Hello my fellow foodies!
This month I would like to share with you a recipe for Christmas Muffins. They have all the flavours of Christmas cake yet take a fraction of the time to make, and if I am honest, they seem to be welcomed at the tea table as soon as earliest hints of Autumn come upon us. Perhaps it’s the promise of all that is to look forward to as we move through to winter.
200g plain flour *
50g ground almonds *
1tsp baking powder *
1tsp bicarbonate of soda *
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon *
Finely grated zest of one orange *
100g caster sugar *
25g pistachios chopped *
50g toasted flaked almonds *
25g sultanas *
50g dried sour cherries *
50g dried cranberries *
50g dried, chopped apricots*
4 tbsp brandy (optional)
2 eggs from happy, healthy free running hens
100g melted butter
125ml full fat natural yoghurt
1/2 tsp almond extract
2tbls icing sugar*
Your choice of sprinkles – I chose mini gold icing stars for that ‘festive feeling!’
If you are going to use the brandy it should be used to soak the dried fruit overnight. If so, pop all the dried fruit in a bowl and pour over the brandy, cover with a clean tea towel and allow to soak at room temperature over approximately a 24-hour period – stirring occasionally. If you choose not to use the brandy begin at the next step.
Divide the marzipan into 12 equal sized portions, then roll each portion into a ball and put aside for later. Next, into a large bowl combine all the ingredients marked with a ‘*’.
In a separate bowl beat the eggs, then mix in the melted butter, yogurt and almond extract. Quickly add this to the first bowl and mix the ingredients together until they are all incorporated but take care not to over mix.
Now half fill 12 deep muffin paper cases with the mixture and into each lightly press one ball of Marzipan then top with the remaining muffin mix and pop into the oven at 220° C for five minutes then turn down the temperature to 180° and cook for a further 15 mins until risen and golden brown.
Allow to cool before removing from the tray. When the muffins are completely cold, pop the icing sugar into a cup or small bowl and add water drop by drop and then stir until you have a consistency that will drizzle and holds its shape. At this point you may choose to add flavour to your icing by adding something such as almond or lemon.
Then spoon, pour, splatter (whatever is your preferred method!) the icing over the muffins and throw on your chosen sprinkles while the icing is still wet as this will help to stick them in place.
All that is left to do now is to enjoy the muffins with good company and glass of mulled wine!
Until next time dear reader…