Recipe: Banana Nutella Muffins

I’m pretty sure this was one of the first recipes I posted on this blog – it was my study-snack of choice during my first year of university (and I’m pretty sure it was what originally bribed Libby to be friends with me!). Banana and Nutella is a flavour combo that will never, ever get old and it’s a personal favourite of mine.

I’ve tweaked my original recipe slightly here, reducing the sugar

Moist banana muffins, made a tad sturdier than a standard banana bread with the addition of oats. A generous amount of Nutella swirled through. Hazelnuts sprinkled on top for crunch (and to add Instagram-appeal, let’s not lie). There is simply nothing better than these – and they are so, so easy! Okay, so spooning nutella onto banana slices and transporting to mouth is *slightly* easier, but trust me on this. You will be thankful for the tiny bit of extra effort you put in when you first bite into one of these. Particularly if it’s still warm from the oven…

Recipe (makes 12, I scaled down for these photos)

  • 200g plain flour
  • 30g oats
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 100g sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 110g butter, melted
  • 3 large very ripe/brown bananas
  • 3-4 tbsp Nutella
  • 2 tbsp chopped hazelnuts

In one bowl combine the flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon and sugar. In another combine the eggs, melted (then cooled) butter, and bananas (mashed until slightly lumpy). Add the dry mix to the wet mix and quickly stir through – you want it to be just combined, though a few lumps are absolutely fine.

Divide most of the mixture between 12 muffin holes (lined with cases) – each one should be about two-thirds full. Melt the nutella slightly, either in a microwave or in a small bowl suspended in a larger bowl of warm water. Blob a teaspoon of nutella into each muffin, hen top each equally with the remaining batter. Swirl the muffin/nutella together slightly using a cocktail stick, then bake at 180C for around 20 minutes. Try to let them cool before eating – or at very least be careful not to burn your fingers…

Perhaps the best thing about this recipe is the smell whilst these muffins are baking. The flat smelled irresistible! That smell of banana bread baking (which is quite possibly the best baking smell ever anyway) with a hint of nutella filled both our flat, and the communal hallway. Sorry neighbours!

What’s your favourite muffin flavour combo? 

Recipe: Banana Bread Muffins (a.k.a Procrastimuffins)

I have to admit it, I loveeeee banana bread. I adore how moist and full of flavour it is, sweet enough to satisfy my sweet tooth but not ridiculously bad for me. Filling, but not stodgy, managing to get me some of the way to achieving my 5-a-day. These are the banana bread I love so much, but in muffin form! Perfect for an afternoon snack.

 photo Banana Bread Muffins 4_zpsbyt4eagl.jpgOr microwaved until gooey, served with a scoop of ice-cream. Thank me later…

I always end up with over-ripe spotty bananas, due to my hatred of actually eating a banana. Sure, I’ll mash one up in my porridge. Offer me a banana smoothie and I’ll take it. But will I eat a banana? Hell no! Using them like I do means they need to be super sweet and ripe, hence I always end up rushing to use the last few. A few weeks ago I was revising for an exam the next day, wandered into the kitchen and spied some completely brown bananas. And PROCRASTIMUFFINS were born. Only taking 30 minutes, including baking and washing up, they were the perfect way to take some time out, whilst creating a yummy post-exam snack for the next day.

The basic recipe produces moist, slightly cinnamon-y muffins, very banana-y with a slightly hint of peanut butter (because p-butter). I’ve taken it up a notch here and stirred through a small handful of roughly chopped dark chocolate, but in all honesty that’s not necessary. The muffin is the star of the show here, not any additions. That said, I’m imagining a batch made with pecan-nut butter (a new discovery), with extra nuts stirred through… They are moist, but not ‘gummy’ like some banana bread can be, they don’t fall apart, and they’re not too sticky. In essence, the perfect study snack.

 photo Banana Bread Muffins 6_zpsxsg7rciu.jpg photo Banana Bread Muffins 7_zpstusz8huh.jpg photo Banana Bread Muffins 9_zpsmyvnt9a1.jpg photo Banana Bread Muffins 8_zps4ligmb2f.jpgIngredients

  • 100g butter
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 140g sugar – I used a mix of soft brown and granulated, but use what you have
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 190g plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 120g yoghurt or soured cream (or a mix of the two)
  • 2 bananas, mashed well
  • 1 small handful ‘extras’ like chocolate chips

Melt the butter and peanut butter together in a large microwaveable boil, then stir in the sugar. Let cool a little, then add the eggs and vanilla extract. Beat until combined. Mix the flour together with the cinnamon and bicarb, then add to the butter mix and stir together. Then add the bananas and yoghurt/soured cream, stir until just combined. Fold through the extras, then pour into muffin cases – this recipe fills 12 cases almost to the top.

