For someone who considers themselves a fairly enthusiastic baker, I recently realised I've never made a muffin in my life. This thunderbolt hit me when my lovely friend R bought me Muffin Magic by Susannah Blake as part of a rather wonderful housewarming present. I suppose I had always assumed that muffins would be much more difficult to make than, for instance, cupcakes as they have a more bready texture. But how wrong I was. The first muffins I tried were a savoury cheese and onion batch which turned out amazingly well. Frankly it came as something of a surprise as throughout the mixing process - which took all of about 10 minutes - I kept thinking, this can't be right; it's just too easy.
So today I decided to go for something sweet. There are loads of delicious sounding recipes in the book but it was pecan and maple syrup that took my fancy this morning. Yet again they were really easy and have turned out to be pretty darn good - even if I do say so myself. I think what makes them such a joy to put together is the fact you don't need a mixer or any fancy schmancy equipment: just a bowl and a spoon is all that's needed to mix these little beauties. So if you fancy giving them a go here is the recipe. And if you're a muffin-making virgin like I was, don't delay - making these babies is a piece of cake (oh, hang on...)
Spiced maple & pecan muffins (makes 12)
(adapted from Susannah Blake's Muffin Magic)
300g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
125g caster sugar
1/2 tsp mixed spice
75g roughly chopped pecan nuts plus extra for sprinkling
2 eggs beaten
100ml plain yoghurt
4 tbsp maple syrup plus extra for brushing
85g melted butter
- Preheat the oven to 180º fan/190ºC/375ºF/gas mark 5. Line a 12-hole muffin tin.
- Combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and mixed spice and sift into a large bowl, then add the nuts.
- In a separate bowl combine the eggs, milk, yoghurt and syrup, then stir in the butter. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir until just mixed. Spoon into the muffin tin and sprinkle over a few chopped pecans.
- Bake for about 20 minutes until risen and golden. Leave to cool in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. While still warm, brush with more maple syrup.