Muffin Mania

Muffin mania began in our household when I was pregnant with Billie. Something about nesting brought out the baking urge in me. We're talking sweet, savory and everything in between.

Billie is nearly 18 months and I haven't kicked the habit. Much to Miles' pleasure, as his regular cafe order is a muffin with his soy honey latte (uggh - not my cup of tea). But we're both regularly disappointed with cafe muffins - too dry, lacking in the key ingredient as advertised, and generally just large and floury. So one of the reasons for muffin mania is to fill a necessary gap in the market.

But the main motivation has become the creative challenge. I just use what's around to flavour them, backed up with an easy and relatively healthy muffin base. I do fiddle with the base a little too - sometimes one egg, sometimes two, and sometimes less oil or milk. But the main creative challenge offered by muffin mania is balancing the chosen extra ingredients so that you wind up with a muffin that isn't too dry, moist, sweet or bland.

Happily I can report no complete failures, but I will note polenta is a challenging ingredient.

A few muffin varieties can be found in these pages but often I don't bother to log them. However, due to popular request, today Billie Bites starts a special Muffin Mania page. which I will add to irregularly. It's useful for me too as I often think, hmmm, what were those muffins I took to so-and-so's?

To kick start, today we have these healthy savory numbers - another way to get vegetables into toddlers.

I served them yesterday to Billie and her friend Marilla (born only one day later). Both toddlers devoured two and a half muffins. Now that's a fair bit of carrot.

Billie and Marilla eagerly await their carrot and corn muffins


CORN, CARROT AND CHEESE MUFFINS

1 large carrot or 2 small, grated
1 cup grated tasty cheddar cheese
1 corn cob, raw
1 handful fresh herbs, chopped - I used basil, oregano, thyme
220g self-raising wholemeal flour, or use plain and add 2 teaspoons baking soda/powder
3/4 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup oil - I use rice bran
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to medium - about 190 c or 380 f. Prepare 12 muffin tins - depending on what sort you use. I have recently started using those silicon ones so only a very light smear of oil is needed. 

Sift flour and baking powder/soda if using into large bowl. Add cheese and herbs and salt and pepper.

In a small bowl mix eggs, oil and milk together. Slice raw corn kernals off by placing cob horizontally on chopping board and add to wet ingredients with carrot. 

When you are ready to bake, gently combine wet and dry - only swiftly stirring until just mixed through. Then quickly and gently spoon into tins. Bake in middle of oven for about 15-20 minutes or until browned on top.

Leave for 5 minutes in tins before removing to cool on wire rack. Eat fresh. They don't even need butter.
Marilla wonders why her lunch is being photographed





RECIPE: MAGIC ZUCCHINI AND CHEESE MUFFINS

2 cups wholemeal self raising flour
1 cup grated strong cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
freshly ground black pepper
250 g grated zucchini/courgette
1 cup milk
3 eggs

Preheat oven to moderate hot - 180c or 350 f. Grease 12 muffin trays ( I use silicon ones).

Sieve flour into large bowl and add grated cheese. Combine eggs and milk and pepper in small bowl. Grate zucchini and put to one side.

When ready to bake, use a large fork to quickly and gently combine the zucchini with the dry ingredients, and then the milk and eggs. Once mixed through (don't over-mix) quickly place large spoons of mixture into each muffin tin.

Place in oven on reasonably high shelf and bake for about 30 minutes (40 minutes if you use silicon muffin trays like I do, as takes longer for muffin bottoms to crisp).

Remove from trays and cool on wire rack. Eat as soon as possible. However, a bonus of this recipe is they are still fabulous many hours later. Especially spread with a little butter.

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