Spiced Pumpkin Muffins.

I keep hearing of Pumpkin Spice Lattes on Instagram and I want one! No Starbucks nearby though so today I decided to make do with a normal latte and a spiced pumpkin muffin on the side! If you don’t have access to Pumpkin Spice syrup here is the recipe I bodged together with what I had in my cupboard. (If you do, donations are always gratefully accepted!)

First steam half a small, peeled, de-seeded and diced pumpkin until soft, then mash it. (Or do extra and keep some for another recipe)

Add a teaspoon of lemon juice to 200ml milk (dairy or soya) and leave to stand for five minutes before whisking in an egg, a couple of tablespoons of maple syrup, and 75g melted butter. Then stir in your pumpkin.

Combine 300g flour (for some reason I only had in wholemeal bread flour with added seeds so whatever you’ve got will be fine!), 100g sugar, half a teaspoon sodium bicarbonate, a heaped teaspoon of cinnamon, a grating of nutmeg and a shake of ginger.

Lightly combine the wet and dry ingredients, spoon into greased muffin tins or silicon muffin trays, top with walnuts or pecans and bake for 20 mins at 200c.

Finally, drizzle with more maple syrup and serve warm with a frothy latte, a beam of autumn sunshine and something to wipe your sticky fingers on…

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Apple Cinnamon Donut Muffins

The drop in temperature recently has left me with some carb cravings that can’t be ignored. I have honestly tried but it just makes me miserable so hey! This evening I was in desperate need of a quick fix after a busy day and also wanted to use up some apple sauce I’d made with cider at the weekend. Inspiration hit and these lovelies were hot from the oven within half an hour.

I mixed 300g self raising flour with 150g sugar and half a teaspoon of cinnamon in a bowl. Then whisked 50g melted butter with an egg and 250mls soya milk (dairy would be fine) thickened for five minutes with half a teaspoon of lemon juice. Then very lightly mixed the wet and dry ingredients together.

Half the batter went in the muffin tins (I’ve got medium sized silicon jobs, you may need to grease trays or use paper inserts) then a teaspoon of the apple sauce went in each heap of mixture, followed by the rest of the batter before baking in a preheated 200c oven for 20 minutes.

Once they were golden and crispy on top they just needed the tops brushing with melted butter and sprinkling with a mixture of castor sugar and cinnamon. Then we just had to restrain ourselves from not eating them so fast we burned our tongues. Ok – I failed at this, but the recipe was a success so I still win!

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Custardy Pumpkin Pie

A few weeks ago a cardboard box arrived on my doorstep filled with red, orange and green pumpkins from those lovely people at Riverford. Since then we’ve had pumpkin risotto, pumpkin roasted with peppers, chillies and sausages; pumpkin muffins and, as of yesterday, pumpkin pie!

Over the last few years I’ve tried several recipes, some ok, and some… well, some dire. But this one from Keith Abel’s Cooking Outside the Box ticked all the boxes. Crisp pastry and a light, fluffy, custardy filling. I loved it, my family thought it was amazing; a Canadian friend proclaimed that it reminded him of home.

We polished off the remnants today, with torrential rain outside (the dregs of St Jude’s transatlantic storm) and steaming mugs of Earl Grey inside. Tomorrow? I think I’m going to have to make another.

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Mocha Muffins

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I have two types of cake I can knock up in a hurry, without really thinking about it, and with a 99% chance of the right ingredients already residing in my kitchen cupboard. The first is a tray of brownies, the second is a batch of muffins. Both are adaptable, can be on the table in about forty minutes and, above all, are guaranteed crowd pleasers. I’ve already “done” brownies this week so when my gorgeous sister-in-law offered to pop by this afternoon with my baby nephew I decided to go the muffin route. Half an hour later the house was filled with the fragrance of coffee and chocolate; which is always a Good Thing!

Should you require a “little something” at short notice, you could do worse than these babies. They are adapted from a recipe of Susannah Blake’s in Muffin Magic. Please note that you can substitute gluten-free flour and/or non-dairy milk without any problems, I’ve done both.

In a big bowl mix 300g self-raising flour, 120g caster sugar, two teaspoons each of cocoa powder and instant espresso powder and 50g chopped dark chocolate.

In a jug beat 200ml milk, two tablespoons yoghurt, 1 egg and 85g melted butter; and then pour into the bowl of dry ingredients. Lightly and barely mix. If you under-combine with streaks of flour mixture still present you’ll get lovely light muffins. If you mix thoroughly, as you would a cake batter, your muffins will be rubbery. You don’t want that!

Spoon the mixture into twelve medium sized muffin moulds (I have two six-hole, silicon muffin trays. If you aren’t using silicon you’ll need to line with paper cases) and pop into a preheated 200C oven for twenty minutes.

Plump the cushions, hide that pile of paperwork, stick the kettle on and then hope your guests arrive before the muffins go cold. If they do cool too much remove from the tins/trays and stick in a hot oven for about three minutes. IF there’s any left you can do this for breakfast the next morning too, but don’t count on it…