Bake at 170C for 20-25 minutes, watching to make sure the tops don’t brown too much. Let cool a little in the tins, then cool completely on a wire rack.

 photo Banana Bread Muffins 3_zpsmsdedzqz.jpgEat whenever you need a pick-me-up, as a speedy breakfast, or heated and served with ice-cream as an indulgent desert (preferably with a spoon of nutella melted on top, because who doesn’t love banana and nutella?!).

What do you do to procrastinate? I reckon by the end of exam season I’ll have spent a fortune on baking ingredients and won’t fit into any clothes!

Recipe: Super-Easy Blueberry Muffins

Whenever I get a piece of coursework, whenever I have an exam to revise for, my procrastination of choice is to get in the kitchen and bake something. So when I was struggling with a particularly hellish piece of coursework a few weeks back I shut myself in the kitchen and got my bake on.

 photo Blueberry Muffins 2_zpssxe3mmog.jpgThe result was these. I wanted a blueberry recipe to use up the Pancake Day leftovers and this fitted the bill perfectly. Sharp and full of blueberries, a moist vanilla sponge and sweet sugary crust – these Blueberry Muffins were delicious. I may or may not have eaten them for breakfast once or twice… Best of all they were super easy to make, and ready in around half an hour. Definitely my kind of bake!

In fact they reminded me just of baked goods I used to enjoy as a child. I can’t imagine why really (I was a picky person, up until around four years ago I didn’t eat any fruit at all), though I imagine it is due to the smell; crumbles are a common occurrence so the smell of cooking fruit always reminds me of home. I was challenged by leading wedding website Confetti to put together a #LikeMumMade recipe. And whilst it’s not a recipe my mum would have actually made, it is the perfect recipe for celebrating Mother’s Day (don’t panic, there’s still a few weeks to buy cards and order flower deliveries!).

 photo Blueberry Muffins 1_zpsznwj7jdd.jpgIngredients

  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup flavourless oil
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 and a 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream or yoghurt
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • About 1 tablespoon white sugar for the top (optional – but adds a good sweet crust)

 photo Blueberry Muffins 5_zpsxvcm5ugh.jpgBeat the sugar, egg, oil, milk, and vanilla in a bowl until well combined. Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir until it’s no longer lumpy, then gently fold in the sour cream/yoghurt blueberries and the lemon zest.

Pour into muffin cases (this mix made eight, you want to fill the cases almost to the top) and bake at 170C for 25 minutes, or until risen and golden. Let cool then enjoy – I find these are perfect with a glass of cold milk.

 photo Blueberry Muffins 6_zpsphtslla7.jpg photo Blueberry Muffins 4_zpstxmf6cmq.jpgI just adored these Blueberry Muffins! It was such an easy recipe yet the results were simply delicious – they didn’t last long in my cupboard that’s for sure! Oh, and I did eventually complete and hand-in the ‘impossible’ coursework. It has not been a overly fun fortnight…

Have you baked anything recently? What’s your favourite type of muffin?

Baking: Chocolate Chip Muffins

In honour of Great British Bake Off this evening, here’s something you can easily knock up to devour whilst watching! Admittedly I’m on the wrong week as apparently its Biscuit Week, but I’ve never liked being told what to bake/cook…

 photo 2014-07-23162139_zpsc6f469f4.jpg photo 2014-07-23162135_zps71dfbcdf.jpgI’ve made muffins a couple of times before; Nutella & Banana Oaty ones; zesty Citrus Drizzle ones; Cinnamon Swirl ones; Peanut Butter & Jelly ones.. I love both these recipes, but a few days ago I wanted to make something slightly more classic. I stuck to the simple idea of chocolate chips, and other than adding two types of chocolate I was pretty restrained. The result was some (slightly overbaked) moist muffins, just the right size, and nice and light. Yum yum.

