should fill to around half way in each. Dot the top of the muffins with blueberries, 8-10 in each depending on how you want them to taste.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

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Pecan Brownies

I am fed up of store bought brownies. They just never seem to be right. They are either too cakelike without enough chew or the top isn’t glazed. I don’t even understand why, brownies couldn’t be much simpler. Couple a good chewy brownie with some nuts and you’ve got heaven. There isn’t even much more I can say about that. I just got a craving, one that could only be satisfied by Pecan Brownies.

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I’m a bit of a cheat with brownies. I got a brownie tin a little while back that allows me to bake them into individual squares, rather than into one big slab.

Pecan Brownies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Ingredients
  • 225 grams light brown muscovado sugar
  • 75 grams self-raising flour
  • 25 grams cocoa powder
  • 3 large eggs (beaten)
  • 400 grams milk chocolate
  • 200 grams butter
  • 100 grams pecan nuts (chopped)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 150°C (130°C fan).
  2. Melt the chocolate with the butter using a water bath, placing a heatproof bowl over hot water and stirring until they have melted together.
  3. Add the sugar to the molten chocolate and mix well. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in the nuts.
  4. Combine the flour and cocoa powder then sift into the chocolate mixture, mixing well.
  5. If using a tin similar to mine, divide up the mixture to around half way up each of the holes. You’ll have enough leftover for either a second batch or else a small tin worth and bake for 35-45 minutes.
  6. Otherwise pour into an 8 inch square tin and bake for 60 minutes (1 hour).

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Strawberries and Cream Cupcakes

Summer has well and truly hit Yorkshire this last week or so. With the sun shining it has lead me towards some more summer themed recipes. Along with a visit to the York food festival, which is just brimming with local food produce. I stocked up on various things (that my budget allowed) and came home with some Chorizo, Brie, Oak Smoked Cheddar and fresh Strawberries. There was infinitely more that I wanted, but I just couldn’t justify it. The trip to York was a delight, involving sun, food, ice cream, sights, beer and good company. There isn’t much of a better time to visit York (apart from maybe just before Christmas, when all the decorations are up). When the sun is out it is undoubtedly one of the prettiest cities in the UK. Even if, to me, it has the whole “hometown” dullness that happens when you live somewhere for your teenage years.

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The pieces I picked up prompted me to make a couple of different things and over the next couple of days I’ll be uploading a couple of different recipes. This one involves the strawberries I picked up; Strawberries and Cream Cupcakes. It’s a quick recipe and absolutely perfect for summer. Especially if you are a Wimbledon fan. Strawberries and Cream is just one of the best simple combinations possible.  Coupled with the surprise of a Strawberry Jam centre to add that extra hit of flavour these cupcakes can be put together quickly and don’t even feel unhealthy. Keeping them small and topped with a fresh strawberry you just can’t go wrong.

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Strawberries and Cream Cupcakes
 
Ingredients
  • 200g/7oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g/7oz caster sugar
  • 4 free-range eggs
  • 200g/7oz self-raising flour
  • 4 tbsp good-quality strawberry jam
  • 250ml/9fl oz lightly whipped double cream
  • 250g/9oz strawberries, hulled
  • icing sugar, for dusting
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C fan). Line a cupcake tray with cases.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, this can take several minutes, so persevere.
  3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beating well after each addition.
  4. Fold in the flour until you have a smooth mixture, it will be quite thick.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the cases, filling about half way. Spoon about ½ a teaspoon of jam into the middle of each case. Cover with more cake mix. The final case should be around ¾ full.
  6. Place in the centre of your preheated oven and bake for between 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
  7. Remove from the oven and set to cool on a wire rack.
  8. Once they have cooled, whip up the double cream. With a small sharp knife, cut a small well into the top of each cake.
  9. Pipe the cream into the well and top with a strawberry. Dust with icing sugar.
  10. Store in the fridge, these are best eaten straight away.

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