There’s something about autumn that just makes me happy. In Melbourne, you get all the cold wet miserableness of winter, plus the pretty colours and occasional sunlight of autumn. It’s May, so that means we’re definitely in the swing of cold, blustery autumn. I love it.
Warning: Another photo-heavy post coming up.
Mostly because I’m still kinda scattered.
But sunsets are something that helps me to stay calm.
Even though I’m behind on my uni work and I’m nervous about camp.
So, less words.
I am a big fan of Greek-style yogurt.
And I love five:am yogurt.
And I love chocolate!
And I love cake. And snacking. So they’re all represented here.
And sometimes you just gotta bake.
Hence, the chocolate yogurt snack cakes. Again, from Smitten Kitchen: one of my major inspirations in cooking and in photography and in blogging.
Beware of the tiny ones, though. They’re dangerous. They slip under your guard and suddenly, BAM! You’ve eaten twelve.
How do you de-scatter? Calm down? Refresh?
spending time with God in the sunset, sunlight, good times and deep in the funk.
And the chocolate. Always the chocolate.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
I doubled the recipe because I have a lot of yogurt to use (and I’ll be making more this week because as I mentioned I have a camp that I am going to and it made 36 cupcake sized muffins and 12 mini muffins. So I’ll give the doubled recipe with the original measurements in square parentheses.
400g [200g] dark chocolate, coarsely chopped- I used a combination of 72% and 54% cocoa
1 cup (250ml) [1/2 cup - 125ml] vegetable oil
1 cup (250ml) [1/2 cup - 125ml] yogurt (I used Greek-style – plain yogurt is fine too)
2 cups (400g) [1 cup - 200g] sugar
2 1/2 tsp [1 tsp] vanilla extract
(I didn’t use almond extract but Deb suggests 1/2 teaspoon)
3 cups (400g) [1 1/2 cups - 200g] plain flour
3 tsp [1 1/2 tsp] baking powder
1 tsp [1/2 tsp] sea salt
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line two muffin tins with patty pans.
Melt chocolate and half the oil in a ceramic or glass bowl over a pot of simmering water or in the microwave. Meanwhile, stir together the rest of the oil, yogurt sugar and extracts together.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in the yogurt mix and the slightly cooled chocolate mixture. Stir together.
Divide between the patty pans (use more if you need to) and bake about 20 minutes . Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream and berries. Or, you know, as is. With milk.
My boss has these muffins that he makes and they’re really popular. You make them in a texas muffin tin (extra large… yum…) and they’re made with oil and they have berries in them (yeah.. I am so articulate today.) And they’re amazing! So I wanted to recreate them for snacks because I get hungry at uni and if I get hungry and I don’t have food on me I’ll buy something unhealthy because I’m shopping while hungry. Not a good idea.
So I looked on my favourite baking sites and found this recipe by Smitten Kitchen, so I decided to make a control batch before I changed things up a bit. Well, controlled by raspberries. I do love me some raspberries.
The thing about baking when you have a bunch of assessments to do is that it’s procrastinating, and I didn’t want to do that so I studied for a bit and then made these and then… failed to study more because it was late by then and I scarfed down a muffin even though I really shouldn’t eat that late at night (especially sweet things). Then I procrastinated a bunch more on the internet.
Then, a week later, I wrote this. Then, two days after that again, I’m posting it. I’m sorry I’m such a busy, frazzled person. I made you muffins. Eat them.
Olive Oil Muffins
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Ok, so as I said, I made this as a ‘control recipe’ that was no where near controlled. I swapped in some almond meal, I didn’t use sliced almonds, I added raspberries. They were still delicious. There will be more muffins soon. Just let me finish my essays.
1 3/4 cup plain flour (I swapped in 3/4 cup almond meal for flour)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons orange zest (I used the zest of one orange)
2 teaspoons lemon zest (I used the zest of one lemon)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons milk
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted (I used about a cup of whole almonds, blitzed them in the food processor, toasted them and then blitzed the big bits again. It wasn’t ideal and I’ll probably do it differently next time.)
about a cup of frozen raspberries
icing sugar, to sift over
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Spray a 12 hole muffin pan with canola spray and dust with flour. Set aside.
Whisk together flour, almond meal (if using) baking powder and salt.
Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs, sugar and zests until they are really light and fluffy. Beat in balsamic vinegar and milk.
Pour the olive oil in a thin stream as you beat. Crush the sliced almonds as you add them or just dump the blitzed almonds in. Gradually fold in flour mix with a spatula just until incorporated.
Fill each muffin cavity almost to the top with mixture. Crush some raspberries into each muffin and stir in with a fork.
Bake 20-25 minutes. Cool 5 minutes in tin, then on a cooling rack. Eat one asap, but be careful, they’re fragile. Sift icing sugar over and serve with butter.
This is what I did today.
I browned some butter.
Zested a lime.
Listened to some Eminem… yeah, I did.
I buttered a muffin tin.
Whisked together some eggs and milk and vanilla.
Whisked together some spelt flour and baking powder and plain flour and salt. And sugar. Can’t forget the sugar.
I took photos without the flash because they look less harsh that way. Maybe a little fuzzier and retro looking. That’s ok.
