Monday 18 October 2010

Bran/Wholemeal Spelt Muffins

These are for J. Two years ago, we were lucky enough to go to Las Vegas for a relative's wedding (very good by all accounts although I wasn't able to go - after travelling all that way I had the most horrendous cold and stayed in bed all day the day of the wedding - typical! and I hear that the happy couple are regrettably not so happy anymore....) and made a longer holiday of it. When we were there we decided to ignore the all you can eat for $10 breakfast buffets (neither of us is massive breakfast eaters and wouldn't have got our money's worth) in favour of a yummy carbohydrate fest in the form of muffins, scones or bagels from one of the outlets in the Caesar's Palace Forum shops. Even just writing this brings back all the lovely memories of the holiday - it was just so hot there - unseasonably hot even for Vegas I believe, but coming from somewhere where mid 20's Centigrade is considered a hot day, hitting 37C was just unbelievable!!! One of my favourite memories is walking down the Strip in the middle of the day (madness in itself) and spotting the entrance to one of the air conditioned (naturally!) casinos. With barely a glance at each other J and I both made a beeline for the entranceway just so that we could stand in the draught of the cool air being pumped out. While we were standing there a mother and her young daughter did just the same - it turned out they were from Alaska and not used to the heat either!

Gratuitous holiday pic from the bottom of the Grand Canyon

Anyway, apparently it isn't just me feeling nostalgic about the holiday (well, it is just over two years ago now, and after while I tend to think about the holidays I've enjoyed....) because J kept mentioning the bran muffins she enjoyed so much for breakfast in a wistful manner. So I resolved to try and recreate the flavours she enjoyed so much. To do this I looked at a number of different muffin recipes and then basically created my own based on all of them, adding dried fruit, bran but only a very little spice because those were the flavours J remembered about the muffins. She has since admitted that she can't really remember the flavours very well, so I'm on a hiding to nothing trying to recreate them accurately, but I can still hope for a good flavour!

The other defining feature of these muffins is their size. Not your standard muffin cup, but larger (well, larger is almost always better isn't it!). While in Las Vegas I discovered the most amazing kitchen shop - probably well know to all of you in the US - Sur La Table. I had such a lovely time browsing there and one of my (many) purchases was this jumbo muffin tin:

Just the job for these bran muffins. I can't obtain liners for this size of tin very easily in the UK, so I decided that baking parchment would do instead, and this worked admirably, whilst looking pleasingly rustic!

Bran/Wholemeal Spelt Muffins
300g wholemeal spelt flour
1 generous tsp baking powder
120g dark muscovado sugar
1/2tsp mixed spice
1/2tsp (scant) bicarbonate soda
150g fat free yogurt*
50ml milk*
80ml sunflower/olive oil
2 eggs
140g raisins
*You could use 200ml buttermilk if that's more convenient.

- Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6. Grease and line a tin with 6 jumbo or 12 standard muffin holes.
- Sift flour into a large bowl, adding the bran back to the flour. Crumble in the sugar to get rid of any lumps, add the baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and mixed spice, mix well to combine.
- Beat the eggs in a jug and then add the milk, yogurt and oil. Mix well to combine.
- Pour the liquids into the dry mix and mix briefly to combine, adding the raisins during the last few strokes. Lumps are fine - good even, unmixed flour less so - try to avoid unmixed flour without overmixing. Tricky!
- Pour/spoon mixture into the holes - they should be almost full to the brim.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes for jumbo muffins (and guessing 25-30 minutes for normal sized muffins).
- Turn onto a wire rack and allow to cool slightly.

I imagine these would be truly delicious dripping with melted butter whilst still warm from the oven, but T has just informed me that they're really excellent cold out of the tin too. I would say to freeze any not eaten on the day of making - muffins don't tend to keep very well.

So the big question is.... did J like them? Well, she tells me so, which makes me a very happy bunny (and makes her happy too I guess!). I think she must like them because I gave her the recipe and she's already recreated them once so they have the seal of approval.

Further gratuitous holiday pic - this is the Bellagio and I could seriously have spent all night watching the fountains in front of the hotel - they perform to pieces of music and it's absolutely amazing!


Brownieville Girl said...

Think I'll have to try this recipe, sounds wonderful.

Pity you missed the wedding :-(

Chele said...

Lol - your post has made me smile! Love the story and a great recipe to boot!

Joanna said...

Great post C! I enjoyed reading it and the Vegas story. That's a huge muffin tin :) I love the paper liners you have made, I've seen similar in some very chi chi cafés !

Unknown said...

I like your story but I am really sorry for the wedding too..
Lovely blog!
Have a nice day


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