Food has amazing power. Not only does it provide sustenance, bring people together and offer comfort, it can also win people over. I don't like to use bribery, but if it's in good fun, I admit to using food to strike deals with people. And so it is that I made these muffins from the Nigella Lawson book 'Kitchen' when I desperately needed to use a meeting room at a time another colleague had already booked it. Cooking from her recipes always makes me feel like a domestic goddess in training and I chuckle to myself at the vision of her sneaking into the fridge for a midnight snack.
I didn't have a few of the ingredients for these muffins so I made a few adaptations to the recipe. I used slivered almonds in place of unblanched ones and I didn't even have enough of these so I added some white chocolate bits for something different. Greek yoghurt was substituted for runny, natural yoghurt and plain flour was used in place of spelt flour at Nigella's suggestion. Yes, we're on first name basis. My colleague later declared these muffins the best he'd ever eaten so everyone was happy that day. Almost seemed pleased to relinquish the meeting room!
Apple and Cinnamon Muffins: Adapted from Nigella Lawson's Kitchen
2 eating apples (peeled and cored then diced into 1cm pieces approx)
250g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
125g brown sugar plus 4 teaspoons for the topping
60ml Greek yogurt
125 ml flavourless vegetable oil (I used canola)
50g slivered almonds
50g white chocolate (I used small buds)
Preheat oven to 200C and line a muffin tin with paper cases.
- Measure the flour, baking powder and 1 teaspoon of the ground cinnamon into a bowl. Add half the almonds and half the chocolate. To make the topping, put the other half of the almonds and chocolate into a small bowl with the second teaspoon of cinnamon and the four extra teaspoons of sugar.
- Whisk together the 125g brown sugar, the honey, yoghurt, oil and eggs in another bowl or jug.
- fold the wet ingredients into the dry. Add the chopped apple, stirring to combine but don't overmix. Nigella says a lumpy batter makes for a lighter muffin.
- Spoon the bumpy batter into the muffin cases, then spinkle the topping mixture over them.
- Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven or until they are risen and golden. Let stand in the tray for 5 minutes before removing carefully and cooling on a wire rack.