Peanut butter banana muffins with salted caramel filling

Peanut butter banana muffins with salted caramel filling

It’s funny how tastes change. When I was younger, I never really considered myself to be a picky eater, but looking back now I can see that actually, I must have been a bit of a pain for my dad to feed!

The list of vegetables I liked was a short one – broccoli was my favourite, I liked peppers, and would eat cabbage with a roast at a push, but that was kind of it. ‘Traditional’ British veg like carrots, peas, green beans and parsnips were despised, and more ‘exotic’ vegetables like squash, aubergine, kale and sweet potatoes never made an appearance in my house.

I hated all beans (probably because everyone seems to think a child’s meal isn’t complete without baked beans sloshed on all over it, and as far as I’m concerned the sauce baked beans comes in is the work of the devil), pulses were never on the menu, and to be honest if I had been a vegetarian then I think I would have been a severely under-nourished one!

Now, near enough any vegetable you put in front of me I will eat, I love using beans in everything from chilli to burgers, and there’s nothing I love more than experimenting with new ingredients.

My feelings when it comes to sweet foods are kind of similar and I’m definitely branching out with flavours I used to hate. I’ve always found caramel too sickly sweet to really enjoy, but the discovery of salted caramel has completely changed my mind – now I can’t get enough of it.

I never used to understand why anyone liked peanut butter, but this could well be because I never had it paired with chocolate or banana and, although I still wouldn’t want it in a sandwich, I love using it in baking.

Anyway, the point of this all is that peanut butter, banana and caramel is most definitely not a combination I would have been keen to try a few years ago, but now I can’t think of three better friends to be baked into a muffin.

I needed to bake something fairly quick and simple using ingredients I had on hand, so I loosely based these on a recipe for peanut butter banana cupcakes but made a simple glaze instead of fancy icing, and made the caramel filling from some Cadbury’s eclairs leftover from a tin of Miniature Heroes.

I actually didn’t get to eat one of the finished muffins, as by the time I returned from a weekend away the pony had devoured them, but I did sample each of the components as I was making them and I’m pretty confident it’s a winning recipe – I’ll just have to make another batch to prove it…

Peanut butter banana muffins with salted caramel filling (loosely adapted from Perfect Cupcakes, Cookies and Muffins)

Makes 6

For the muffins:

  • 90g light brown sugar
  • 70g peanut butter
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 medium banana (90g), mashed
  • 90g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder

For the filling:

  • 10 individual Cadbury’s eclairs, or other caramel sweet (about 100g at a guess)
  • 1-2 tbsp milk
  • sea salt flakes to taste

For the glaze:

  • 25g peanut butter
  • 20g icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp milk

Beat the peanut butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, then add in the egg and mashed banana and beat until well combined. Sift in the flour and baking powder and fold in lightly, then dive the mixture between 6 medium muffin cases. Bake at 200 degrees for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 170 and bake for a further 15 minutes, or until the muffins are risen and golden, and a skewer comes out clean.

When cool, use an apple corer to cut the tops out of each muffin. Melt the caramels with the milk, stirring until smooth, then add in a pinch of sea salt flakes – taste and add extra if you like. Spoon the caramel into the centres of the muffins, then replace the tops you took out.

Make the glaze by heating the peanut butter and icing sugar in the microwave, then adding the milk slowly until it reaches a pourable consistency. Pour and spread over the tops of the muffins – if it drips down the side I think it looks pretty, so don’t worry about being too neat!

These are especially good served warm as the caramel is extra gooey. Enjoy!

Nutella-filled cinnamon sugar muffins

Nutella-filled cinnamon sugar muffins

I absolutely adore cinnamon (despite spending the first 22 years or so of my life hating it) so when Choclette chose it as this month’s We Should Cocoa challenge ingredient it should have been easy for me to think of things to bake.

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In a way it was, I had plenty of ideas, but things have been a bit manic in my kitchen recently, what with making Christmas gifts, food for parties and catering to the pony’s rather specific needs (quick to eat breakfasts and bars he can take to work), so finding a way of squeezing cinnamon in was actually harder than I expected.

