Breakfast Muffins

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Hello – a sunny morning to you ( okay, maybe not  – the Sydney sky is pretty grey today haha)

5I’m glad it is weekend – although I of course have lots to do this weekend as well. Last week was very busy for me since I had two assignments for my study due and was working on my cookbook volunteering job a lot as well. But oh well – after 1.5 week of not sleeping that much everything got handed in that had to be handed in. And I was quite pleased with my end results. Now onto the next assessment 😉 (yes they never let you take a break haha). But I will make time for breaks and for BREAKfast muffins :)!

I was not sure what I was going to make this week, I had not put much thought in it to be honest since my head was everywhere and nowhere (and my brain was not functioning as it should). However, in the last couple of days I got some inspiration for this weeks bake! Nicolas has to get up very early for his job everyday and does not really have time to make a nice breakfast in the mornings – so I figured I might try to find a bit of a solution (just for the coming week) for that: breakfast muffins! They should be healthy, filling, easy to take, nutritious and tasty! I did some research online and ended up making a whole wheat/oat/banana/hazelnut/dates/coconut/spices/coffee (yes caffeine is needed in the morning) mixture – which turned in muffins after being in the oven. So they are completely butter/oil free and they have no refined sugar (only natural fruit sugars).8The muffins are also whole wheat and whole grain (if you use whole grain oats). They are very filling (good for breakfast!) (and the recipe makes a lot haha), they are also not very sweet – which might be better for breakfast (but you can increase the dates or add some sugar if you want – and I think they will be sweeter with more overripe banana’s – because mine were still quite ‘new’). I did like them a lot – but next time I would put some fruit in them as well – maybe blueberries or apples. In my opinion, the muffins were quite heavy in texture and taste and the only thing breaking away from that were the hazelnuts. They can be frozen (and then taken out the night before you want to have them for breakfast) or just stored in an air-tight container (but make sure you eat them within 4 – 5 days if you don’t freeze them). I hope you like them – but do feel free to experiment with different nuts or the addition of some fruit (dried or fresh)!

3Breakfast muffins

makes 15 big muffins

  • 200g whole wheat flour
  • 200g whole grain oats
  • 100g desiccated coconut
  • 2 tsp ground flaxseed (optional)
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 3.5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 150 g roasted and chopped hazelnuts (or other nuts)
  • 1 1/2 cup milk (can be replaced with non-dairy milk – and feel free to add a bit more if the batter is very dry)
  • 1/2 cup cold coffee
  • 3 banana’s (preferably very ripe)
  • 120g dates
  • 2 eggs, divided1
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Roast the hazelnuts for 8 minutes (stir them around after 4 minutes). And line your muffin tin with muffin paper cups. 2
  2. Combine the flour, oats, coconut, flaxseed, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves in a big mixing bowl. Chop the cooled hazelnuts into coarse pieces and add them to the dry mixture.
  3. Mash the banana’s into a puree. Process the dates in a food processor with a bit of warm water to make a soft paste. Insert the banana’s and process a little more. 11 10
  4. Add the banana and date mixture to the flour mixture. Add in the milk, coffee and egg yolks. Mix all until well combined. Feel free to add more milk if the texture seems a bit dry. (If you want to add any fruit – I would do it at this stage).
  5. Whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks (I recommend using an electric mixer to do this). Fold the egg whites carefully into the batter.
  6. Divide the batter between the muffin cups – you can probably fill up more than 15 muffins if you prefer smaller muffins.
  7. Bake the muffins for 25 – 30 minutes in the oven. But check them every now and then. If a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean and not very wet, they should be done. If you are not sure, take one muffin and break it open. The inside should be moist but dry – so not looking like batter any more. Leave them in the tin for 5 minutes before taking them out. They can be enjoyed warm or cold! I hope you like them!

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Flourless Chocolate and Pear Muffins

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Hi there! Firstly, sorry that it took me longer than I wanted to post up these muffins. I made them almost a week ago, but life was just too full to put them up. I hope the taste will make up for it ;). The weeks are getting busier and busier with university assessments and also my volunteering for the cookbook. All very exciting, but sometimes a bit intense. So that is one of the reasons why I really needed a weekend away. Last weekend, my lovely boyfriend, Nicolas, and I went camping in Coolendel. This is a campsite about 3 hours away from Sydney, but you have the feeling you are in the middle of nowhere – perfect for getting away from the rush of the city. I wanted to bring something baked to enjoy on our little trip. Something that was easy to bring, tasty, yummy and good. IMG_1542At the moment, pears are in season, so I decided to do something with pears, and (why not?!) chocolate. I looked at different recipes, scones, cakes, muffins. And decided in the end to use a BBC Good Food recipe as the base of my recipe. The recipe is a cake, but I figured muffins are easier to have ‘on-the-go’. I increased the chocolate a bit and used less butter – they turned out really good! They were a lot lighter than I had expected. Maybe my pear-bits were a little big, because the muffins did tend to fall apart a bit. They were nevertheless very tasty and a good camping treat :)! IMG_1546

 

Besides the tasty muffins, we had other treats at the campsite as well – wallabies, wombats and iguana’s! We got to pet one of the wombats, when we went for a late night walk. The first wombat we spotted ran away when we tried to approach it – so we let it be, since we didn’t want to stress it out. But the second one (our friend 🙂 ) stood still, a bit nervous-looking, but as soon as we started to pet its back, the wombat completely relaxed, dropped its shoulders and started eating grass. That was a very awesome and cute experience :)! We also went swimming in the river on the campsite, which was very cold. After a while, when I got used to the cold, it was a lot of fun! And the sun was shining enough to later dry you, if you were standing on a sunny spot. So all in all, it was a really good weekend – with an awesome campfire, cool wildlife and delicious muffins – hopefully we’ll get to do it again soon :)! But for now, this is the recipe for my flourless chocolate and  pear muffins! Let me know if you like them – and what you would take as a camping baked treat!

