Muffin March

In this digital age we all live in (whether we like it or not), it was only a matter of time before cookbooks became available in electronic format. From the Kindle to the iPhone, the iPod Touch to Android phones, there are many recipe programs/apps available. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve spent many a night curled up in bed reading through a few recipe apps available for the iPod Touch (gosh, App Store, if only purchasing apps from you weren’t so easy!). I’ve already made mental notes of a few recipes I’d like to try out from Jamie Oliver’s apps and carried out two recipes from The Photo Cookbook — Baking: cranberry and pine nut biscotti and the muffins below. (I also tried out my first “adapted” recipe and made another batch of biscotti, this time doubling the recipe, adding orange zest, and using chocolate chips rather than pine nuts. Word of advice: Not all ingredients double the same way! If you’re doubling a recipe that originally called for half a cup of pine nuts, it may not be a good idea to assume you should use a cup of chocolate chips. The biscotti were good, but they were very — almost too — chocolatey. But now I know for next time!)

These muffins were not particularly difficult, nor time-consuming, and they work quite well as breakfast if you’re in a rush. The recipe suggests eating them warm, and I agree. Popping them in the microwave for 20 seconds (assuming they’re not still warm from the oven) did the trick. I’m sure they’d also be quite good with some marmalade or the jam of your choosing.

Apricot, Macadamia, and White Chocolate Chunk Muffins
Recipe from The Photo Cookbook — Baking (iTunes)

Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
(generous) 1/2 cup superfine sugar
1/2 cup chopped, plumped, dried apricots
1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
2 oz/55 g white chocolate, chopped
2 eggs, beaten
(scant) 1 cup buttermilk
(scant) 1/2 cup sunflower oil

Note: We were unable to find sunflower oil, so we used safflower oil instead.

1. Preheat the oven to 400 °F (200 °C). Place 12 muffin liners in a muffin pan or on a baking sheet.

2. Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl, and stir in the sugar, apricots, nuts, and chocolate.

3. Beat together the eggs, buttermilk, and oil, then add to the bowl and stir to mix evenly.

4. Spoon the mixture into the muffin liners and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until well risen.

Serve the muffins warm, preferably on the day of making. Note: Don’t forget to let the muffins cool for at least five minutes in their pan.

As the picture shows, these muffins really rise! If I remember correctly, they took about 30 minutes, but it turns out that our oven isn’t calibrated correctly, so be sure to test them within the suggested baking time.

I wish I knew more about ingredients and how they work with each other. If I wanted to add some orange zest to these and take out the macadamia nuts, what would I have to do differently, if anything? I guess these are the types of questions the answers to which come with experience. I’m just getting started, but I hope that I’ll eventually feel comfortable enough in the kitchen to make my own recipes, or at least deviate from other recipes by more than a pinch here or there.

All photos taken by Taking of Toast.

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