Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Cranberry, apple and butterscotch muffins

Travel is a tease.  It offers all manner of exciting new ingredients but it offers little opportunity to cook or bake with them.  I have done very little cooking on our trip to Scotland until this weekend.  Over the last couple of days, however, I have made full use of our wonderful holiday kitchen.  Saturday morning found me baking mini muffins to use unusual ingredients and also a few that just needed using up.

But first let me show you the cute Christmas mini muffin papers that I picked up in Lakeland.  This is a kitchenwares shop of great temptation.  Unfortunately it is not overly practical when having to carry your belongings in a suitcase.  Luckily I managed to bake with these before Sylvia seconded them as holders for her small and tiny things.

I am sorry to say that I have little faith in our kitchen.  I decided it was too much to expect that it would yield either a measuring cup or scales.  After I baked these muffins, I found I was wrong.  At the time I was racing around and decided to just use a cup that was around the same size as 1 cup.  Hence my measurements might be slightly approximate.  That is the nature of holiday baking.

More exciting than cup measurements was the prospect of baking with cranberries and butterscotch chips, both of which can be bought easily in the supermarket in Edinburgh but not in Australia.  I also used up some apple and 'porridge oats' (which are more finely ground than the rolled oats we use to make porridge at home).  I used honey and some mueller corners (sweet plain yoghurt without fruit mixed in) to avoid buying extra ingredients.

I made these muffins for a family get-together we were hosting in a pub at lunchtime.  An excellent opportunity to bake, to experiment and to share.  It felt a little risky.  I was using unknown ingredients.  I wasn't sure how the pub would take to me bringing along some cakes.  I decided that in the worst case scenario we would have lots of cakes to take home or give away.

The staff at the Braidburn Inn were very accommodating of my need to bake.  We had ordered savoury finger food for family and family friends.  It went down well while we caught up with old friends and enjoyed looking at old black and white photos that E's aunty had brought along.  Sylvia had a lovely time chasing her cousin around the tables.

After the savouries, E did a short speech and played a piece on his ukelele.  Then I arranged the cakes onto a few cakes to be placed on the tables.  Everyone was very complimentary. A few of them read my blog and were pleased to sample the food.  No cakes were left when we all left.  A great afternoon with kind and generous people, including one couple who arrived from their home in the Lake District. 

I looked up a few recipes and sort of used one for apple cider cake with cranberries and walnuts.  I had drunk the apple juice by the time I made these and the final product was nothing like it.  However it had the festive flavours that were appropriate for this time of year.  The mixture was very thick but I think it allowed for the moisture from the apples and cranberries.

Most surprising of all were the butterscotch chips.  These were unlike those that Ricki sent me from Canada which were like butterscotch flavoured chop chips.  The Sainsburys butterscotch chips were more like crisp nuggets that exploded throughout the muffin and over the muffin tin in a delicious way.  I was also a little unsure about how to use the white chocolate stars and was not sure if I should have baked them on - they didn't stick on very well, even when place on straight after coming out of the oven.

I only had one muffin at the lunch so I was glad that I sampled one or two that fell apart when turning out of the muffin tin.  Upon trying them at home, Sylvia was most unimpressed with the fresh cranberries.  Yet she told me that she ate a cake at the lunch.  Like her, I was pleased with how these cakes turned out.

Cranberry, apple and butterscotch muffins
inspired by the hungry mouse
makes 48 mini muffins

Dry ingredients:
2 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup frozen cranberries
1 cup finely chopped apple - 2 small Braeburn
100g butterscotch chips - these were crunchy

Wet ingredients:
1/2 cup honey
4 generous tbsp butter
1/4 cup sweet plain yoghurt
1 egg

40g white chocolate stars for decoration

Mix dry ingredients in a medium large mixing bowl.  Melt butter and honey in a small mixing bowl.  Gradually add yoghurt and egg.  Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix well.  Spoon into paper lined mini muffin tins and bake for 15 minutes at 200 C.

On the Stereo:
The Best Scottish Album in the World Ever - Various Artists

5 comments:

  1. How delightful (and impressive) - I have never baked on holiday and in fact I don't think it has ever occurred to me to do so! I always miss baking, though, so if / when I am next staying somewhere equipped for the task I may just follow your lead.

    These muffins look gorgeous and I like the mix of ingredients. They definitely sound perfect for Christmas.

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  2. These sound incredible! I think they look lovely, too, with the stars. I've actually had that kind of butterscotch chip in the past, too--we can get both kinds here--but I think I like the ones I sent better. ;)

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  3. These little muffins look gorgeous! And how nice of them to let you take them into the Inn to eat.

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  4. Hope you are having fun in the UK. Are yo coming to London at all?

    I Love Lakeland! It is one of my favourite shops!

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  5. These are so fun and definitely quite seasonal and festive! Cranberry apple is one of my favorite fruit combos. :)

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