Two weeks ago, I started a 42 weeks long sugar-strike: no added sugar or sweets of any kind until the 26th of February. I don’t want to bother you with the details and the “whys” and the “hows” of this decision, but one thing I was a bit worried taking this step was my blog. Not being able to taste and try and eat what I make will be surely a big challenge, but then I thought: well, OK, baking is more like Science, so the really important thing is not to taste but to follow the recipe. And in all truth, if I want to develop something new or make my own adaptations and try new things there will always be a number of people willing to make the “sacrifice” of tasting my concoctions on my behalf, my husband, for example, has already signed up very happily.
But most of all this reminded me of the first reason why I love baking so much, which is not stuffing my face with what I make (that’s of course the second one J
🙂 ), but producing something really delicious that other people can enjoy. So I decided to start this new “chapter” with a bake that will definitely end up in someone else hands and mouths, but that is also one of my all-time favourite. I love mini-muffins because they are so cute in their small size and you can have more than one so if, like in this case, you have more than one flavour you can try them all and don’t feel bad about. They also bake very fast which is an added bonus for impatient bakers like me and, for the same reason, they are also more difficult to mess up, just make sure you don’t go too far away from the oven when they are in because even wo minutes can be too many. My two versions today feature lemon and chocolate, the two flavours and ingredients that I love the most in sweets; the chocolate ones also have some apricot jam and orange marmalade to make them even more special, but also because I have now to get rid of all the sweets that nobody else in my family eats and that are still in my cupboard! You can use the basic recipe and add the flavouring ingredients that you prefer. Just make sure you balance dry, wet and fatty ingredients.
These mini-muffins are going as a “Thank you” to the six people that in the last eight months have given me the biggest gift of them all: the possibility to leave my child, day in day out, in their own capable hands with the confidence that she is cared for and looked after as well as I would; so I really hope that they will be appreciated. And yes, if you are wondering I will keep baking sweets but of course the next 40 weeks will bring also a whole lot more of savoury baking because, let’s be honest, baking as a gift is great but also stuffing his/her own face every now and then is important :).
Ingredients (for one batch of Lemon curd or Chocolate muffins)
Flour (350 for the lemon curd ones or 275 for the chocolate ones)
Melted butter 160gr
Caster sugar 300gr
Cocoa powder 75gr
The juice of 2 lemons
Milk chocolate roughly chopped 250gr
Lemon curd/orange marmalade/apricot jam to taste
Baking powder 2.5 tsp
Salt a generous pinch
Put all the dry ingredients (flour sugar baking powder, + or – cocoa powder depending on which of the two flavours you are making) in a mixing bowl and stir gently with a spoon. Combine all the wet ingredients (Eggs, milk, yogurt, melted butter, + or – the lemon juice depending on which flavouryou are making) in a jug a mix thoroughly.
Incorporate the wet ingredients with the dry ones to get a smooth batter. For the chocolate ones add the milk chocolate roughly chopped.
Fill the mini-muffin case to 1 third add 1 spoon of lemon curd to the lemon ones and 1 spoon of orange marmalade or apricot jam to the chocolate ones and cover with more batter to reach about 2/3 of the mini muffin case.
Bake at 180 for 10’-15’ (if you are not sure whether they are cooked check by pinching hem with a stick the stick should come out clean), place on a cooling rack until they have reached the room temperature.