See my blue fingernails? I don’t usually paint my nails because I work in hospitality but my two week (almost – had to work yesterday:) break meant I could. Hence. The green and red tea towel matches the cranberries and limes. My favourite apron, complete with pocket for my camera, and the moccies I always cook in.
I opened the curtains and was glad the heater worked.
I stirred the contents of three bowls and a saucepan together – and then I washed those dishes while these muffins baked.
I made myself a cup of coffee. Mmm… coffee…
And then I ate me some muffins.
Sometimes, I forget that I have to look after myself, forget trying to fill other people’s holes, and let God fill mine. Sometimes, I have to remember that I have something to offer as well, but I have to take time to be me and do stuff for me otherwise I’ll lose it. Sometimes, you just need to make some muffins and some coffee and sit down and eat them. Because it’s good.
Sometimes you just need to bake for you. Not for anyone else, to get anyone’s attention or friendship or love or acceptance or gratitude. Just for you, because you love to bake, the physical action, the ingredients, sights, smells, tastes. Just because.
Brown Butter Cranberry Lime Muffins
Adapted from Joy the Baker
100g butter, unsalted
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon (or capful) vanilla extract
zest of one lime
1 1/2 cups plain flour – I used 1 cup wholemeal spelt and 1/2 cup plain white. Good.
1 teaspoon salt
170g dried cranberries (or 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries, if you have them)
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Butter and flour a 12 cup muffin pan (I never usually do this but I was out of paper cases. By all means, use them if you’ve got them.
If you’re using dried cranberries, pour them into a bowl and cover them with 1/2 cup water. Set aside.
Place the butter in a small, heavy bottomed saucepan. Melt for about ten minutes on medium-low heat. Keep a close eye – you want the butter to be brown, not burnt. Swirl the pan every few minutes. It’ll get frothy and emit a beautiful nutty smell. Take off the heat.
Whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla and lime zest together.
Whisk the sugar, flour(s), salt and baking powder together.
Make a well in the dry ingredients. Pour all the wet ingredients in (not the cranberries!) and stir together.
Drain the cranberries and fold them in thoroughly. Scoop into the prepared muffin tin and bake 18-20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Cool 5 minutes in the tin, then invert and cool on a rack or board. Eat at once, or when at room temperature.
I say almost because I kinda forgot an important ingredient.
See, when you make muffins – even awesome muffins born from the cinnamon walnutty goodness of last post’s cookies – it’s kinda important to have some sort of ingredient that works together with the other ingredients and does some sort of scientific thing that not only helps it to taste awesome but makes it rise and makes the texture fluffy and lovely.
It’s a leavening agent. Yes, ladies and gents, I forgot the baking powder AND the baking soda. I am a very smart cookie.
But I’m a nuff nuff muff muffin.
They taste really really good, don’t get me wrong. They taste just as good as the cookies. (maybe even better. I don’t have a direct comparison. We ate all the cookies already.)
I get this feeling I’m missing something in my life. Flour one day, baking powder the next… I don’t know what’s going on. Baking still calms me down and makes me happy, but I think I need to … re-evaluate or something. Journal more. Be more. Just be.
This is why it’s a good thing that holidays are around the corner. This is also why I’m trying not to freak out about the fact that I’ve got two exams in the next two days, and I’ve been procrasti-baking and procrasti-cleaning and procrasti-tooling around on the internet for the past week. Or so.
It’s ok. I have almost-muffins. And hot chocolate. And Glee.
And I’ll be even more ok when I visit my Oma on Friday for her birthday.
It’s a pretty special occasion. She’s turning 21! No, that’s me next year. She’s… thirty! No, no one needs that freak out again. Or do they?
40? She is looking pretty good for her age.
Keep going… Ok, no, we’re actually going to stop there. Let’s just say that it’s rude to ask a lady her age, and my Oma is grand and wonderful and mature and sometimes giggles like a schoolgirl with me and my sister and our mum.
And her party is going to be so much fun! But I can’t think about it until after my exams.
Well, after these two anyway. I do have another (yep, I chose four subjects that have exams in my first year of university) but it’s not for a couple of weeks and I’m going to smash it out of the water. Just like I’ll smash these and the one I did today.
Ok, time to stop talking about [exams] and tell you about these muffins you absolutely have to make.
Just don’t forget the baking powder. And soda.
P.S. Please tell me about them! I was totally going to make a new batch but I’d run out of walnuts. And dates. And there weren’t any apples. And my nose is cold. And this blanket is warm.
125g butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 cup greek style yoghurt (I’m sure other plain yoghurt would work just as well)
1/2 cup milk
1 cup walnuts, chopped
about 3/4 cup dates, chopped
2/3 cup flour
1/3 cup ground almonds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Beat the butter with the sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg and the vanilla and scrape down the bowl, beating until fluffy again. Stir in the yoghurt and milk.
Using a spatula, fold in the dry ingredients (you can sift ‘em first if you want to … or not…) and the walnuts and dates. Scoop tablespoonfuls into patty cases lining muffin tins (I have a feeling these would be brilliant in the kind of huge, Muffin Break-esque texan muffin incarnation. Try it. I dare you.) Bake… in a 180 degree oven… well, mine took about twenty-five minutes but I don’t know how leaveners change the baking times. So, check them regularly. Then eat them.
I know what I’m having for breakfast.