Choc Malted Muffins


These chocolate muffins with the surprise centre also make a quick dessert served warm with a chocolate sauce and a good vanilla ice cream.

  • 50 grams butter, melted
  • 3 tblsp cocoa
  • 100 grams chocolate
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 cups caster sugar
  • 1 packet of Maltesers*

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line muffin tins with paper cases or grease well. Melt the butter and chocolate in a microwave on a low setting for a minute, then stir and repeat for 30 seconds at a time until melted. Stir until smooth.

Beat the eggs into the butter and chocolate and then add the buttermilk. Sift the flour and cocoa into a large bowl and add the sugar. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined.

Fill each case half way, and then push a Malteser into the centre of each muffin (you may like to use two Maltesers for larger muffins) then top with a little more mixture. Bake mini muffins for about 6 – 8 minutes or larger muffins for about 15 – 20 minutes. Allow to cool. Ice and top with another Malteser. Makes 12 – 15 muffins.

*If you prefer, substitute Tim Tams or peppermint balls for Maltesers.

Icing:

  • 100 grams chocolate
  • 100ml cream
  • 2 tblsp icing sugar

Melt the chocolate with the cream in a microwave bowl on medium for 2 minutes, stirring after 1 minute. Cool until lukewarm then beat in the icing sugar until the required consistency is reached.




Rocky Road Muffins


Use the previous recipe for chocolate muffins, but omit the Maltesers. Bake and allow to cool, then top with the following:

  • 250 grams chocolate, chopped
  • 100ml cream
  • 1 packet of mini marshmallows
  • 1 cups icing sugar
  • cup glace cherries, halved
  • cup peanuts, roughly chopped

Put the chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe bowl and warm on a low setting for 1 minute, stir and repeat for 30 seconds until the chocolate is melted. Stir until smooth. Cut a small cone from the centre of the muffin. Pour a little of the chocolate mix into this hollow and top with a few mini marshmallows, peanuts and cherries. Drizzle over enough chocolate to almost cover. Allow to set.




Coffee Crunch Cakes


Just the thing to kick-start your morning, these little cakes are perfect for the coffee lover. The tender crumb combines very satisfactorily with the creaminess of the icing and the crunch of the coffee candy topping.

Cake:

  • 125 grams butter, softened
  • 175 grams caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tblsp coffee granules, dissolved in 3 tblsp hot water
  • 100ml cream
  • 125 grams flour, sifted

Preheat the oven to 180C. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Lightly whisk the eggs together in a small bowl and beat them, a little at a time, into the butter and sugar. Add the cream to the coffee mix and stir, alternating with the flour, into the cake mixture.

Place into paper cases in mini muffin pans and bake for about 8 – 10 minutes. Or, place into regular muffin pans and bake for 15 – 20 minutes, or until cooked. Cool on a rack and ice with the coffee icing and sprinkle with crushed coffee candy. Makes 24 – 30 mini cakes.

Icing:

  • 100 grams butter, softened
  • 200 grams icing sugar
  • 2 tblsp coffee granules dissolved in 1 tblsp hot water
  • 10 coffee candies*

Cream the butter and icing sugar, and then add enough of the coffee mix to reach the desired consistency. Put the coffee candies in a plastic bag and crush lightly with a rolling pin.

*Kopiko is a recommended brand of coffee candy, available at large supermarkets.



Some hints to remember when baking:


  • Ovens vary – some cook a little on the hot side, others a little slowly – so cooking times will vary.
  • Little cakes are done baking when they spring back after a gentle push to the centre.
  • Muffin and patty pans should be lined with paper or silicon cases, or well greased.
  • Allow the cakes to cool completely before removing from the pan if you’re using unlined pans or silicon cases.
  • One of the best ways to soften butter quickly is to microwave it at a low power setting. This will give you a more evenly softened butter than microwaving on a high setting, which often results in a melted centre and a solid outside. For example, soften 100 grams of butter for about 1 minute at medium/low power. Settings vary, so experiment to see what works best.
  • All the cakes in this article can be mixed by hand, using an electric beater or with a food processor.