IMG_1551 copyFlourless chocolate and pear muffins

Makes 11 muffins

  • 85g hazelnuts, roasted and ground in a foodprocessor*
  • 60g butter
  • 85g brown caster sugar
  • 100g dark chocolate (I used 90%)
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 3 ripe pears, peeled and chopped into smaller cubes
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. And line your muffin tin with muffin paper cups. IMG_1544 copy
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of hot water, remove from the heat, and leave to cool.
  3. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a large bowl until pale and thick; fold into the chocolate with the hazelnuts
  4. In a separate bowl, with a clean whisk (I would use an electric whisk if you have one – I tried (okay, I have to admit that it was late at night and I was tired from kick boxing) to do it by hand, but decided to go for the electric whisk instead) , beat the whites until they reach a soft, but stiff peak. Stir a spoonful of the whites into the chocolate mix, then carefully fold in the rest of them in 2 additions.
  5. Fold in the pear pieces. Divide the batter over the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 30 minutes, until the pears are soft and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Make sure you check every now and then within the 30 minutes. Leave to cool in the tin slightly before transferring the muffins to a rack to cool completely. You can definitely eat them warm as well, but the pears will be very hot. And I liked them more when they were cold!

IMG_1550 copy*To roast the hazelnuts, place them for about 8 -10 minutes at 180C in the oven. Afterwards, let them cool down completely. Try to get rid some of the hazelnut skin. Place the nuts in a foodprocessor and process until you get a fine meal. My hazelnuts were still a little coarse, which gave a nice texture in my opinion, with the surprise of a bigger piece of hazelnut from time to time. But if you want a softer, smoother texture, I recommend processing them until they look more like flour than small breadcrumbs!

Poppy Seed and Nut Brownies

Hello there! How has your week been? 

Poppy seed and nut brownies

My week has been crazy – busy, stressful, difficult, challenging, but also exciting, fun and rewarding. Last week, my second year of my degree started. So I am in week two now, and already have an assessment due tomorrow!! They give me no time to get into studying again, haha, just straight away – full on! Which is good as well, since I am terrible at ‘doing nothing’. It makes me quite restless, so having lots to do is better for me. Except for the stressing factor, that I already have experienced a lot lately. Maybe not the best week to do another bake you may say? Well, I have to do something to clear mind as well, right?

So this week, I have decided to make brownies. I am sure I don’t have to give any reason to make brownies – I mean I have never met someone who did not enjoy them. But I do have a couple of reasons 🙂 (to make the brownies even better haha). Firstly, chocolate contains several good chemicals that make you happy (tryptophan and phenylethylalanine) and a stimulant (theobromine) to help you relax and wake up. So if you’re stressful and battered out, chocolate is your best friend :).IMG_1511 Another reason for the brownies this week, is that I think they are a good food to celebrate! And I have some things to celebrate! I finished my first assessment without last minute work (which feels a bit nerve wrecking and a bit good haha). But my other reason to celebrate is more exciting, and needs a bit of explanation. At my university, there is a student association. They do many different things, but one of them is that they make a cookbook each year, for the students, full of students’s own recipe. A lot of volunteers work together to make this cookbook. And this semester they were (amongst other positions) looking for a volunteer Graphic Designer. So I applied, since this would be an awesome opportunity to learn a lot and improve my skills! My interview was last week, and this Monday I got to know that I am the Graphic Designer for this year’s cookbook :)! So more work for me haha, but I am excited to dive into this project. I have lots more to learn, so bring it on! I’ll keep you posted on how the cookbook is going 🙂

Enough talking, more baking, more brownies.

For the brownies, I choose Delia Smith’s Four Nut Chocolate Brownie recipe. Her brownies are absolutely divine already (so you can also decide to stop reading here and just go for herrecipe haha). I adapted the recipe a bit – I used only three kinds of nuts and added poppy seeds. I love poppy seeds, but always seem to forget about them. So I figured, let’s try if they go well with chocolate! And of course, I added a bit of cinnamon, how could I resist that? They came out sweet, gooey, chocolatey, nutty – just yummy.

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I have to give you Delia’s advice before starting the brownies: ” You need to get into the brownie mood, and to do this stop thinking ‘cake’. Brownies are slightly crisp on the outside but soft, damp and squiggly within. ” So now you know this, bring on your brownie mood and enjoy!

Poppy Seed and Nut Brownies

Makes a lot of brownie – easily divided into 20 good squares.

  • 140 g nuts (can be any kind you like – I used walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds)
  • 80 g dark chocolate (preferably 75% cocoa solids or more)
  • 130 g butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 250 g brown sugar
  • 75 g flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup poppy seeds
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line the tin you want to make your brownies in with baking paper (any shape will do, I had one cake loaf tin and one round one).
  2. Place the nuts on a baking sheet with baking paper. Roast them in the oven for 8 – 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them – you don’t want them to burn!! IMG_1487
  3. After the nuts are done, set them aside in a bowl to cool down.In the meanwhile, combine the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Make sure that the bowl does not touch the water. Allow the chocolate and butter to melt and then beat until smooth.IMG_1488
  4. Remove the chocolate mixture from the heat and into a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs and whisk until combined.
  5. Add flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined.
  6. Chop up the nuts roughly (not too small) and fold them, together with the poppy seeds, into the brownie mixture. IMG_1495
  7. Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared tin. Bake the brownies for 20 – 25 minutes in the oven or until it is slightly springy in the centre.
  8. Leave the brownies in their tin for 10 minutes, before cutting them into squares and transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely (or before you pop these warm and gooey brownies in your mouth). I hope you like them!

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