Maple Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins {vegan}

Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins

Konnichiwa! The boy and I are in the land of the rising sun and we’re loving the balmy heat of summer and the re-immersion into our much-loved second home (or third – I guess Singapore can be considered our second). This must be James’ fifth time holidaying in Japan (third for me) and I think we’re now very well acquainted with Tokyo. This time we’re staying in the Asakusa area, which is a change from our usual base in Shibuya. Tokyo’s all very well and good, but I am most looking forward to our stay in Shirakawa-go (an incredible historic village) and Fujikawaguchiko (where we’ll get a perfect view of that famous active stratovolcano, Mount Fuji). Gonna have a field day with my camera for suuuure. Just hope the weather will be good. It’s the rainy season, apparently. Continue reading “Maple Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins {vegan}”

Orange & Banana Breakfast Muffins with Shredded Coconut

Orange & Banana Breakfast Muffins

For a more filling and satisfying breakfast, start your morning with these spiced orange and banana muffins! They’re super simple to make – just throw some flour, baking powder and spices into an awesome concoction of butter, eggs, dark brown sugar, orange zest, mashed banana and milk. Spoon the mixture into paper cups and sprinkle some desiccated coconut over the tops to make them extra pretty. Bake for less than half an hour and voilà! Super delicious muffins for brekkie! Continue reading “Orange & Banana Breakfast Muffins with Shredded Coconut”

Coconut Flour Blueberry Muffins {gluten free}

Gluten Free Coconut Flour Blueberry Muffins

These super delicious gluten-free and dairy-free blueberry muffins are the simplest muffins I have ever attempted. And the bonus is that they are lower in carbohydrates compared to regular wheat muffins. Coconut flour is always tricky to bake with, but it’s a gluten-free, high-fibre alternative that most people like to work with. This recipe calls for the tiniest amount of it for substance, and a good number of eggs to hold it all together. I like to call these muffins “dessert quiches” instead, because that’s kind of what their texture’s like. Soft, moist, eggy. But also sweet and solid – like a firm custard. I also use a little rice malt syrup in the recipe as a sweetener.

Blueberries Free Range Eggs Rice Malt Syrup

So, what is rice malt syrup anyway? Also known as brown rice syrup, RMS is versatile, vegan sweetener made from 100% organic brown rice. By culturing rice with enzymes, the starches begin to break down. It is then cooked until it becomes a viscous syrup. Once the process is complete, the final product consists of soluble complex carbohydrates, maltose and a small amount of glucose. RMS is a healthier option to other sweeteners as it is virtually free of fructose. This is important because other sweeteners like cane sugar, honey, maple syrup, and agave (all containing 50% or more fructose) are faster releasing sugars, which can wreak havoc on blood sugar levels and cause insulin spikes.

Gluten Free Coconut Flour Blueberry Muffins Gluten Free Coconut Flour Blueberry Muffins Gluten Free Coconut Flour Blueberry Muffins Gluten Free Coconut Flour Blueberry Muffins

Full of juicy blueberries that rise to the top of the batter during the baking process, you have to try these “dessert quiches” at least once. The recipe itself is ridiculously simple. All you have to do is throw all the ingredients into a high speed blender, blend for a few seconds, then pour the batter into muffin cups and decorate with blueberries. Bake at 200°C for 16 minutes and you’re done. Too easy!

Gluten Free Coconut Flour Blueberry Muffins Gluten Free Coconut Flour Blueberry Muffins Gluten Free Coconut Flour Blueberry Muffins Gluten Free Coconut Flour Blueberry Muffins

Coconut Flour Blueberry Muffins
a gluten & dairy free recipe; adapted from The Wholesome Home’s recipe.

Ingredients:

3 eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
3 tablespoons rice malt syrup*
juice of 1 lemon
a pinch of sea salt
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup fresh blueberries

* I used Pureharvest’s Organic Rice Malt Syrup in this recipe. It is gluten, fructose & GMO free. You can use honey if you don’t have any RMS on hand.

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C and line a muffin pan with paper cases. This recipe will yield approximately 4 – 6 regular muffins.
  2. Blend all the ingredients except the blueberries in a high speed blender. The batter will be extremely runny.
  3. Pour batter into prepared muffin cups and sprinkle an equal amount of blueberries into each cup.
  4. Bake for about 16 minutes, or until the tops of the muffins start to turn a light golden.
  5. Remove tray from oven and leave muffins to stand for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Best eaten warm and fresh, the day they are made.

