Monday, 21 April 2014

Hot cross muffins

I am a huge believer in listening to that small, wise voice in your head. So after yet another disappointing hot cross bun for morning tea on Thursday, the small voice started a wee discourse with me.

"Juliet," it said, "you can make better. Why don't you make hot crossed buns yourself?"

To which I replied "yes, but I'm lazy and an inexperienced bread maker. Can't I make something I know how to bake?"

"Cupcakes?" said inner voice.

"Too much icing.... what about..... hot crossed muffins?"

"YEAH HOT CROSSED MUFFINS YOU GENIUS!!!!" It shouted out of my mouth for all my colleagues to hear.

My colleagues thought I was mad - both the shouting and the concept of a hot crossed muffin. BUT I've just proved them wrong.

And so these were born: sweet, spiced muffins with an icing cross - better than that weird white stuff the store bought ones have do and everything a hot cross bun should be - spiced and fragrant, with juicy raisins and peel, a real eater's Easter treat.

I fed one to Jono and he actually shovelled the whole thing into his mouth and ate it all in one go. Mildy disturbing, but he was a middle child. We all know how much they have to fight for attention. And with a reception that good, how could I not share the recipe? Easter may be over, but let's just call it Easter week, so you can keep eating these goodies.

Hot crossed muffins

1 & 1/2 Cups plain white flour
2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 Cup raw brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 Cup mixed fruit and peel

2 eggs
1/2 Cup greek yoghurt
1/2 Cup milk
1 tsp vanilla essence

1/2 lemon, juiced
Icing sugar, sieved

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celcuis (360 degrees Fahrenheit).

Measure the dry ingredients into a bowl and whisk to combine. Use your fingers to break up any clumps of fruit and toss them in the dry mix to make sure they stay separated.

In another bowl, whisk the wet ingredients until well combined. Pour the wet into the dry and fold into each other until lumpy and about 70-80% mixed. It should be quite lumpy - an overmixed and smooth batter does not a good muffin make.

Coat a 12 hole, medium muffin tin with some butter and add a muffin cup if desired. Add equal amounts of muffin batter to the pan's holes - in my case it about half filled the holes.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, until well risen (so appropriate) and golden; the centres should spring back quickly when lightly pressed.

Allow to cool, and remove from the pan.

In a small bowl, juice the lemon, and add the icing sugar, a teaspoon at a time, until it forms quite a thick mix that pulls away from the sides and forms a lump around the spoon. If it becomes crumbly, you've added too much sugar; add lemon juice little by little until it smooths out.

Spoon into an icing bag with a thin piping attachment - around 3 mm/ 1/8 inch should do the job. Pipe crosses onto your muffins.

Muffins are best when fresh, so brew a cuppa straight away and enjoy! These muffins are particularly delicious with soft butter spread over them, but for those who over indulged on chocolate over the week, you can take comfort in knowing that these don't have any fat added (only that in the milk and yoghurt). So, if anything, it gives you permission to eat two.

Or three. I'm not counting.