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Though I usually like pecan nuts in my banana muffins, I had unfortunately run out of my favorite nuts and found myself having to compromise with a bag of macadamia nuts lost in the depths of my kitchen cupboard. A quick Google search for Banana Macadamia muffins landed me on Turntable Kitchen’s blog and it was their quirky punch line rather than the muffin recipe that caught my eye. “We are young people who are both grown up and completely immature.” Since my crazy self could, wholeheartedly, relate to this largely accurate picture, I simply took the plunge and baked their super comforting banana nut muffins. One should not take life too seriously.

BANANA & MACADAMIA NUT MUFFINS

Ingredients:

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon kitchen salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

3 large, ripe bananas, mashed

1/4 cup caster sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup whole fresh milk

1 large egg, room temperature

3/4 cup unsalted macadamia nuts

Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 muffin cups with cupcake liners or papers.

  • Sift together the flours, baking soda, salt, and freshly grated nutmeg into a large bowl.

  • Combine the mashed bananas, sugars, butter, milk, and egg into another mixing bowl.

  • Carefully fold in wet mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir in half of macadamia nuts.

  • Divide batter among the prepared cups and sprinkle the tops with the remaining nuts.

  • Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

  • Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out to cool completely. Makes one dozen muffins.

Banana & Macadamia Nuts

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I’m sure you must all have tried chocolate cupcakes at some point, either dark chocolate or milk chocolate or a combination of the two, with or without an additional handful of chocolate chips. White chocolate somehow never makes it to that list and I did not think that white chocolate cupcakes could also exist until I came across this beautiful recipe on Leite’s Culinaria. As white chocolate is not something I routinely keep in my pantry [unlike the huge stash of dark chocolate that I know I can throw into pretty much anything], I had to go out to get a couple of Lindt Excellence white chocolate bars specially for baking these little beauties. I always swear by Lindt when it comes to baking with chocolate so I cannot tell whether you can risk it with other brands and expect similar results. Instead of folding the melted white chocolate throughout the cake batter, I found it more interesting to give it a marbled effect so that I could have my cake as well as my chocolate and eat both of them at the same time.

WHITE CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES

Ingredients:

For the White Chocolate Cupcakes

140g white chocolate, finely chopped

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup unbleached cake flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kitchen salt

1 cup  milk, room temperature

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup white granulated sugar

1/4 cup butter, room temperature

2 large eggs, room temperature

For the White Chocolate Ganache

110g white chocolate, finely chopped

100ml whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method:

  • Position an oven rack in center, preheat oven to 350°F (176°C). Line twelve muffin cups with paper liners.

  • Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring a skillet of water to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off heat.

  • Place the bowl in hot water. Stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is completely melted and smooth.

  • Let cool until tepid. In a small bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, and salt.

  • Stir together milk and vanilla. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat sugar and butter for about 3 minutes.

  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the tepid white chocolate.

  • Reduce speed to low and beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk mixture in 2 additions

  • Mix well until smooth. Scoop the batter into the prepared cups. The cups should not be more than 2/3 full.

  • Bake cakes until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.

  • For the frosting, coarsely chop the white chocolate in a bowl. Bring cream to a simmer over medium heat.

  • Pour hot cream over chocolate and stir until completely melted. Beat in vanilla extract just until combined.

  • Frost the tops of white chocolate cupcakes with white chocolate ganache and leave to set for about 1 hour.

White Chocolate Cupcakes

While I personally do not know anyone who has a problem with gluten in their diets, I wanted to experiment with a couple of gluten free recipes in case I am called to bake for someone who cannot tolerate this particular protein. It has previously never occurred to me that some people cannot enjoy regular grains like wheat, rye or barley and it was not until medical school that I learnt about celiac disease and how difficult it is for such patients to go about their daily grocery shopping and cooking.  We now have a reasonable wide range of gluten-free products in supermarkets and specialty stores but most of these unfortunately do not come cheap.

Coconut flour is one which can be safely consumed by anyone on a gluten-free diet without having to break the bank. Easily available in your local store [I found mine at Shoprite Tamarin under Lemcke Brand from South Africa], coconut flour, while being healthier that your refined wheat flour derivatives, will not give the same ‘lift’ during baking such that your cakes and muffins will lack the expected light and fluffy texture. If it is your first time, you will be surprised [like me!] to discover that this recipe, from King Arthur Flour, calls for less flour [as little as ¼ cup for a dozen muffins] and typically twice the number of eggs. This is because coconut flour readily absorbs moisture from the batter, so I think it does help to have a few fresh berries in there.

COCONUT FLOUR BLUEBERRY MUFFINS

Ingredients:

1/4 cup coconut flour, sifted

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

3 large eggs, room temperature

3 tablespoons butter, melted

3 tablespoons honey

1/4 teaspoon kitchen salt

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 cup fresh blueberries

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F and lightly grease six wells of a standard muffin pan.

  • Line the pan with greased muffin papers. Sift coconut flour and baking powder.

  • Mix it until well blended. Stir together the eggs, butter, honey, salt, and extracts.

  • Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until there are no visible lumps.

  • Gently fold the fresh blueberries into the batter till they are evenly incorporated.

  • Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each cup to about half full.

  • Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

  • Cool for about 5 minutes in pan, then transfer to a rack to cool. Makes 6 muffins.

Coconut Flour Blueberry Muffins

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PrerrnaMirchi
Mauritius

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