Chock-Full Muffins

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The thing I like best about muffins is that, while they’re pretty picky about how you mix them, there is no exact science as to what you mix into them.  This means that every time I make a batch, I try my hardest to cram everything I can into each one.  How many things?  All the things.

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Let’s DO this.  Preheat your oven to 400°F and grease a muffin tin or line it with paper liners.  Greasing might actually work better in this situation, as I found the baked muffins were hesitant to come out of their liners.

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In a bowl, whisk together 2 cups all purpose flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder,  and 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg.

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Then plop in 1/2 cup bran and 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut and stir that as well.

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Melt about 1/2 cup butter and add it to a bowl with 2 large eggs, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup yogurt (your choice), 2 teaspoons vanilla, and 2/3 cup brown sugar and give that a stir.

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I actually used coconut sugar, because I had it on hand.  I like it because it’s not super sweet.

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Grab a few handfuls of dried fruit and nuts, if you’d like, about 1 1/2 cups.  Here we have dried versions of cranberries, cherries, blueberries, grapes (raisins, duh), and apricots.

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Now here’s the trick with muffins: don’t mix the wet with the dry until you’re ready to plop the batter in your baking tin.

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Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and stir until just barely combined.  Now you can add in your fruit and stir just until it’s evenly distributed throughout.

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Drop the batter into your muffin tins.  I ended up completely overflowing mine because these puppies don’t expand too much.

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Bake for about 17 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre muffin comes out clean, and let cool for a few minutes.

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So good with butter!

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Creamy Coconut Lime Cupcakes

This is a recipe that I made for the Great Wedding Cupcake Experiment of 2009.  I have recently reinstated a “cupcake collective” at the office and I vowed to bring back this crowd-pleaser as my inaugural bake.

Seriously, this cupcake got so much hype when I brought it in the first time.  It didn’t make the final cut for the wedding but it’s the one everyone remembers with fondness.  I also remember it as being one of the few recipes I made where everything turned out exactly as it was supposed to, which is rare when you’re me.

These pale babies come from page 26 of Susannah Blake’s Cupcake Heaven, and I always double my recipes.  In my notes I took from last time, I found that the cupcakes were best if not allowed to brown, and that I used extra ingredients in the frosting, which was originally too cream-cheesy for my taste.  But that’s up to you.

Preheat your oven to 350°F.  Line a muffin pan with baking cups (the amounts are for the single version of the recipe, but the photos show me tripling).

Beat together 6 tablespoons room temperature butter, 2 tablespoons coconut cream, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar in a bowl.  The mixture should be pale and fluffy.

Beat in 2 eggs, one a time.

Sift in 3/4 cup self-rising flour (or add 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder to 1 cup regular flour for the correct proportion and reduce accordingly) together with 1 teaspoon baking powder.  Fold that in.

Add in 3 tablespoons dried shredded coconut (unsweetened or sweetened, that’s your choice) as well as the grated zest of one lime and stir it in well.

Finally, stir in 2 tablespoons milk.

Use a table spoon to spoon the mixture into the cups, and bake for pretty much exactly 17 minutes until risen and golden.  A toothpick inserted in the centre will come out clean.

Flip them out onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting, beat together 5 oz cream cheese (5/8 of a cup if you care, which is slightly over half of one of those 250g packages), 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar (icing sugar for the neophytes), and 2 teaspoons lime juice in a bowl.  As I mentioned above, I ended up adding extra sugar and extra lime juice, but that’s my own preference.

Swirl the frosting on top of the cupcakes, then sprinkle with shredded coconut or coconut shavings in a thick layer.

EAT!