Much Ado About Muffins

Posted on August 2, 2014


Oh. My. Goodness.

Have we really never written a post called ‘Much Ado About Muffins’? I actually had to Google our posts to check that it’s really true.

For those of you that aren’t Simpsons fans ‘Much Ado about Muffins’ is a muffin stand on The Squidport Boardwalk in Springfield. Other hilarious businesses on the Simpsons include the opticians ‘Eye Caramba’, the Chinese restaurant ‘Crouching Tiger Hidden Eggroll’, coffee shop ‘Java the Hut’ and ‘The Frying Dutchman’ which may or may not be the place that Moe asks for “The finest food you’ve got, stuffed with the second finest” and the waiter replies “Excellent sir. Lobster, stuffed with Tacos.”

Chances are, when I eventually find a decent lobster round here, I will have to stuff it with tacos.

Anyway – let’s end this glaring neglect of a cake based pun right here, right now…by sharing a couple of muffin recipes.

Check these pretty boys out.

Choc Cherry Muffins on things{we}make

These last few weeks I have been cooking. A lot.

I am putting together a bakeware catalogue so we have had a house full of all of the foods.

Food photography has changed over the years, on a shoot in the 1990’s I recall spraying WD40 on a turbot to make it look ‘sea-fresh’, but now I like everything to look…and be delicious.

So that is my aim: Make everything appear and taste the very best it can be, which means my recipes are packed with good butter, the freshest produce and the best chocolate which is not good for my plans for a ‘bikini body’ for our impending holidays.

When it comes to cake ingredients though, red velvet is just a swizz. In the main it’s just an unhealthy amount of food colouring, so although I used it for a particular look for this photo, I prefer to give it a miss.

Chocolate Muffins on things{we}make

I like the way you can see a reflection of the world outside my studio window in the shiny cherries.

I also cooked some savoury muffins. Now these are very tasty, but they didn’t work visually for the shot so they didn’t make the final cut.

Savoury Muffins on things{we}make
Savoury Muffins on things{we}make

What they did make though was a quick and tasty lunch, served with a bowl of the finest cream of tomato soup. (Heinz, of course) They were also a good use of the ingredients I had leftover from ‘baking tray day’ which included oven dried baby plum tomatoes and some mini mozzarella balls.

Savoury Muffins on things{we}make

So, take your pick: Pretty (not red velvet) Chocolate Muffins, or Savoury (good with soup) Muffins.

I’ll take one of each.

Oh…Ed tells me that the Lobster stuffed with Tacos is from the Gilded Truffle, not the Frying Dutchman which may be factually correct but not quite so amusing.

Things {we}make Cherry Topped Chocolate Muffins

2 tablespoons cocoa powder
100g soft brown sugar
220ml water
50g cornflour
75g butter
75g good quality milk chocolate
50g dark chocolate
75ml sunflower oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
125g caster sugar
125g plain flour
2½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon of red food colouring paste (don’t put this in unless you really, really want red cakes)

100g chocolate
100ml double cream

  • First sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl to get that boring bit out of the way. Oh and break the chocolate into pieces.
  • Then put the cocoa, soft brown sugar, water and cornflour into a medium, non stick sauce pan and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until it melts, then thickens. Don’t worry…the lumps will beat out if you keep stirring.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and chocolate until all melty.
  • Add one egg and the oil and vanilla and beat well.
  • Add the second egg and caster sugar and beat again.
  • Pour the flour/baking powder in and beat one last time.
  • Spoon into 12-13 muffin cases in a muffin tray and bake for 25 minutes at 170ºc

To finish

  • While they are cooling heat 100ml of double cream in a small pan.
  • Just as it starts to bubble at the edges take it off the heat and stir in 100g of chocolate.
  • Let this cool a little until it is thick and spoonable then spoon onto the muffins.
  • Top with a cherry.

Things{we}make Savoury Muffins

300g self raising flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon mustard powder
½ teaspoon paprika
1 tsp salt
75g butter
1 beaten egg
230ml milk
30ml sunflower oil

100g bought sunblush or home oven-dried tomatoes
100g mini mozzarella balls
Herbs of your choice

  • Mix the flour, baking powder, paprika, salt and mustard powder
  • Rub in the butter (I do this in the Magimix)
  • Whisk the egg and milk and oil together then stir this in
  • Stir in most of the mozzarella, tomatoes and herbs
  • Spoon into 10-12 muffin cases – top with the last few bit of tomato and cheese
  • Bake at 190ºc for 20 minutes – eat warm

Note: I actually made half with the oven dried tomatoes, mozzarella pearls and rosemary and the other 6 with chunks of ham, crumbled cheese and chopped spring onion (Ed liked these ones best)

Things{we}make Oven Dried Tomatoes

  • Drizzle small plum tomatoes with garlic infused olive oil.
  • Sprinkle well with salt and pepper and some herbs.
  • Roast in a low oven (100ºc) for a few hours until they are crozzled and tasty.