Being the good wife that I am, I quickly whipped up a batch of blueberry muffins this morning for us to have with our customary morning coffee we have out on the patio before heading off to work. And being an even better wife, I made a few of the muffins without blueberries for the husband who does not like fruit once it has been cooked (hard to understand, but apparently something to do with the consistency). Therefore, a few of the muffins had some chocolate chips added instead of the blueberries. So if you also find yourself in a household with divided preferences, muffins are the best thing to bake that will satisfy everybody’s tastes.
One thing (or I should say the only thing) I dislike about baking is eating it the next day. There is something about baking, fresh out of the oven, that is impossible to recreate the following day. But sometimes there is no other choice than having to bake the night before. And that is where muffins tick all the boxes for me (obviously including the ease of variation). Muffins (normally) don’t have any icing on top, so if you must bake them the night before, they are easily reheated which is the second best outcome if not straight out of the oven. But the best thing about them is that they are one of the quickest things you will be able to get into the oven, so even if pressed for time, they can be made in mere minutes right before you need them. There is no mixer involved, no beating or creaming. You only need two bowls, one for dry ingredients and one for wet and then simply fold the two together. The whole process should take no longer than 10 minutes, which I could even quickly squeeze into an already busy workday morning. And the smell drifting through the house of the muffins baking, and the coffee machine pouring out fresh, hot espresso was totally intoxicating!
2 cups self-rising flour
1/3 cup sugar (more if you have a sweet tooth)
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup oil
1 cup milk (or buttermilk)
Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners.
Sift together the self-rising flour and sugar (I double sift my dry ingredients, it just gives it that extra little bit of air and lightness). Note: If you do not have any self-rising flour you can use 2 cups of standard flour, adding 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder and ½ teaspoon salt.
Whisk together the egg, vanilla, oil and milk (I used buttermilk which makes the muffin a bit more moist, but normal milk is fine to use as well).
Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. The absolute key to light and moist muffins is to not over mix the batter. It should literally only take about ten seconds to fold the mixture through.
At this stage you can add whatever extra ingredients you wish incorporate, in my case the blue berries and some chocolate chips. I spooned out roughly 1/3 of the batter into a separate bowl and folded the chocolate chips through that, and folded a punnet of blueberries through the remainder of the batter.
Bake for 20-25 minutes. You can check after 20 minutes, if you insert a toothpick and it comes out clean the muffins are ready to come out. If the toothpick comes out with a little bit of batter stuck to it, put it back in the oven for another few minutes.
Makes: 12 medium sized muffins.
Blueberries: add a punnet of blueberries the mixture right at the end, gently fold through without bursting the blueberries.
Raspberry & white chocolate: add some raspberries and chopped white chocolate to the mixture at the end.
Banana: mash 2-3 bananas and add to the wet ingredients before folding into the dry ingredients.
Chocolate chip: add roughly chopped chocolate to the mixture at the end.
Chocolate: add a tablespoon of cocoa powder to the dry ingredients, or if you feel like a serious chocolate hit add 200g of melted dark chocolate to the wet ingredients before folding into the dry ingredients.
Savoury: reduce the sugar to 1 tablespoon, add 1 teaspoon of salt, omit the vanilla and then add any of your favourite savoury ingredients such as cheese, bacon, feta, sundried tomato or olives.
…be fearless, and have fun!