Posts Tagged ‘Joy of Baking’

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Many Muffins

June 9, 2010

I’m enjoying this recent spate of muffin baking I’m on. As much as I adore my Kitchen Aid there’s something to be said for the ease with which a batch of muffins can be brought together. I also seem to be braver when it come to adapting recipes, something about the end result being distributed amongst 24 paper cases rather than the trepidation of all those ingredients going into the one bundt tin. The reduced baking time can be a bonus (although doesn’t quite leave enough time to clean the bathroom -thank god for portable kitchen timers) as is the reduced cooling time and the fact that they’re perfect for easy distribution. All of which mean that there’s time to whip up a batch before work in the morning rather than having to wait until the weekend in order to allow enough time for prepping, baking and cooling.

For a basic, and adaptable, muffin recipe I found this from Joy of Baking. I was going to play around, but then remembered the packs of blueberries in the freezer and used them straight off. The feedback was great and I really can’t stress how quick and easy it is. The important thing about making muffins is not to over mix the dry ingredients into the wet. A full explanation of why can be found on the link above, but 10-15 ‘stirs’ should be enough to incorporate the flour, you may still have the odd dry clump and streaks of flour, don’t worry!

I recently adapted Dorie’s Carrot Spice Muffins recipe to good effect, I think, starting with substituting courgettes for the carrots (I do love my courgettes). I worried, as I was counting out those ten to fifteen stirs, that there perhaps weren’t quite enough raisins or walnuts in the batter mix. But, the muffins were delightful with some bites delivering a nutty crunch, another the sweet taste of dried fruit with the hint of spice and moistness from the courgettes throughout.





Courgette Spice Muffins
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Carrot Spice Muffin Recipe

Makes 24 muffins

300g plain flour
300g wholemeal flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp salt
120g light muscavado sugar (or light brown)
150g caster sugar
1 1/3 cup oil
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups grated courgettes
50g raisins
50 sultanas
75g chopped walnuts
zest of a large orange

Preheat oven 190C
Grease or line muffin tins

Mix flours, spices, bicarb and baking powder in a large bowl
Add sugars, mixing so there are no lumps
In a large mixing bowl or jug whisk together eggs, oil, buttermilk, vanilla and orange zest
Add in the grated courgette and combine well
Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir until just combined, do not over mix, the mixture will be lumpy and there may still be traces of flour visible
Fold in the dried fruit and nuts and fill each muffin case nearly full
Bake for 20 minutes, transfer the tins to a cooling rack for 15 mins before removing the cases from the tins and allowing to cool completely

We’ve been really lucky recently with the weather, a recent glorious weekend coincided with the local monthly farmers market. I stocked up on rhubarb so I could make more compote for my breakfast. Another recent obsession, I don’t have a recipe as such, just chop, add to large pan with juice and zest of orange, vanilla pod, couple of chunks of ginger and some sugar. How much sugar? I like my rhubarb sharp, especially as I usually combine it with yoghurt and the sweet early British strawberries that are to be found right now. Clotilde from Chocolate and Zucchini recommend using 10% of the net weight of rhubarb used which sounds like a good tip. Cook the whole lot for 15 mins. Remove ginger and refrigerate when cool – delicious.

But back to the baking. As with any seasonal ingredient the blogs are filled with recipes meaning inspiration isn’t hard to find. As usual I was overwhelmed by choice but in the end I adapted the Rhubarb Strawberry Pecan Loaf from Smitten and it was divine. The only problem was the muffins that I set aside to take into work on Monday morning were so moist they bordered on mushy. They still tasted divine but these are definitely ones best eaten on the day they’re baked. There are a couple of comments on the original recipe about the moistness of the loaf and I can’t imagine how you would slice it, but the muffins meant this wasn’t a problem.


Rhubarb Strawberry Pecan Muffins
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Makes 24 Muffins

230g Light muscavado sugar (or light brown sugar)
117g oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
187g plain flour
187g wholemeal flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
450g chopped rhubarb
345g sliced strawberries
75g chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 180C
Grease or line muffin tins

Beat together sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla and buttermilk
Combine flours, bicarb and salt
Add dry to wet and stir until just combined
Fold in fruit and nuts and distribute between the muffin cases
Bake for 15 – 18 mins
Transfer tins to cooling rack and leave to cool in the tins for 15 mins before transferring the cases to the rack to cool completely

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Almost Fudge Gateau

August 10, 2009

Lady Poker Night is a semi-regular gathering that calls for a chocolate based dessert (to follow S’s infamous Chilli) and I had my lovely new copy of Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours to turn to. I was tempted by the Cinnamon Squares and the Fresh Ginger and Chocolate Gingerbread, but reasoned these goodies suitable for easy work-place distribution and I wanted a cake. I wanted a round cake to be sliced into wedges not squares, I wanted to use some of the patisserie chocolate I had in my cupboard and so, the Almost-Fudge Gateau it was.