Attempt one was cinnamon chocolate shortbread, which was a disaster, but attempt two, these Nutella-filled cinnamon sugar muffins, was a resounding success.

I’m aware my last post also featured both muffins and Nutella, but who cares because it’s a great combination.

The Nutella is baked into the centre, so when you eat one warm you get a lovely melty surprise when you bit into it, and the tops are brushed with melted butter and rolled in cinnamon sugar which make them a lot like cinnamon sugar doughnuts – basically, finger-lickingly irresistible.

Even the pony, despite claiming not to like cinnamon, has been happily having two a day for breakfast, which I put down to Nutella’s having the baking equivalent of the Midas touch – it just makes everything into food gold!

Nutella-filled cinnamon sugar muffins (recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction)

  • 70g butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)
  • 125ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 180g plain flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch nutmeg
  • pinch salt
  • 8 tsp Nutella (about 50g)

For the topping:

  • 25g butter, melted
  • 35g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add in the egg and vanilla followed by the milk, beating until you have a smooth, fairly liquid batter. Sift together the remaining dry ingredients, then fold into the batter gently until no white flour bits remain.

Butter and flour 8 holes of a muffin tray, then drop a good tablespoon of cake batter into each. Place a teaspoon of Nutella in the centre of each muffin, then finish by dividing the remaining cake batter between the cops, completely covering the Nutella. Bake at 200 degrees for 5 minutes, then drop down to 170 degrees and cook for a further 15-20 minutes, or until the muffins are well risen, golden and springy to the touch.

Transfer to a wire rack as son as they’re cool enough to handle – it’s easier to get them out of the tin that way. Brush the tops with melted butter, then mix the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and roll the muffin tops in it to coat. Eat while warm, or leave to cool and pop in the microwave for a few seconds before serving.

Banana, Nutella and hazelnut chocolate chip muffins

Banana, Nutella and hazelnut chocolate chip muffins

Is there any better pairing than bananas and Nutella? If these muffins are anything to go by, definitely not!

Ages ago I made Nutella swirled vanilla muffins, and remember thinking at the time they would work well as banana muffins, then when I saw these over at Sweet Pea’s Kitchen I knew it had to be done.

I upped the chocolate and hazelnut flavour by adding chunks of hazelnut milk chocolate to the batter, which worked well as it meant it wasn’t just the muffin tops that had the delicious mix of flavours.

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The swirling on top isn’t quite as pretty as I would have liked, mainly because it’s so cold at the minute that my jar of Nutella had set solid – yet another reason to despise winter…

They were still super tasty though, and a must-make for anyone who loves pairing banana and Nutella as much as I do.

Banana, Nutella and hazelnut chocolate chip muffins (adapted from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen)

Makes 6 muffins

  • 120g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 2 medium over-ripe bananas, mashed
  • 60ml (4 tbsp) natural yoghurt
  • 1 medium egg
  • 40g butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 50g hazelnut chocolate, chopped (lidl do one with the hazelnuts chopped fairly small which is what I used)
  • 6 tsp Nutella

Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the banana, yoghurt, butter and vanilla, then pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir to combine. Fold in the chopped hazelnut chocolate then divide the mixture between 6 muffin cases.

Drop a teaspoon of Nutella on top of each muffin, then use a skewer to swirl it into the batter. Bake at 190 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until risen, golden, and smelling incredible. Leave to cool for 5 minutes before removing from the tin to cool on a wire rack.

Summer berry white chocolate muffins

Is it just me, or is shopping for a newborn baby really hard?

I don’t have any younger family members and have always been pretty awful around children, so when it came to visiting my friends and their new baby for the first time I was a little daunted.

The advice other people gave me didn’t help either – don’t get toys, they’ll have loads already, don’t get newborn clothes, get 3/6/9 months clothes, but think about what time of year it will be when they get that old, etc etc…

Luckily, deciding what baked goods to take wasn’t anywhere near so tricky.