Gluten Free Coconut Flour Blueberry Muffins

Sugar-Dusted Green Tea Chocolate Chip Muffins {with coconut oil}

Sugar-Dusted Green Tea Chocolate Chip Muffins {with coconut oil} Sugar-Dusted Green Tea Chocolate Chip Muffins {with coconut oil}

I’ve been drinking heaps of tea lately. It used to be a daily essential for me, but there was a cessation of the habit at one stage and as a result, I was left with a large stash of assorted teas sitting abandoned in the pantry. Thankfully, in the last week or so, I’ve gone through that stash pretty quickly. I’ve found that green tea is still my favourite, and while I’ve lost my penchant for oolong and rooibos, I’ve also gained a new love for white tea. Now that we’ve got a new herb garden growing strong and healthy, I’ve been adding lots of fresh mint leaves to my cups of tea (we also have thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano, curry and chocolate mint growing in the garden — yes, chocolate mint actually exists).

Green Tea Chocolate Chip Muffin Batter Green Tea Chocolate Chip Muffin Batter Green Tea Chocolate Chip Muffin Batter

Sprinkle the tops with some sugar crystals for an extra sweet & crunchy surprise.

Anyway, these are the green tea muffins we made over the weekend (they’re not mint-flavoured, as one might initially mistake them for). Studded with chocolate chips and sprinkled with sugar crystals, they rose beautifully in the oven and turned out surprisingly soft and moist. For a recipe that doesn’t include eggs or butter, this was definitely an impressive result. Fragrant coconut oil replaces the butter in this case, and you can make these muffins entirely vegan by using your favourite non-dairy milk (like almond or soy), and investing in some dairy-free chocolate chips.

Sugar-Dusted Green Tea Chocolate Chip Muffins {with coconut oil} Sugar-Dusted Green Tea Chocolate Chip Muffins {with coconut oil} Sugar-Dusted Green Tea Chocolate Chip Muffins {with coconut oil}

Sprinkling large sugar crystals on top of each muffin was an idea that stemmed from my favourite banana bread recipe. I can’t seem to remember where I put that recipe (should probably remember to look for it), but I know that it called for a generous dusting of brown sugar all over the top of the pre-baked loaf. The bread came out with a gorgeously caramalised and tantalisingly crunchy top. The concept worked very well with these matcha-infused muffins. As the muffins themselves weren’t overly sweet or overpowering in flavour, they gave the sugary tops and delicious chocolate morsels a chance to truly shine.

Sugar-Dusted Green Tea Chocolate Chip Muffins {with coconut oil} Sugar-Dusted Green Tea Chocolate Chip Muffins {with coconut oil} Sugar-Dusted Green Tea Chocolate Chip Muffins {with coconut oil} Sugar-Dusted Green Tea Chocolate Chip Muffins {with coconut oil}

I think the green tea and chocolate chip combination had everyone swooning and clamouring for more. If you haven’t yet had the chance to indulge in any sort of matcha-flavoured sweets or desserts, introducing yourself to these simple mini cakes would be a good way to start. The recipe is straightforward and, with light hands, the preparation and baking process is incredibly easy. If you’re looking to cut down on your chocolate intake, you can replace the chocolate chips with some dried fruit or nuts.

Sugar-Dusted Green Tea Chocolate Chip Muffins {with coconut oil} Sugar-Dusted Green Tea Chocolate Chip Muffins {with coconut oil}

Love using matcha powder in baked goods? Have a look at our other matcha recipes: [one] Chinese Wolfberry (Goji Berry) Matcha Cake, [two] Matcha Mushipan (Green Tea Japanese Steamed Cup Bread), [three] Heavenly Matcha Cookies, [four] Dark Chocolate Swirl Matcha Cheesecake.

Sugar-Dusted Green Tea Chocolate Chip Muffins {with coconut oil} Sugar-Dusted Green Tea Chocolate Chip Muffins {with coconut oil} Sugar-Dusted Green Tea Chocolate Chip Muffins {with coconut oil} Sugar-Dusted Green Tea Chocolate Chip Muffins {with coconut oil}

Soft and moist little green cakes. Just look at that ooey gooey chocolate mess! Mmm.

Sugar-Dusted Green Tea Chocolate Chip Muffins {with coconut oil}
an eggless & butterless muffin recipe ; yield: ~12 regular muffins.

Ingredients:

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 tablespoons matcha (green tea) powder*
a pinch of sea salt
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 1/3 cups milk, warm
3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 cup chocolate chips**
2 tablespoons large sugar crystals, for sprinkling

* Maeda-en’s “Culinary Quality” Matcha Green Tea Powder works extremely well in baked goods.
** We used Sweet William’s Dairy Free Chocolate Chips, a delicious alternative to regular chocolate chips. You can also substitute the milk in this recipe with a non-dairy alternative such as almond or soy to make vegan muffins.

