Orange and Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin Muffins

For some reason I’ve ended up with an excess of pumpkin and sweet potato. I ordered them online and only saw how bloody huge they were when they arrived. My kids don’t even like pumpkin. Never mind. So far I’ve roasted the pumpkin and worked it into a Pumpkin & Tomato soup, Pumpkin Pancakes, Roast Pumpkin for salads and now Orange and Pumpkin Muffins. (All of these things were happily eaten by the kids, except the salad) These recipes all use lovely fresh roasted pumpkin, not ‘a can of pumpkin puree’. I got a Japanese Pumpkin, cut it into slices and roasted it with the skin on. You can eat the skin, but for these I just cut the skin off when it had cooled down.

This recipe is fairly adhoc (surprise surprise) and delivers beautiful, soft, tasty muffins. They are not enormous cakey ones, nor are they those dense dry abominations that you find in the healthy cafes. These are pretty low sugar, and use half flour, half almond meal which gives them a nice texture. Slightly spiced with orange, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and vanilla, these pumpkin muffins are great for autumn days with black coffee, but also a glass of milk. This recipe is too easy and perfect if you’re looking for some nice healthy treats for the kids. (not freak healthy, just regular, decent healthy)

Ingredients:

  • 115g plain flour
  • 115g almond meal
  • 50g sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp of nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp of ground ginger
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 300g fresh roasted pumpkin ( I used Japanese Pumpkin, roasted with a bit of coconut oil until soft but not mushy)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 orange rind finely grated

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 190C.
  2. In a large bowl mix the flour, almond meal, baking powder sugar, salt & spices until well combined. Add orange rind to the bowl.
  3. In a jug combine the milk, eggs, vanilla and pumpkin and puree with a handblender until nice and smooth.
  4. Pour the puree and the coconut oil into the dry ingredients and fold to combine.
  5. Scoop spoonfuls of mixture into muffin tins lined with paper cases and bake for 15- 20 mins until toasty on top and a skewer comes out clean.

Tiny Vanilla Cupcakes

Tiny Vanilla Cupcakes

Tiny birthday cupcakes for tiny preschool friends to share. Kids seem to go mental for this kind of thing. A proper little treat. (It’s a birthday – there will be cake with flour and butter and sugar.)

The recipe for these came from Sweetapolita – who’s blog I discovered a few years ago – it’s a happy explosion of pastels and sprinkles and has inspired a number of birthday cakes for my little people.

I’ve always just made hand mixed, one bowl style cakes. They’ve always been nice, homely. I’ve never been a big fan of icing, especially sugary colourful icing. Too sickly, and sometimes strangely artificial. (Apart from when I was a small child I’d peel off and eat that thick layer of pink or chocolate or lemon icing from Mr Kipling cupcakes, and chuck the cake).

But when I saw those recipes for the mega layer cakes and whipped icing – I borrowed a mixer and followed the detailed instructions. My eyes widened when I found the consistency of the cake mix before it went into the pan – amazing – a great whipped, fluffy, billowing cloud of cake mix, as if made by The Care Bears. This was followed by excitement and intense anticipation – because you know the cake is going to be great if the mixture is that good. The excessive whipping applies to the icing too, and I’ve never known icing like it. I’m now a total convert and am considering having more children to bake birthday cakes for.

Tiny Vanilla Cupcakes

Makes about 60 tiny cupcakes.

Recipe only slightly adapted from Sweetapolita, which was adapted from Magnolia Bakery.

For the cupcakes:
  • 2 – 3/4 cups (350 g) plain flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 227 g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups (400 g) white sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (237 ml) milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla paste
For the icing:
  • 345 g unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
  • 5 cups (625 g) icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) milk
  • 2 teaspoons (10 mL) pure vanilla paste
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

For the cupcakes:
    1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line muffin tray with paper liners.
    2. In a bowl, combine the flour and baking powder very well and set aside.
    3. In the bowl of an electric mixer cream the butter on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each one.
    4. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended.
    5. Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners and bake until tops turn golden brown and chopstick inserted into centre comes out just clean (about 15 minutes)
    6. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool completely before icing.
For the icing:
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer whip butter until very pale & creamy. (about 5 minutes on medium speed)
  2. Add remaining ingredients and mix on low for 1 minute, then on medium for another 5 minutes, until very light, creamy, and fluffy.
  3. Add a drop of food colour, and mix until blended.
  4. Ice the cooled cupcakes however you damn like

