Chelsea & Me: Spiced Pumpkin Muffins

Chelsea & Me

Chelsea Winter. Winner of Masterchef NZ in 2012, author of three cookbooks, and my go-to gal when I’m in a recipe funk. At My Table and Everyday Delicious and now her new book, Homemade Happiness, are the most-used and most-recommended cookbooks in my kitchen, so I’m making it my mission to try every recipe.

I’m not a huge muffin fan, but I do love pumpkin and something about this recipe really caught my eye. I think it was the idea of pumpkin and brown sugar dancing together in the mixture, creating a magical caramel batter with hints of ginger, nutmeg and cloves.

spiced pumpkin muffins

The recipe is very simple and quick, like all good muffin recipes should be. The only lengthy part of the process was chopping and cooking the pumpkin, but once it was simmering away on the stove I was able to get all the other ingredients together and clear up as I went.

spiced pumpkin muffins

But what you really want to know is, “What did they taste like??”, right?

spiced pumpkin muffins

Amazing. Delicious. Sweet. Spicy. Fluffy.

spiced pumpkin muffins

I didn’t tell my kids that they contained pumpkin, and they both scoffed them down; knowing it was the main ingredient, I could taste it, but if I didn’t know….well…I wouldn’t have known. The flavour was subtle, and the cinnamon and Demerara topping was a lovely addition; the soft, fluffy muffin combined with the sweet, crunchy topping was really, really good.

(This recipe can be found in Everyday Delicious.)


Recipe: Dairy-free Apple Crumble Muffins

Apple Crumble. Synonymous with hibernating at home during the winter, snuggling under blankets and eating your body weight in all things carbohydrate. And ice cream, but that doesn’t really fit with the whole dairy-free idea, does it?

Apple Crumble Muffin I was sent some Equal Spoonful to try baking with, and after two failed attempts (I almost cried over the number of eggs I wasted), I found some tips online, and then set about creating my own muffin recipe, armed with a “What have I got to lose?” attitude. As it turns out, nothing. These little beauties were so delicious, and the absence of real sugar wasn’t even noticeable.

Apple Crumble Muffin Apple Crumble MuffinDairy-free Apple Crumble Muffins – makes 12

2c plain flour
1c Equal Spoonful
2tsp baking powder
1 – 2tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1c apple & nectarine juice (plain apple would be fine)
4Tbsp rice bran oil
1 free-range egg
1 apple, peeled and finely diced
1Tbsp rolled oats

Pre-heat the oven to 180degC. Line a medium muffin tray with 12 paper cases.

In a small bowl, combine the rolled oats and chopped apple. If you wish, you could add 1tsp of white or brown sugar to create a bit more of a crumble crunch to the topping. Set aside.

Sift the flour, Equal Spoonful, baking powder, cinnamon and salt into a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, beat together the apple juice, oil and egg, then fold gently into the dry ingredients. Don’t overmix – the mixture shouldn’t be smooth.

Evenly fill the paper cases (to about three-quarters full); sprinkle with the combined oats and apple.

Bake for 20 minutes, until the centre of the muffins spring back when lightly pressed, or when a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Best eaten warm on the day of baking; keep in an airtight container for no more than 3 days.

Apple Crumble Muffin Apple Crumble Muffin Apple Crumble Muffin

Lunchbox Ideas: Carrot & Zucchini Muffins

Yesterday saw Tiny starting back at kindy. We’ve had a lovely summer holiday, but I think we were all ready to return to some form of normality and routine. Tiny was excited to go back (mostly to play with the cars, he told me…but he looked pretty happy to see his teachers and friends as well), although he was meltdown-tired at the end of the day. This term, we’re mixing things up a bit, with two short afternoon sessions (with most of the wee friends he made last year), and two longer morning sessions (with just one or two of his friends). I haven’t said too much about the changes, mainly because I don’t want to preempt any anxiety or nervousness he might be feeling, but did make a big deal about buying him a new lunchbox.

Well, I actually bought him a fishing tackle box to use as a lunchbox. Separated into six different-sized compartments, it’s perfect for filling with a variety of preschooler-sized snacks.