These muffins are quick and easy to make, transport well, suit both fruit and chocolate lovers, easy to eat while rushing around looking after baby and are nice and summery too – perfect!

The muffins went down well, and the baby gift I eventually decided on (tiger, lion, crocodile and zebra socks) was also ok, I think – at least socks can never be out of season…

Summer berry and white chocolate muffins (for baby Ethan!) (adapted from these muffins)

Makes 7 muffins (6 for the gift box, 1 for testing!)

  • 140g plain flour
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 100g frozen mixed summer berries (any large ones chopped)
  • 100g white chocolate, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 125ml milk
  • 3tbsp sunflower oil

Combine the flour, baking power and caster sugar in a mixing bowl. Whisk together the egg, milk and sunflower oil then pour into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Fold until the mixture is just combined, then stir in the berries and 75g of the chocolate. Divide between 7 muffin cases, then sprinkle the remaining chocolate on top. Bake at 200 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until risen and golden and a skewer comes out clean.

Triple chocolate muffins for National Chocolate Week

I love ‘weeks’. Pretty much every week now has a theme, but it seems like the autumn is dominated by baking – Cupcake Week, Cake Week, Baking Week, and this week, Chocolate Week.

I think most people (if they’re anything like me and the pony) express their love for chocolate all year round, but it’s nice to have an extra excuse to eat more.

These muffins are chocolatey baking at it’s best – chocolate, with more chocolate, and little bit more chocolate for good luck. Moist chocolate sponge, milk chocolate chips, and white chocolate chips, all in a bite sized (sort of!) package.

I gave half of these to my aunt and uncle as a gift, and found this great cheap and cheerful cupcake box at the supermarket to help them survive a 3 hour car journey – it worked!

I didn’t actually get to eat any of these, but I’ve been assured they were good, so I may have to try them again some time!

Triple chocolate muffins (recipe from 1001 Cupcakes, Cookies and Other Tempting Treats):

Makes 12

  • 250g plain flour
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 85g light muscovado sugar
  • 100g milk chocolate chunks
  • 100g white chocolate chunks
  • 85g melted mutter
  • 300ml low fat fromage frais
  • 2 eggs

Line a 12 hole muffin tin with papers cases. Sieve the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cocoa powder into a large mixing bowl then stir in the sugar and chocolate chunks.

In another bowl mix together the eggs, melted butter and fromage frais. Add this liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.

Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases and divide the mixture between them. Bake at 200 degrees for about 20 minutes, until risen and a skewer comes out clean.

Further adventures in apricot and white chocolate…

 

Following making my apricot and white chocolate cookies for the July We Should Cocoa challenge, I had leftovers of both key ingredients, so I decided to have a go at turning them into muffins.

I actually think I prefer these to the cookies, although that might be in part down to the fact that it was an absolutely gorgeous sunny day yesterday, so I actually had good light for the photos, which is very rare!

I adapted a recipe for blueberry muffins and probably put a slightly high proportion of chocolate and apricot in, as in addition to making the 12 promised muffins, I had an extra 20 mini cupcakes which are now being used in a muffin freezing experiment…

Yes, I am messy when I bake...

The mixture was pretty runny, but still held the weight of the chocolate and apricots so it they didn’t all sink to the bottom. I think the only mistake I made was not filling the cases high enough – as you can see in the photos the filling level varied, but the most full ones definitely looked the best.

I served these at a family lunch and they went down very well, so I would definitely make again!

Apricot and white chocolate muffins

  • 280g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 150g caster sugar
  • Approximately 100-150g chopped soft dried apricots
  • 175g white chocolate, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 250ml milk
  • 6 tbsp sunflower oil
  • Zest of 1 lime
Sift together the flour and baking powder into a bowl then stir in the sugar, apricots and white chocolate. Mix the eggs, milk, oil and lime zest in a jug, then pour into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir in until just combined. Pour into 12 cupcake cases and fill to fairly near the top, then bake at 200 degrees for 20 minutes, or until risen and golden.