Chocolate Chip Blondies

Chocolate Chip Blondies

These are because I was bored with muffins and couldn’t be bothered to make cookies. I needed something for a picnic for a video shoot with children & parents. Melt, mix, squash in the pan, bake, cool, cut, pack. Rush out the door. leave picnic behind in the driveway after packing everything else. Call friend to pick it up.

These are not too sweet or sticky because I halved the sugar.

Chocolate Chip Blondies Recipe
Adapted from Butter Baking (who adapted it from Two Peas and Their Pod, and believes the recipe seems to come from Baking Illustrated…this is getting silly)

Ingredients:
  • 165g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup raw sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1.5 cups plain flour 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes
Instructions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees & grease a pan and line with baking paper.
  2. Beat the butter, sugar & molasses together until smooth. Add the eggs & mix well.
  3. Add the flour and mix until just combined. Don’t over mix. Add the chocolate chips and mix.
  4. Squash into the pan evenly. Sprinkle with salt. Bake for around 25 minutes, until golden.
  5. Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares.

 

Cherry Peach Pancakes w Roasted Hazelnuts & Vanilla Whipped Cream

Cherry Peach Pancakes
If I was going to ever use the word ‘Bonza’ in conversation, I think I would use it to describe the fruit that’s about in these first stormy humid days of Sydney summer. I can hardly contain myself – I feel like I’ve been projected into some sort of agricultural utopia but without me having to do any toiling, a tropical Arcadian paradise.

Cherries so lustrous and deep I suddenly feel like taking up oil painting just to depict them. Cases of mangos whose waft reminds you it’s time to cruise about wearing only new boardies, a silly hat and a beer.

Peaches smelling like roses, so juicy and soft they seem to represent the pure, abstract essence of peach. Bananas are ripe, firm, sticky and sweet, they make every other banana you’ve eaten this year (except for in far North Queensland) seem starchy and unpleasant.

I’m in awe.

You could just sit outside and enjoy the fresh fruit, maybe with a bowl of good quality plain yogurt mixed with a little bit of vanilla bean paste.

Or if you fancy something a bit more (like a lot more) luxurious you can make some ordinary pancakes incredible by serving them with some pure cream whipped thick with a little vanilla bean paste, fresh peaches, cherries and roasted hazelnuts, top with a little maple syrup.  I think its necessary to drink coffee with this. Theres something about the cherry, vanilla cream, crunchy roasted hazelnuts and strong cup of coffee that makes me swoon.

 

Cinnamon Vanilla Quinoa Pancakes

Cinnamon Vanilla Quinoa Pancakes

I made these awesome gluten free Cinnamon Vanilla Quinoa Pancakes with quinoa flour for my mum.

Gluten is a great friend of mine, but considering all the bread and pasta and baked things we eat, I think it’s good to use a variety of flours, so that it’s not just wheat all the time.

These pancakes have a warm, nutty flavour. The cinnamon and vanilla help balance that quinoa taste, and they are totally delicious just warm, even with nothing on them at all.

Cinnamon Vanilla Quinoa Pancakes Recipe

Adapted from Rachel Ray. I used butter instead of oil, and also used a little bit more baking powder, vanilla & cinnamon.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups quinoa flour
  • 2 tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 2.5 tsp. baking powder
  • 3 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 50g melted butter, plus more for cooking
  • 1.5 tsp. vanilla paste
  • 2 eggs

Instructions:

  1. Heat a large frying pan over medium heat
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together
  3. In a separate bowl mix all the wet ingredients together
  4. Add the wet to the dry and mix to combine
  5. Add a little butter to your hot pan and swirl around
  6. Add spoonfuls of the batter to the pan and cook for a few minutes, flip when bubbles appear over the surface and cook a further couple of mins.
  7. Eat warm