A couple of weeks ago, I set about having a bulk baking sessions while Pickle had a sleep. The idea was to pop the majority of the goodies in the freezer, to be defrosted as and when they were needed for the lunchbox. These carrot and zucchini muffins are so easy, incredibly moist and tasty, and freeze really well.

Carrot & Zucchini Muffins Carrot & Zucchini Muffins Carrot & Zucchini MuffinsCarrot & Zucchini MuffinsCarrot & Zucchini Muffins – makes 12 mini- + 9 medium-sized muffins

3/4c flour
1/2t salt
1/2t baking soda
2t cinnamon
1t allspice
3/4c brown sugar
3/4c mixed sunflower seeds and pumpkin kernels
1/2c oil
2 eggs
2 medium carrots
1/2 medium zucchini

Preheat oven to 190degC. Grease or line muffin pans.

Sieve the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and allspice into a large bowl.

Add the sugar and seeds; mix well with your hands until well combined.

Beat the oil and eggs in a small bowl; add the carrot and zucchini and mix well. Add to the dry ingredients and fold together until just mixed.

Spoon into muffin pans; bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked.

Fun with Food: Raspberry and White Chocolate Muffins

Raspberries. Love ’em.

White chocolate. Love it.

Muffins. Love ’em.

All three? Hello!

This recipe comes from the Chelsea website. It’s so simple and quick, and the muffins are lovely. They are slightly cakey in texture, but I haven’t found a R&WC muffin recipe that isn’t – if you have one, please share!!


Raspberry and White Chocolate Muffins – makes 12 medium muffins

2 1/2 c self-raising flour
100g butter, chopped
1 c caster sugar
1 c milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 c fresh (or frozen) raspberries
1/2 c white chocolate bites (I used larger melts)
Icing sugar, to dust

Preheat the oven to 190°C. Lightly grease or line a 12 muffin tin.

Place the flour in a large bowl. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour, until well combined.

Add the sugar, milk, egg, raspberries and white chocolate. Mix until just moistened.

Spoon into the muffin cups; bake for 20 minutes. Stand for 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool.

Fun with Food
Fun with Food is a way for you to share your foodie (mis)adventures with other people. You don’t have to be a superb cook, or produce Masterchef-quality plates of food; this will be a place to share new and favourite recipes, meal plans, cooking on a budget, lunchbox ideas, new products, kitchen successes and disasters (because we all have those!) and maybe some handy tips for getting fussy kids to eat their dinner!

The linky will open on a Tuesday and stay open for a week, so I hope you’ll share your kitchen adventures, and be inspired by what other people are doing in the heart of their homes.

(By clicking on the link below, you’ll be taken to an external page, where you can enter your link and see who else is linking up. Please take the time to visit them, too!)

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Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

‘P’ is for Pinterest Puddings

Today’s post is brought to you by the letter ‘P’. ‘P’ for pudding, and ‘P’ for Pinterest.

I’ve been waiting what seems like forever for our rhubarb crop to be big enough to try this Caramel Crusted Rhubarb Pudding, and when my lovely husband came inside bearing a few handfuls of ruby-red stalks over the weekend, I was elated.

This is a nice twist on an ordinary rhubarb crumble, although it is rather sweet. We enjoyed it more on the second day; the rhubarb was more stewed and the sweetness had dispersed through it, rather than just sitting on top.

I also found the 30 minutes cooking time not enough; some of the rhubarb was still hard, and the crumble topping a bit soggy. However, a further 20 minutes in the oven the following day, and it was perfect. This problem could be avoided by using a larger dish (something that you’d cook a family-size lasagna in), and therefore decreasing the depth of both the rhubarb and the crumble topping.

Rhubarb – Crumble – Sugar – Caramel

We also have some apples awaiting their fate as these Apple Ice Creams with Caramel Sauce. I liked another reader’s suggestion of baking the apples with cinnamon and sugar, so will be dusting the hollowed-out fruit with a liberal coating of such a mixture.

And the discarded flesh will be useful in making these delicious Apple Cinnamon Muffins with Crumble Topping, or for stewing in preparation for the time we start solids (even though we’ll be doing baby-led weaning again, a bit of stewed fruit won’t get wasted!). There’s something rather fulfilling in knowing that I’ll be using the whole fruit instead of binning it.