 photo 2014-07-23154024_zps16525f6d.jpgIngredients – for 12 decently sized muffins

  •  280g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 120g soft brown sugar
  • 180g chocolate chips
  • 2 eggs
  • 250ml sour cream (such an annoying amount – but don’t be tempted to dump the whole tub in!)
  • 75g butter, melted, plus 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 or 2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 180C, and pop muffin cases in your muffin tray.

 photo 2014-07-23154355_zpsf875786b.jpgSift together the flour, baking powder and salt. You need to do this in a large bowl, as this makes a lot of mix!

 photo 2014-07-23154529_zps73e2572e.jpg photo 2014-07-23154927_zps9bd3d78f.jpgStir through the chocolate chips and the sugar. Make sure there’s no lumps of sugar, and the chocolate is relatively evenly distributed. Make a well in the middle of the mixture.

 photo 2014-07-23154847_zps297fa47c.jpgBeat the eggs in a jug, and mix in the sour cream, butter/oil and vanilla extract.

 photo 2014-07-23154944-6_zps32cc6eeb.jpg photo 2014-07-23155021_zps12629b29.jpgPour the wet ingredients into the well.

 photo 2014-07-23155141_zpscd1f3090.jpg photo 2014-07-23155144_zps20ec8350.jpgMix until just combined. Don’t beat, and don’t over mix. Fill muffin cases with the mixture. They should be about 3/4 of the way full, but just divide the mix between the 12 cases. Bake for 15 mins (not 20 like I did…).

 photo 2014-07-23162135_zps71dfbcdf.jpgThats it – overbaked aside I reckon Paul Hollywood wouldn’t have too many bad things to say…and there would possibly be a ‘scrumptious’ from Mary Berry too. Now, I must remember that I’m not in a student house this year and I can watch real-time TV…

Are you baking for Bake Off? How do you like your muffins – fancy or simple?

Baking: Peanut Butter Jam Muffins

 photo 2014-08-03153439_zpsb87ffac8.jpgAnyone know what the difference is between a cupcake and a muffin? I always thought muffins were bigger, but it seems the pans in the shops (well, Wilkinsons, I’m not made of money!) are all the same size. I’ve decided cupcakes are iced, and muffins are appropriate breakfast food!

 photo 2014-08-03153516_zps2bb22f2a.jpgThese muffins would definitely back fabulous breakfasts…in fact I know they do as that’s exactly what I had this morning. A cup of tea (or three), a banana, and a muffin. Yum yum. I seriously enjoyed getting my bake on over the weekend, I’ve recently moved into new accommodation for my placement year and was itching to play with the cooker! A huge improvement on student accommodation I have to say! Back to the muffins, and these do make relatively acceptable breakfast fare – especially good for one the go when I’ve snoozed turned off all my alarms. Went down well with the office too, though I’ve made a mental note that my boss is allergic to peanuts!

 photo 2014-08-03133923_zps750492ea.jpgI made these with another of the hand-stirred conserves I received from Mackays* – this time the raspberry one. Again I’m not 100% convinced this has the fruity flavour I’d want from a jam, but unlike the bakewell recipe it doesn’t matter too much here. You just want a nice fruity sweetness against the peanut!

I’ve moved towards cup measurements recently, as I’ve found it a lot easier to make up my own recipes using these quantities – the mathematical-geek part of me loves the ratios involved with baking…

Ingredients.

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup peanut butter – I used crunchy which added a fab texture
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp oil (which I forgot to add, hence mine were a littleeee dry)
  • Jam*

This is such an easy recipe; I love muffins as they really are throwing things into a bowl, a little mix, then bake. Couldn’t be simpler!

 photo 2014-08-03134622_zps1f5c7468.jpgMix your flour, sugar and baking powder together in a large bowl. You should probably sieve them, but I’m lazy and lacking in the sieve department right now…

 photo 2014-08-03134856_zps7d8ee533.jpg photo 2014-08-03135401_zpscc1a6e07.jpgAdd your peanut butter, and mix until it looks bread-crumby. This is probably the hardest part as p-butter is so sticky – I’d recommend using a knife and chopping motions.