Matcha Powder and Chocolate Chips Matcha Powder and Chocolate Chips

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C and line a 12-hole muffin tray with paper cups.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, baking soda, matcha powder and sea salt. Mix well, set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, thoroughly whisk together the sugar, milk, coconut oil and vinegar.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet. Using a wooden spoon, gently fold the mixture a few times, then add the chocolate chips and continue to fold lightly until everything just comes together.
  5. Spoon equal amounts of the batter into each paper cup. Fill each one to the brim and use the back of your spoon to evenly spread and flatten the tops. Then, generously sprinkle the tops with large sugar crystals.
  6. Bake muffins for 20-25 minutes, or until they have risen and browned slightly.
  7. Remove from oven and let muffins stand in tray for 10 minutes before carefully transferring to a wire rack to cool.
  8. Best eaten slightly warm, while the chocolate chips are still melty and gooey!

Sugar-Dusted Green Tea Chocolate Chip Muffins {with coconut oil}

Savoury Polenta & Semi-Dried Tomato Chilli-Cheese Muffins

Savoury Polenta & Semi-Dried Tomato Chilli-Cheese Muffins Savoury Polenta & Semi-Dried Tomato Chilli-Cheese Muffins

To be honest, this household has recently gone through what I would call an Italian cuisine phase. We’ve been making huge pizzas from scratch (James makes the most amazing parmesan-flavoured pizza base) and cooking up delicious pasta (bucatini all’amatriciana has now become my new favourite), all because my older brother is here for a week-long visit. Having a guest in the house generates some amount of desire to cook extravagantly. But now that the culinary frenzy has died down, we’ve been left with a lot of stray Italian-inspired ingredients sitting around.

Semi-Dried Tomatoes Chilli Flakes Dry Ingredients

Cue savoury muffins. Cheesy and spicy savoury muffins, made extra special with gritty polenta and chunks of semi-dried tomatoes. The polenta gives these puffy muffins a pleasantly crisp exterior; the chilli, a satisfying zing (and this one is pretty zingy, trust me); the cheese, a savoury must-have; the semi-dried tomatoes, a hint of juicy sweetness. I threw in some garlic powder too, for an added kick of flavour. And you can’t go wrong with the fruity, nutty perfume of extra virgin olive oil.

Savoury Polenta & Semi-Dried Tomato Chilli-Cheese Muffins Savoury Polenta & Semi-Dried Tomato Chilli-Cheese Muffins Savoury Polenta & Semi-Dried Tomato Chilli-Cheese Muffins Savoury Polenta & Semi-Dried Tomato Chilli-Cheese Muffins

They could do with a little salt, I’ll admit. Something to remember next time. But I like James’ suggestion, too: to cut them open and slather them with salted butter. That’d be nice. However, if you’re one for simpler flavours or would just like to keep everything nice and healthy, have these muffins as is. Bake them the night before for a quick breakfast pick-me-up in the morning.

Savoury Polenta & Semi-Dried Tomato Chilli-Cheese Muffins Savoury Polenta & Semi-Dried Tomato Chilli-Cheese Muffins Savoury Polenta & Semi-Dried Tomato Chilli-Cheese Muffins Savoury Polenta & Semi-Dried Tomato Chilli-Cheese Muffins

Savoury Polenta & Semi-Dried Tomato Chilli-Cheese Muffins

Ingredients:

1 cup self-raising flour
3/4 cup polenta (cornmeal)
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup milk, cold
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup chopped semi-dried tomatoes

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC and line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper cases.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, polenta, grated cheese, chilli flakes and garlic powder. Mix well, set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the egg, milk and olive oil. Pour mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Gently fold in the chopped tomatoes. Make sure not to overmix the batter.
  4. Carefully fill each muffin case about 3/4 full. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the tops are firm and golden.
  5. Remove from oven and let muffins stand in pan for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Best eaten warm!

Savoury Polenta & Semi-Dried Tomato Chilli-Cheese Muffins

Chocolate Cream Cheese Walnut Muffins

Chocolate Cream Cheese Walnut Muffins

Winter has made an early appearance this year and we’re already getting single digit temperatures on the Gold Coast. Not a good thing since I’m more of a summer girl. My blood just can’t handle the cold. If I had the choice, I would hibernate just to pass the winter. I mean, who would deign to live an entire season with constantly frozen fingers and toes? Also, going to bed with a really cold nose is definitely not the most comfortable way to fall asleep.