(Can you tell that I’m starting to add a bit of dairy back into my diet?? So far, the small amounts I’ve tried haven’t bothered Pickle, so I’m hoping to continue with a little bit here and there from now on.)

Have you entered my giveaway? It’s open internationally!

Whole Orange Muffins

This recipe has been handwritten into one of my recipe books, with a note beside it saying, “From Mum”. However, in looking through another recipe book dedicated solely to muffins, I found a recipe that was identical, so I’m guessing my mum got it from Alison Holst!

It’s such a simple recipe (not peeling or de-pithing the orange saves so much time), but can easily go wrong. If you mix the orange and liquids for too long in the food processor, the mixture becomes too thick, and if you over-mix the wets into the dries even slightly, the resulting muffins are dense and stodgy.

Overcooking them by just a minute makes a huge difference, too, as I discovered yesterday when I was called to console a miserable little boy who’d taken a tumble at the playground with Daddy, and the muffins were momentarily forgotten!

Don’t let that scare you off though! The flavour is light and sweet, with a delicious citrus scent as you take the first bite, and the walnuts are nice textural contrast. I’ve made them with chocolate chips in the past, and they, too, are delicious.

Whole Orange Muffins – makes 12

1 orange
1 c sugar
1 egg
1/2 c milk
100g butter, melted
1 1/2 c plain flour
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 c walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 200degC; line a 12-hole muffin pan with paper or silicone cases.

Cut unpeeled orange into eight pieces, removing any seeds; add to food processor (including skin and pith)  with sugar and process until orange is very finely chopped.

Add egg, milk and butter; process until just combined.

Sift dry ingredients in a large bowl; add orange mixture and walnuts, and fold gently until just mixed (a few lumps of flour are fine).

Spoon mixture into prepared pan and bake for 12-14 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through.

Cracked top = overcooked muffin. Damn you, slippery slide + uncoordinated toddler!

Recipe: ‘Muffins’, by Alison Holst

(I had one of these for dessert on Sunday night, as a little treat, but I think I’ll be leaving the rest for Tall and Tiny – Pickle suffered from awful wind that night (so awful that I got just half an hour’s sleep between 9.30pm and 3.00am), and when I checked the list of foods to be wary of provided to me by Elizabeth, sure enough, citrus and walnuts are there.)

Apple Cinnamon Muffins with Crumble Topping

A fruit crumble is one my favourite puddings to make over winter. It’s so warming, especially when served with thick, velvety custard, and it’s something I can make without needing to find a recipe. I use whatever fruit I have on hand (Tall’s favourite is rhubarb), but there’s nothing quite like the combination of apples and cinnamon; the smell alone can bring a grown man to his knees.

It’ll therefore come as no surprise that when I saw this recipe online, I pinned it immediately, and finally remembered to buy buttermilk in last week’s grocery shop.

These muffins are delightfully light and fluffy, sweet with a hint of tang from the apple and the buttermilk, with the crumble topping providing a nice textural contrast. Great served warm, with a cup of tea!

Apple Cinnamon Muffins with Crumble Topping – makes 12 medium & 12 mini muffins

1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped (reserve 3T diced apple for topping)
1 c sugar
2 c all purpose flour
2 t baking soda
1/2 t plus 2 pinches salt
1 T cinnamon
2 large eggs
1 c buttermilk
56g butter, melted

1/3 c light brown sugar
1/4 c all purpose flour
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1 T butter, melted
3 T diced apple

Preheat oven to 200degC. Grease or line muffin pans – I made 12 medium and 12 mini muffins.

Whisk together the sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add chopped apples.

Whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and butter in a small bowl; add to dry ingredients and mix gently – don’t over-mix.

Fill each muffin cup about 3/4 full. Top with the crumb topping (To make crumb topping: combine all ingredients except apples in a bowl and mix with a fork to create crumbs. Toss in the apples and coat lightly with the flour mixture).

Bake for 16-18 minutes (10 minutes for the minis) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean; cool in the pans for five minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

(I left the crumble off the mini muffins, as these will make an ideal snack for Tiny, and I didn’t want to add the extra sugar – they are still delicious…obviously I had to try one to see…)

Recipe: How To: Simplify