Scones

Yes, scones have made a big comeback and no wonder. They’re easy to make and they work well with a myriad of flavours. The following recipe is for plain scones. Because the recipe is so simple, good quality ingredients are essential. Use organic flour and butter for the best results.

Scone Dough*

  • 2 cups organic self-raising flour
  • 75 grams cold butter, cut into cubes
  • pinch of salt
  • – 1 cup buttermilk

*For sweet scones, add 2 tblsp caster sugar (and – 1 cup of dried ingredients sultanas, dates, choc chips etc if desired)

Preheat the oven to 200C. Sift the flour into the large bowl of a food processor and add the salt. Process briefly to mix. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the buttermilk through the chute until you have firm, but soft dough. (If the dough is too stiff, the scones will be dry; too soft and they’ll spread rather than rise.) Do not over-mix.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board and roll or push out to a thickness of 4cm. Cut with a floured cutter, place together onto a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper and cook for 10 – 20 minutes, depending on size. Scones are cooked when they are firm and sound a little hollow when tapped.

Makes 8 – 12, depending on cutter size.

If you like a shiny finish, glaze the scones with a little egg yolk mixed with milk before baking. Scones should be eaten on the day they are made, but they do freeze well.




Pinks


These very quick little muffins take advantage of the new range of dried fruits available in supermarkets. They’re easy to make and they look attractive, either iced or just dusted with a drift of icing sugar. In this recipe, I used dried strawberries, strawberry jam and yoghurt, but dried cherries, cherry jam and yoghurt or other variations work well, too.

  • 50 grams butter, melted
  • 150ml strawberry yoghurt
  • 1 tblsp strawberry jam
  • 1 egg
  • 150 grams self-raising flour
  • 75 grams caster sugar
  • 50 grams dried strawberries, halved

Preheat the oven to 180C. Line muffin tins with paper or silicon cases. Mix the butter, yoghurt, jam and egg in a bowl. Sift the flour into another bowl and add the strawberries and sugar and stir to mix. Add the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Spoon this into the paper cases and bake for about 8 minutes for mini muffins or about 15 – 20 minutes for standard-size muffins. Cool and ice, top with pink sprinkles, dust with icing sugar, or glaze with a little melted jam.

Makes 12 muffins.

Icing:

  • 30 grams butter, softened
  • 200 grams icing sugar
  • 1 tblsp strawberry jam
  • 100ml warm water

Cream the butter, jam and icing sugar. Add the water to the icing sugar mix until the required consistency is reached. Colour with a very small amount of pink food colouring, if desired.


Pepper, Mozzarella and Olive Scrolls

These easy-to-make scrolls are great for a quick snack after school, for a Sunday lunch or to take on a picnic.

Scone Dough*

  • 2 cups organic self-raising flour
  • 75 grams cold butter, cut into cubes
  • pinch of salt
  • – 1 cup buttermilk

Filling:

  • 1 cup grated mozzarella
  • 1 roasted, skinned red capsicum, cut into strips
  • 1 cup pitted Kalamati olives

*For sweet scones, add 2 tblsp caster sugar (and – 1 cup of dried ingredients sultanas, dates, choc chips etc if desired)

Preheat the oven to 200C. Sift the flour into the large bowl of a food processor and add the salt. Process briefly to mix. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the buttermilk through the chute until you have firm, but soft dough. (If the dough is too stiff, the scones will be dry; too soft and they’ll spread rather than rise.) Do not over-mix.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board and roll or push out to a thickness of 4cm. Cut with a floured cutter, place together onto a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper and cook for 10 – 20 minutes, depending on size. Scones are cooked when they are firm and sound a little hollow when tapped.

Makes 8 – 12, depending on cutter size.

If you like a shiny finish, glaze the scones with a little egg yolk mixed with milk before baking. Scones should be eaten on the day they are made, but they do freeze well.

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