 photo 2014-08-03135735_zps72a4188c.jpgMix together your egg, milk and oil in a jug, then pour into the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined.

 photo 2014-08-03140134_zpsc0db9850.jpg photo 2014-08-03140142_zpsed85ee81.jpgHalf fill twelve muffin cases (in your tray, of course!) with the mixture, then top with a small teaspoon of jam. Top with the rest of the batter mix, and smooth over so no jam is visible…or it bubbles up and burns…

 photo 2014-08-03142041_zps1cbd3aa6.jpg photo 2014-08-03142048_zps28b9e2e9.jpgBake at 180C for 15 minutes – they should be risen, golden, and give when pressed. And they should smell delicious too!

 photo 2014-08-03153439_zpsb87ffac8.jpgLet cool completely, as hot jam is not something you want to bite into. Enjoy for afternoon tea, or breakfast; hide them away for yourself, or leave unattended in the office – and enjoy the classic ‘peanut butter and jelly’ flavours in a muffin. Yum…

Have you baked anything recently?

 

Baking: Cinnamon Swirl Banana Muffins

As you all know from this post, I have a touch of Fresher’s Flu. And what does this student do when ill/stressed/annoyed/grumpy/all of the above? She bakes! My house had lots of very brown and mushy bananas to use up, but I wanted a change from the usual Banana & Nutella Muffins (much to some of my housemates disgust!). Thanks to Wahaca and Hula Cafe (a lovely little place in Edinburgh that do the best smoothies – I’ve not blogged about my summer holiday, but maybe I should!) I have a rather strong addiction to cinnamon, so decided to incorporate that. My brainwave was these Cinnamon Swirl Banana Muffins, some with a hidden surprise!

2013-10-07 14.55.12

Next time I personally would double the amount of cinnamon, and possibly use another banana and lose an egg (thrifty tips here guys!). But definitely err on the side of caution when it comes to cinnamon – you can always dust with more after baking, but can’t take it away. I used this recipe as a brief guide, but didn’t really follow it at all – but I’d thought I’d show you as there are some great recipes on the site!

I haven’t costed this recipe exactly – but relying on the fact that you may have cinnamon in your cupboards (it is a useful spice to have, mainly because I like spoons in porridge, but a little does add a nice fruity note to a curry) and some baking powder (if you bake a lot, it really is useful – I ran out and all I could get were stupidly expensive sachets, so it is worth buying a pot) it shouldn’t be too expensive, as there are no special ingredients. The soft brown sugar can always be substituted with generic sugar you throw in your tea if you don’t want to splash out anymore.

 

Anyway, here’s the recipe!

 

Ingredients (Makes 12 big muffins)

2013-10-06 11.39.14

  • 3 bananas
  • 2 eggs (medium)
  • 115-125g butter (about half a pack, I used salted)
  • 225-240g (I have very unreliable scales at the moment!) plain flour
  • 100-120g sugar (I always use the cheapest I can find here)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Optional – a handful of oats, some dark chocolate
  • For the swirl/topping – 50g soft brown sugar (or normal if you prefer), and 1+tsp of cinnamon (to taste)

Method:

  • Preheat your oven to around 180 degrees.
  • Peel your bananas and mash into a bowl.

2013-10-06 11.43.33

  • Add your eggs to the bananas and beat up.
  • Melt your butter, let cool slightly (we don’t want scrambled eggs!) and add the the mixing bowl.
  • Add in your flour, sugar and baking powder, and mix to combine.

2013-10-06 11.53.45

  • If you are using them, throw in your handful of oats. If the mixture gets a bit stiff and sticky cooking, beat in a splash or two of milk.

2013-10-06 11.56.18

  • Make your cinnamon mixture – mix the brown sugar (or alternative) in a bowl with the cinnamon.

2013-10-06 12.00.55

  • Line a muffin tin with paper muffin cases (I bought some really pretty ones from Wilkinson’s recently – and don’t use silicone ones with banana recipes as they tend to stick more).
  • Add a tablespoon of the muffin mixture to each case.
  • Sprinkle over some of the cinnamon sugar.