I have had a little look around the web to try and find some pictures of the finished product as I like to know what I’m aiming for and came across lots of comments about 70% chocolate being too bitter (there’s a lot of chocolate in the cake and the glaze). I only had 70% but needn’t have worried, I and the other poker players didn’t find it too bitter at all. It does need something to cut through the richness though. I had creme fraiche and others had some double cream, good vanilla ice cream would’ve been wonderful too. Doris lists the baking time as 35 – 45 minutes, mine was done at 35, after cooling I wrapped it and added the glaze the following day ready to take to the poker evening, and that was where the fun began.

I’ve only ever attempted a ganache once before and it was a disaster. I’m not a fan of frostings and glazes, finding them far too sweet and not enjoying the additional complications they bring to storing and traveling so tend to opt for recipes that don’t need them. Dorie lists this glaze as ‘optional’ but the cake looked like it needed it and I wanted to give it a go. My first two attempts failed, the ganache split and I couldn’t recover it. I then had to make a mad dash to the shops to buy more cream, had a little sit down with google and tried to work out what to do. My third attempt involved pouring the hot cream over broken, but unmelted chocolate but this too split, finally – and with many thanks to Joy of Baking who I should’ve turned to after the first failed attempt – I added a tablespoon of butter to the cream (and so did away with the syrup in the original recipe) poured the just boiling mixture over the broken chocolate and then left for 5 minutes before whisking gently – success! I’ve listed Dorie’s original recipe as well as the one I used below. Unfortunately the excitement of the moment and ensuing rush to get ready for the evening meat I completely forgot to take a picture of the finished cake, I’m gutted as it looked pretty damn fine but I’m sure I will be making it again soon.

Almost-Fudge Gateau

Dorie Greenspan ‘Baking; from my home to yours’

(conversions to metric are mine)

5 large eggs

9 oz (258g) bittersweet chocolate coarsely chopped

1 cup (220g) sugar (I used golden caster)

5 tbsp unsalted butter cut into chunks (2.5oz/72g)

2 table spoons of coffee or water (I used coffee, a hint of coffee always so good with chocolate)

1/3 cup (55g) all purpose flour

Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350F (180C), butter a 9-inch spring-form pan, line the bottom of the pan, butter the lining and dust the buttered pan with flour, tapping out the excess (I didn’t line the pan, just buttered and floured and it came out fine). Place the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or silicone mat.

Separate the eggs with whites into a large mixing bowl and yolks in small bowl,

Melt the chocolate, sugar, butter and coffee in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water until melted – sugar may still be grainy. Remove form heat and let sit for 3 minutes.

Using a wooden spatula, stir in the yolks one by one, then fold in the flour.

Beat eggs with pinch of salt until they hold firm but glossy peaks. Using the spatula, stir in a quarter of the whites into batter, then gently fold in the rest.

Scrape batter into pan and jiggle pan to spread evenly.

Bake for 25 – 45 minutes until evenly risen (may rise around edges first) and the top has firmed (may be cracked)

Allow to rest in pan for 5 – 10 minutes, then run a blunt knife gently around the edges and remove the sides of the pan. Invert cake onto rack and remove base and paper. Invert onto another rack and allow to cool to room temperature right side up. As it cools it may sink

For the Glaze

Turn the cooled cake over on the rack so your glazing the bottom and place the rack over a baking sheet lined with paper to catch any drips

Dorie’s version:

4oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup heavy (double) cream

2 teaspoons light corn syrup (golden syrup is an acceptable substitute)

Melt chocolate in heatproof bowl over pan of simmering water or in microwave – chocolate should be just melted and only warm, not hot. Meanwhile, bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan and stir very gently with a rubber spatula until the mixture is smooth and shiny. Stir in the corn syrup

My version – Dorie’s quantities, Joy of Bakings method:

4oz chocolate

1/2 cup cream

1 tbsp butter

Ganache: Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized stainless steel bowl. Set aside. Heat the cream and butter in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir with a whisk until smooth.

Pour the glaze (which ever version you use) over the cake and smooth with metal icing spatula, don’t worry if it drips unevenly down the sides of the cake. allow to set at room temperature or refrigerate if impatient.