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This cereal muffin recipe, adapted from Kellogg’s, is a great way to use up any leftover cereal especially that family value box with 20% extra you picked on whim during supermarket sales and forgot to eat till it got dangerously close to the expiry date. I had a little over half a box of Kellogg’s Special K which I used here along with a generous handful of soft Seeberger Cranberries and these nutritious muffins had nothing to do with the sickening, dry ‘sawdust’ taste I have experienced with store-bought bran muffins. Try these low-fat, high-fibre delights to start your day on a healthy note or turn them into mini muffins so that you have a handy snack that can to be enjoyed any time of the day.

SPECIAL K CEREAL MUFFINS

Ingredients:

1 cup all purpose flour

7 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon kitchen salt

2 cups Kellogg’s Special K cereal

1 cup lukewarm water

4 tablespoons milk powder

1 egg, room temperature

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup soft cranberries

Method:

  • Sift flour and stir it together with sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and set it aside.

  • In another bowl, combine cereal, water and milk. Let stand about 2 minutes until cereal softens.

  • Add egg, oil and buttermilk and beat well. Add flour mixture and cranberries and fold into batter.

  • Portion the muffin batter evenly in twelve 2 1/2-inch muffin pan cups coated with cooking spray.

  • Bake muffins at 400° F about 20 minutes until golden brown. Cool in pan for about 10 minutes.

  • Remove from pan and cool slightly on a wire rack before serving. Store in an airtight container.

Kellogg’s Special K Cereal Muffins

These delicate, rather feminine, cupcakes with their pretty swirl of pink strawberry butter cream are simply perfect for a princess themed birthday party or a baby shower. The recipe from Cooking Classy rightly describes these gorgeous cupcakes as “overflowing with strawberry flavor” since it uses both strawberry puree and chopped fresh strawberries, which gives a slight pinkish tinge to the batter. I chose to omit the food coloring entirely but you can add few drops if you want a more vibrant shade of pink. The super creamy frosting holds a fair amount of reduced fruit puree such that you can almost call it healthy and it is so good that you might end up liking the bowl, and maybe the beaters as well!

STRAWBERRY CUPCAKES

Ingredients:

For the Strawberry Cupcakes

1 2/3 cup cake flour, unsifted

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon kitchen salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg + 2 large egg whites

1/3 cup fresh strawberry puree

1/4 cup cultured buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 drops red food coloring

3/4 cup diced strawberries

For the Strawberry Frosting

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons strawberry puree

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup salted butter, room temperature

2 1/2 to 2 3/4 cups powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 drops red or pink food coloring

Whole strawberries for topping

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour into a mixing bowl, add baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • Whisk for 20 seconds and set it aside. Whip butter and granulated sugar until it turns pale and fluffy.

  • Add egg and egg whites, 1 at a time. Whisk together buttermilk, 1/3 cup strawberry puree and vanilla.
  • Working in 3 separate batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture, add 1/3 of the flour mixture.

  • Alternate flour with half of the buttermilk mixture and mix it just until combined after each addition.
  • Fold in the diced strawberries. Divide batter among 12 paper lined muffin cups, filling each to 3/4 full.

  • Bake in preheated oven 20 to 23 minutes till toothpick inserted into center of cupcake comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool in the muffin tin several minutes, then transfer to rack to cool completely before frosting.

  • For the Strawberry buttercream frosting, add 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons strawberry puree to a saucepan.
  • Heat mixture over low heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally until reduced to about 2/3 to 3 tablespoons.

  • Pour the reduced puree into a small bowl, then freeze until cool and stir occasionally for even chilling.
  • In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, whip unsalted and salted butter till it turns very pale and fluffy.

  • Add 1 cup powdered sugar and fold in reduced strawberry puree, vanilla extract and red food coloring.
  • Add remaining powdered sugar and mix until frosting is pale and fluffy, adding extra sugar if required.

  • To assemble cupcakes, place a small mound of small diced strawberries on top over center of cupcakes.
  • Pipe frosting around and over berries then decorate with a whole small strawberry. Makes 12 cupcakes.

Strawberry Cupcakes

This classic French ‘petit four’ derives its name from its cute, rectangular shape which looks like mini gold bars. Another theory says that the cake became popular in the financial district of Paris surrounding the Paris stock exchange. No matter what the origin of the name, the financier smells [and tastes] just as sweet!

Though you might find the ingredient list rather basic, the secret that goes in the making of a good financier lies in the combination of browned butter and lightly toasted almond flour, two key ingredients that account for its rich, buttery flavor. The batter owes its delicate texture to beaten egg whites and can be stored in the refrigerator, making it a good bake-ahead project on weekends or anytime you have extra egg whites waiting to be put to good use.

I was quite excited at the idea of using my new silicon pan for these mini cakes from Baking at Tiffany’s, who adapted the recipe from Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel. While the plain financier with its browned edges and golden crumb is a treat on its own, you can always go one step ahead with fresh blueberries or raspberries to add a dash of colour to your little almond bars. I have a good mind to try them with pistachios next.

FINANCIERS

Ingredients:

1/2 cup + 1-1/2 tablespoons (120 g) sugar

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoons (40 g) unbleached all purpose flour

1/2 cup + 2 teaspoons (60 g) almond meal

100 g egg whites or egg whites from about 3 large eggs

1/2 cup (100 g) unsalted butter, browned

1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 425 oF and butter 12 financier molds or a mini-muffin tin. Refrigerate buttered tin.

  • Sift together sugar, flour and almond meal into a bowl. Create a well in the center of dry ingredients.

  • Add in the egg whites and whisk together by hand until all the ingredients have been well combined.

  • To brown the butter, melt butter in a sauce pan over low to medium heat until bits begin browning.

  • While still hot, slowly pour browned butter into batter, simultaneously whisking batter till combined.

  • Evenly distribute batter among molds or mini-muffin tin wells, leaving about 1/8″ space from the rim.

  • Lower oven temperature to 350 oF. Bake on the center rack for about 20 minutes or till golden brown.

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PrerrnaMirchi
Mauritius

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