2013-10-06 12.06.37

  • Add another tablespoon of mixture to the cases (they should be almost full – the actuary in me estimates around 5/6 full).
  • Swirl your mixture slightly with the top of a teaspoon – they won’t swirl as readily as the nutella version, so don’t worry.
  • If you are making some with a chocolatey surprise, push a square of dark chocolate (I used ASDA’s own smartprice version) into the centre.
  • Sprinkle more of the cinnamon sugar onto the top.

2013-10-06 12.13.32

  • Put in the oven, for 20-25 minutes. I turned mine round halfway as the oven in this new house cooks unevenly.
  • Cool before eating, although they are good blasted in the microwave too.

Perfect as a pick-me-up when you realise that going into second year is a big jump in terms of workload (one class test and piece of coursework already done, AND they count towards my actual degree!).

2013-10-06 14.28.51

For more baking recipes, check out my aforementioned banana and nutella oat muffins, and my lemon-and-lime drizzle cupcakes – I’m sure there will be plenty of baking over second year, as it’s the perfect method of yummy procrastination!

Do any of my readers have any recipes they recommend?

Baking: Banana Nutella Oat Muffins

I’ve been looking for recipes I can bake which will do for an on-the-run breakfast, or quick but filling snack, when I go to lectures. My second-term timetable is pretty evil; 9am starts four days out of five, and 5pm finishes most days. This means making things ahead is a must for me (my freezer is currently stuffed full of meals – another blog post!). Now, last week I bought some bananas, thinking I would eat them. I always get cravings for bananas, but never eat them. I tend to want them at ridiculous times (who gets up at 3am just to have a banana?!) and so they just go overripe. As these ones did. However, I’m now a student. I can’t afford to throw away food. I quickly went through what was in my cupboards, did a bit of googling, and decided to adapt The Londoner’s recipe (found here) to make them a bit more substantial. Basically I made it, threw in some oats, and reduced the nutella slightly. Here’s what I did, and what I ended up with:

Banana Nutella Oaty Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 230g flour (I used plain, and added 3-4 teaspoons of baking powder and a splash of milk)
  • 150g sugar (I’d reduced this down next time, probably to 120g, maybe 100g)
  • 2 tablespoons porridge oats (could add more – I will be)
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 115g melted butter (I used salted)
  • 2 eggs (I used medium sized ones)
  • 2 tablespoons of nutella

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C
  2. Peel, break up and then mash the bananas straight into your mixing bowl. Don’t worry too much about lumps.
  3. Melt the butter, and add to the bananas. Let it cool for a bit if its a little warm, or you’ll scramble the eggs.
  4. Break the eggs, beat lightly and add to the bowl. Mix everything together briefly.
  5. Add the flour (and baking powder if you’re using plain flour) and sugar, and mix until everything is just combined. It will look a bit like sick – don’t worry, it definitely shouldn’t be smooth! 
  6. Mix in the porridge oats – it will look even more like sick now!
  7. Prep a muffin tin by putting in paper cases. You could use the posh silicon ones, but that’s too much washing up for me!
  8. Add one tablespoon of the mixture to each case.
  9. Melt down your nutella slightly. Add a bit (around a teaspoon, definitely a good dollop) to each case.
  10. Top the nutella with around another tablespoon of the muffin mixture.
  11. Get a teaspoon and turn it upside down, and use the handle to swirl the muffins, making a marbled pattern with the batter and the nutella.
  12. Put the tray in the oven, cook for just over 20 minutes (mine took 22).
  13. Bowl licking time – the nutella one can’t just be washed of course, needs to be as clean as possible beforehand! 
  14. Let cool until you can handle them, eat warm if possible. 

 

I thought these were really good. I would maybe want them more substantial. Next time I will reduce the sugar, add at least double the amount of oats (and probably a little more baking powder), and maybe add some chopped nuts. There’s another version of this recipe which uses no flour and no butter (but does add low fat yoghurt) which I fancy trying, but that means digging my blender out of the cupboard. This recipe took about 15 minutes to mix up (rushing up and downstairs locating ingredients), and then 22 minutes to cool, and comes in at a reasonable 205 calories per muffin (the mix made 14 muffins). Alongside an apple, I reckon they could be a decent breakfast for days I wake up too late to make porridge. They’re definitely a good snack for a long weekend-day of maths!

These are amazingly quick to make, and a great fuel for the mind – I’ve made them lots during the exam term as they’re great to make when you need a break, and great to eat when you need cheering up!