Dark Chocolate Squares Shelled Walnuts Walnuts in Muffin Batter

Cue delicious comfort food. French onion soup, macaroni and cheese, hot apple and rhubarb crumble, buttery soft baked pretzels, old-fashioned chocolate cake, chocolate self-saucing pudding, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. Obviously, chocolate makes good comfort food in winter, so here’s a lovely recipe for chocolate cream cheese walnut muffins.

Filling Muffin Cases Unbaked Muffins

Perhaps one of the most interesting (read: amazing) things I’ve baked this year, these gorgeous muffins resemble the fudgiest of walnut brownies more than anything. The cream cheese somehow manages to turn these muffins into dense, heavy, creamy, crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth bites of chocolate flavoured chunks.

Baked Chocolate Cream Cheese Walnut Muffins Baked Chocolate Cream Cheese Walnut Muffins Baked Chocolate Cream Cheese Walnut Muffins

This is the ultimate comfort food, only made better by the small morsels of crunchy walnuts buried in its dark depths. Not only are they delicious eaten warm (the moist, tender crumb will win you over), they are just as gorgeous when refrigerated. Chilling gives them a firmer texture – it makes them denser and even more fudge-like.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Walnut Muffins Chocolate Cream Cheese Walnut Muffins

Chocolate Cream Cheese Walnut Muffins

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
150g dark chocolate, chopped
125g unsalted butter, cubed
125g cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup walnuts, chopped

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C and line a regular muffin tray with paper cases.
  2. In a small bowl, combine flour and cocoa powder. Mix well, set aside.
  3. Using a double boiler or microwave, carefully melt the chocolate and butter to form a smooth, glossy mixture. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  4. Beat the cream cheese and sugars together until light and fluffy.
  5. Stir the melted chocolate mixture into the cream cheese mixture.
  6. Fold in the dry ingredients until just combined, then fold in the walnuts.
  7. Carefully spoon the batter into prepared paper cases until almost full.
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the tops are firm to the touch.
  9. Remove from oven and let muffins stand in tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Walnut Muffins Chocolate Cream Cheese Walnut Muffins

Raspberry, Applesauce & Almond Cupcakes

Raspberry, Applesauce & Almond Cupcakes

As juicy and seductively coloured as they are, raspberries are often overlooked, at least by those who prefer something more fragrant or something with more health benefits (strawberries and blueberries respectively, for example).

Fresh Raspberries Cupcake Batter with Raspberries

However, for some reason, I had the urge to bake with these adorable little red fruit and, after entertaining a pair of black swans that dropped by, spent the afternoon yesterday making a batch of raspberry, applesauce and almond cupcakes.

Raspberry, Applesauce & Almond Cupcakes Raspberry, Applesauce & Almond Cupcakes

Raspberries have a fairly subtle flavour and don’t tend to keep as well as other berries. They also bruise very easily, so handle with care! This here is an eggless and butterless cupcake recipe, so it does a good job of cutting your cholesterol consumption. It does call for some milk though, so if you want to turn this into a vegan recipe, try replacing it with soy or almond milk and see how it goes.

Raspberry, Applesauce & Almond Cupcakes Raspberry, Applesauce & Almond Cupcakes Raspberry, Applesauce & Almond Cupcakes

Lightly crisp on top when fresh out of the oven, these pillowy cupcakes have a lovely texture thanks to the addition of ground almonds. The batter is a dream to work with and it yields a soft, moist and tender crumb once baked. Each bite almost melts in your mouth. The light tangy flavour of the raspberries contrasts well with the sweet creaminess of the cake.

Raspberry, Applesauce & Almond Cupcakes Raspberry, Applesauce & Almond Cupcakes Raspberry, Applesauce & Almond Cupcakes

Raspberry, Applesauce & Almond Cupcakes

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups almond meal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup grapeseed oil (or canola oil)
1/2 cup raw caster sugar
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup milk, cold
2 cups fresh raspberries
some flaked almonds, for sprinkling

* Use low fat milk and unsweetened applesauce for healthier cupcakes.
* If you don’t have half a cup of applesauce on hand, substitute with 2 eggs (lightly whisked).

