I made these simple muffins the other day so that they could be frozen and eaten over Christmas, but that didn't stop me 'testing' one of them, and Nico the kitten licking a second to death. The thing is, they just smell so good, and the flavours of cinnamon, ginger, dried cranberry, mixed peel and nut work brilliantly together.
Base adapted from the recipe at BBC Good Food online. See the recipe here
Makes 12 medium sized muffins
300g self raising flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
100g dark muscovado or light muscovado sugar
100g walnuts, broken into small pieces
70g dried cranberries
70g mixed peel
2 teaspoons mixed spice
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
300 ml milk
2 eggs, room temperature
100g unsalted butter, room temperature
12 glace cherries or fresh cranberries, optional
1 tablespoon icing sugar, optional
12 dried or fresh bay leaves, optional
1. Turn oven to 190C (170C fan ovens). Fill a 12 hole muffin tray with medium muffin cases.
2. Place all the ingredients except the eggs, milk and butter in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients.
3. In a smaller bowl, beat the eggs until light and frothy.
4. Next, gently melt the butter over a low heat.
5. Pour the eggs, milk and melted butter into the well of the dry ingredients. Stir the batter gently until combined.
6. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cases, and bake in the oven for approx 20 minutes. You'll know they're done when a skewer comes out clean.
7. When baked, leave the muffins to cool on a wire rack.
8. When the muffins are cool, you can either freeze them wrapped in kitchen foil and placed in freezer bags, or you can eat them there and then!
9. To decorate, roll glace cherries or fresh cranberries in icing sugar, and place one atop each muffin. Add a bay leaf rolled in icing sugar if you fancy. If you want the cherries and leaves to be fixed securely, you could always wet the icing sugar to make glace icing, spooning icing over the tops before sticking the fruit topping.
These muffins were idly baked to the 1 O'Clock News on BBC Radio Four, and lovingly licked by Nico the kitten