Picasso had his blue period. I did muffins. Before bundts, I was all about the muffins. No, actual muffins. I made them in batches of at least 36, generally meaning my colleagues were being force fed these bulbous baked goods at least once a week. Then I discovered bundts. Hallelujah.
A couple of years ago our department held a mince pie bake off. For the previous five years, I had made mince pies using the same recipe. Orange pastry topped with stars and cinnamon sugar. I was well bored of that malarky! Plus, I detest mince pies. For the competition I tried a recipe from a well known cookery book without a test run. It was rubbish! The pastry went hard without colouring and the texture was something similar to an old boot. Why did I stray from my trusted recipe? Goon.
I decided to get a little creative with the brief. This was a mince pie bake off. No-one said it had to include pastry... The devil is in the detail! Mince pie muffins were born. After all, I had at least ten tonnes of luxury mincemeat to use up!
Here's how to make them...
- 280g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 90g golden caster sugar
- 250ml milk
- 350g mince meat - either make your own or get a good quality one like Cottage Delight (local folk - I would have thought that Thyme Deli will stock this)
- 90ml vegetable oil
- 90g sultanas
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- Icing sugar for dusting
These can be made in a mixer, but it always find it better to do muffins by hand as there is very little mixing required - just a big bowl.
- Line a 12 hole muffin tray with festive cases
- Preheat the oven to gas 6/200 C
- Sift together all the dry ingredients into a big bowl, including the sultanas.
- In a large jug, mix together all the wet ingredients, including the mincemeat.
- Tip the wet ingredients into the dry and fold until just combined. You will see a little flour that is not totally incorporated. This is good!
- Divide the mixture between the twelve cases, ensuring they are no more than 3/4 full.
- Bake in the centre of the oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown and well risen.
- When they are fully cool, dredge with icing sugar mixed with cinnamon or mist with edible gold spray (see above).
TIP: the best muffins are made using this wet into dry method. They are very different from cupcakes - beating the mix will result in dry muffins.
Only two of us entered in the end. My friend Matt and I got a certificate each. He won Mince Pies of Excellence, and I won Muffins of Excellence. Can't argue with that can you?!
Please leave your comments below... x
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