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C and line a mini muffin tray with paper cases.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda and pinch of salt. Mix well, set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine grapeseed oil, sugar and applesauce until smooth.
  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients and the milk into the applesauce mixture in several alternating increments, lightly folding with a spatula after each addition. Take care not to overmix.
  5. Gently fold in the raspberries.
  6. Spoon mixture into prepared paper cases until almost full. Sprinkle the tops with the flaked almonds.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops start to brown and crack a little.
  8. Remove from oven and let cupcakes stand in tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Raspberry, Applesauce & Almond Cupcakes

Glazed Orange & Apricot Jam Poppy Seed Muffins

Orange and Apricot Jam Poppy Seed Muffins

Let’s rewind the clock and relive the weekend for a little bit, shall we? On Friday night, James took me to see some gorgeous fireworks at his university. It was a loud, smoky and spectacular affair, with intense explosions of light rippling fervently across the sky. Of course, that was just the start of the weekend. No Saturday is complete without the lovely smell of homebaked goods wafting through your kitchen. In my case, it was the smell of crisp, buttery Anzac biscuits. Unfortunately, I fell sick soon after and felt miserable for the rest of the weekend. However, my painfully sore throat didn’t stop me from baking this wonderful batch of glazed orange and apricot jam muffins yesterday.

Apricot Jam Naval Orange

These are soft, pillowy, melt-in-your-mouth cake muffins with a hint of tangy orange, a burst of syrupy apricot jam and an army of crunchy poppy seeds. After baking, they are generously painted with a sweet warm glaze for a gem-like sheen. These cute little tea cakes make for an incredibly satisfying mid-afternoon snack, especially when accompanied with a steaming cup of coffee or tea.

Poppy Seeds and Caster Sugar Melting Butter and Jam

While the making of these golden, polka dotty muffins require a little bit of time and effort, the entire process is as easy as ABC. Once the flour, almond meal, poppy seeds and sugar are combined, you melt your cubes of butter and apricot jam in a small saucepan on low heat until a smooth, glossy mixture is formed. While this concoction is left to cool, the eggs, milk and orange zest are whisked together until foamy. Fold this mixture and the melted butter-jam into the dry ingredients and you’re all set to fill those muffin cases!

Muffin Batter Orange and Apricot Jam Poppy Seed Muffins

Once baked to a nice golden-orange hue, the tops of these hot muffins are then brushed with some additional apricot jam for that nice, shiny finish. This apricot jam glaze is, of course, purely optional. But it gives the muffins that extra sweet-sticky tang that makes you want to smack your lips after every bite. I wouldn’t miss it for the world!

Orange and Apricot Jam Poppy Seed Muffins

Worth noting is the soft and fluffy texture of these muffins, which I would like to attribute to the addition of milk and almond meal to the recipe. Many are already aware of the properties of almond meal in baking; the nut flour is often used to produce incredibly moist, tender and sometimes crumbly cakes and cookies. I’d say it works very well in this recipe to create delicate, cottony soft muffins!

Orange and Apricot Jam Poppy Seed Muffins

Orange and Apricot Jam Poppy Seed Muffins

While I very much enjoy these muffins just the way they are — soft and sticky and finger-lickin’ good — I’ll admit they are a little on the sweet side, so feel free to cut down on the sugar. Also, feel free to tweak the amount of poppy seeds you want! Their pleasant, nutty crunch makes them quite addictive!

Orange and Apricot Jam Poppy Seed Muffins Orange and Apricot Jam Poppy Seed Muffins

Orange & Apricot Jam Poppy Seed Muffins

Ingredients:

2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup poppy seeds
1/4 cup raw caster sugar
1 cup apricot jam*
125g unsalted butter, cubed
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup low fat milk
3 tablespoons freshly grated orange zest
Additional apricot jam* (about 3 tablespoons), for glazing muffins

* I used Australian-made Beerenberg Apricot Jam, a wonderfully sweet and sticky home style fruit jam.

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C and line a standard 12-hole muffin tray with paper cases.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, almond meal, poppy seeds and sugar. Make a well in the middle of the mixture and set aside.
  3. Melt the butter and the apricot jam in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring continuously until ingredients are combined. Leave to cool.
  4. Using a stand mixer on high speed, combine the eggs, milk and orange zest until foamy.
  5. Pour mixture into the well of the dry ingredients, then add the jam and butter mixture.
  6. Gently fold mixture with a spatula until just combined. Leave the batter slightly lumpy; take care not to overmix!
  7. Fill muffin cases about 3/4 full and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until golden.
  8. Remove from oven and let muffins sit in tray while you heat up some additional apricot jam for the glaze (you can do this with a microwave for about 15-20 seconds).
  9. Brush a generous amount of jam over the tops of the hot muffins.
  10. Transfer muffins to a wire rack to cool. Best eaten warm, the day they are made.

Orange and Apricot Jam Poppy Seed Muffins