When I saw that Dan Lepard's column in the Guardian a few weeks ago was all about baking with treacle I quickly investigated further - I love treacle and baking with it. So far from being a slightly 'weird' ingredient as Dan proposes, I was keen to see what he was suggesting we could use this gorgeously sticky substance for now. Both recipes appealed, but the Treacle and Caraway Apple muffins sounded amazing. Unfortunately I discovered fairly recently that I'm not really a fan of the flavour of caraway in baked goods. Perhaps it's something I'll come to appreciate more (as I get older, or should that be wiser?) but at the moment, caraway is no-go. Easy enough to leave out though. I also had a glut of greengages and decided to use those instead of the specified apples - there will be time enough for apples later in the autumn and I wanted to make the most of the last of the seasonal fruit available now. I changed the proportion of flours too, and have noted my changes here.
Treacle and Greengage Muscovado Muffins
Ingredients (for method, follow the link highlighted in the text above to Dan's recipe in the Guardian)
100g butter, melted
40g sunflower oil
50g black treacle
175g light muscovado sugar
2tsp vanilla extract
200g plain flour
100g wholemeal spelt flour
2tsp baking powder
around 6 small(ish) greengages, chopped into about 8 each
Oats to scatter
Since the recipe specifies scattering the muffins with flaked almonds before baking I racked my brains for a suitable alternative and came up with oats - not quite as crunchy (in fact not nearly as crunchy) but provided a little visual appeal to the finished article and a bit of a contrast of textures. I think next time I'd be a little more generous with the oats. I also made 18 muffins out of this mixture, which was perfect for me - 12 would have made very large muffins for my requirements.
These were immensely popular at work, and rightly so. The combination of flavours - the treacle, vanilla and then the soft delicate plum were great together. They were beautifully moist and the greengages worked superbly in place of apples, becoming deliciously soft and squashy. I'm sure that any soft plum would work well (although I'm not sure about those ones that are bullet hard and available year round). The treacle flavour was definitely there, adding depth and background, but if you're not a treacle fan, it wasn't overwhelming. I gave my version of the recipe to an interested colleague. I hope she enjoys them as much as the rest of us did. I'll definitely make these again and would recommend you make them too!