Daring Bakers February 2012 Challenge: Very Berry & Apricot Muffins
(I’m still in LA, but I set this post up to publish itself before I left. Never done this before so hope it’s worked)
I love berry muffins but very rarely bake them as I’m almost ashamed to admit, that I’m not that good at baking them. Ones I’ve made in the past have either have flat rather dry tops, or not been that different to an un-iced cupcake. However, this months Daring Bakers challenge was to make a quick bread in the flavour, and shape of our choice. As the whole group is about challenges, I decided it was time to give muffins another go.
I browsed the internet looking for my ideal muffin, and when I came across this one by Zoom Yummy, I called off the search. It looked fantastic and utterly drool-worthy. Packed full of berries with a soft texture and nicely risen. I had to do a little tweaking to make it gluten free and adapt it to my preferences but I was ready to get baking!
The main difference between a cupcake and a muffin is that muffins generally rely on a milk and oil base, rather than a butter base. They also generally use fewer eggs and you are actually aiming to achieve a lumpy batter, rather than a smooth one as this helps give them their light texture. Despite knowing this I think I slightly over worked my batter as there were very few lumps left. I’m too used to baking cakes!
I was a little worried about how full the cases were after I’d divided out the batter, but I went with it and sure enough they rose perfectly. Just high enough to create little domes without cracking and spilling out all over the tin. So fill them more than you might normally think is wise as the weight of the fruit holds the batter down a bit.
Frozen blueberries, cranberries and some fresh apricots are what made up my fruit mix. I loved the colours together, each so striking and bright. They looked so inviting when baked, each one bursting into the surrounding muffin creating little pools of vibrant jammy fruit.
I loved the muffins, but was slightly disappointed they didn’t go a lovely golden brown on top. I suspect this might be down to the flours I used. Next time I will try baking them at a higher temperature for a shorter amount of time and seeing if that helps. This is purely aesthetic though and the muffins themselves were soft and tender. I’m sure they would also be great with some almond extract or lots of lemon zest too, but I liked them plain and simple. Letting the natural mix of sweet, juicy, tart, jammy fruits shine through.
The Daring Bakers’ February 2012 host was – Lis! Lisa stepped in last minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own. She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites and encouraged us to build upon them and create new flavor profiles. I started from scratch with my own research. Click here to see the Daring Baker blogroll to see bakers quick breads.
Very Berry & Apricot Muffins
(Recipe adapted from Zoom Yummy blog)
100g white teff flour*
80g buckwheat flour*
60g brown rice flour*
150g caster sugar
3 tsp baking powder
125ml/95g sunflower oil
2 tsp lemon juice
300g fresh or frozen fruits & berries (I used equal mix of frozen blueberries, cranberries & fresh apricots)
* can be substituted for an equal quantity gluten free flour mix or regular plain flour
Preheat the oven to 180C and line a muffin tray with 12 paper liners.
Mix the milk, oil, lemon juice and egg together in a bowl and set aside.
Place the flours, sugar and baking powder together in a larger bowl and mix to combine.
Pour the milk mixture over the flour mixture and use a spatula to gently fold everything together. You want a few lumps to remain, not a smooth batter, so don’t beat it.
Add your fruits and mix briefly.
Divide the mixture between the paper cases, filling almost to the top, more than you might normally think was wise. (I found I needed 1½ ice cream scoops of batter in each).
Bake for 18-22 minutes until risen and springy to the touch.
Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.
Best eaten within 3 days or frozen on day of baking. Lovely served warm with custard for a quick dessert.