Monday, 11 January 2010

A return to baking: raspberry and cinnamon crunch muffins made with Jordans Country Crisp

Raspberry and cinnamon crunch muffins

Lovely juicy, tart raspberries inside the muffin

Being a contrarian sort I tend to steer clear of predictions, resolutions and diets of any description in the new year. January is a month to hunker down indoors, savour these cold winter nights hiding under the duvet with a hot water bottle and a good book whilst nursing a whisky or three. And of course with this cold snap we're experiencing - the perfect excuse to eat carbs, glorious carbs...

Having been beset by a dastardly bout of swine flu over the Christmas holiday and only just surfacing for air last week after a slow recovery, I finally mustered the energy to bake these raspberry and cinnamon crunch muffins over the weekend. Being a baker at heart, it pained me not having the inclination to bake during the festive season, and while I was preparing a batch of raspberry muffin batter on Saturday morning inspiration struck: out of the corner of my eye a box of Jordans raspberry crunch cereal beckoned me to open it. After chomping on some of the crispy crunchy goodness and feeling ever so slightly guilty foregoing my daily porridge, I whisked and folded the raspberry muffin batter, adapting the recipe by sprinkling cereal on top of the muffin batter thus making 'streusel' raspberry muffins.


OK, so it was hardly a Eureka! moment, more like thank the gods - with apologies to the inimitable Johnny Nash - I can see clearly now this flu has gone.

And then it occurred to me this wasn't the first time I'd baked with crunchy cereal. One Saturday morning just before Christmas I pootled along to Leiths School of Food and Wine in deepest darkest West London for a morning of Jordans crunchy crisp appreciation, along with Ginger Gourmand, Kavey Eats, Food Urchin, Mathilde's Cuisine, Apple & Spice, the Mueslilover, amongst others. It was one of the more enjoyable food blogging events I'd been to, Jordans enticing us along with the promise we could create our own cereal and take it away in a bespoke Jordans cereal box with our names imprinted on the box for posterity, photos of which you can see on Jordans' Facebook page
When we arrived at Leiths Bill Jordan, who runs Jordans with his brother David, talked us through the story of Jordans and explained the importance of using conservation oats in the cereal and the extensive testing of recipes that takes place at the company:

But we weren't just there to make our own cereal, we were there to bake cake:

The cake was a delicious pear and chocolate crunch sponge, full of the good things in life - mainly butter and sugar - and a real hit with all those who attended.

As for the cereal - we tasted different varieties of Jordans, of which the strawberry is a firm favourite. It was my sweet treat from studying when I first arrived at university here in 1999, tasting sweet and crunchy and with a hint of acidity from those freeze-dried strawberries. I loved it then - and still do - with ice cold whole milk.

So when we were given the run of the Jordans crunchy crisp flavours table I ran erm, a little amok with the freeze-dried berries. And the coconut. And chocolate. I may have been a little over-zealous:

As a yuletide twist I tossed hazelnuts in a cinnamon and mixed spice mixture and roasted them at 180 C for 10 minutes to add to this decadent confection, I mean cereal, I had created...

But back to the raspberry and cinnamon crunch muffins. If you're curious, here's the recipe I drummed up on Saturday:


250g sharpham park refined spelt flour
50g porridge oats (small, not jumbo)
85g light muscovado sugar (I used billingtons)
85g golden caster sugar (waitrose)
150ml whole milk
50ml plain wholemilk yoghurt
100g melted butter
2 medium eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp salt
170g frozen raspberries
100g Jordans raspberry crunchy crisp cereal for topping


The key to light, fluffy muffins is not to overmix the ingredients. An American friend once told me never to stir more than 12 times when combining dry and liquid ingredients and that trick has never failed.

Preheat oven to 180 C. Line a 12x muffin tin with paper cups or parchement paper.

In a large bowl sieve all the dry ingredients together:

Make a well in the middle and add all the liquid ingredients:

Add the frozen raspberries and stir:

Finally, using an ice cream scoop or teaspoon, fill each muffin case 3/4 full and top with raspberry crunchy crisp (a tip though, leave out the freeze-dried raspberries as they incinerate when baked!) if you wish, dust a little extra cinnamon on top of the crunchy crisp

Bake on the upper middle shelf of the oven for 20 minutes, insert a skewer and if it comes out dry the muffins are done.

Many thanks to Jordans and Wild Card for organising an executing a thoroughly enjoyable morning for us all. It won't be the last time I bake with crunchy crisp cereal.

Have you been baking during this cold spell? If so, what have you been making?


verity said...

They look so yummy! The only thing I've baked is crumble, due to doing an exclusion diet. Need baking ideas that don't involve anything other than rice flour or vegan margarine - not easy!

Signe said...

Oh Verity, I'm sorry to hear about your exclusion diet. Hope you feel better soon? I wonder if you'd be ok eating spelt and oats? do let me know how you get on...

LexEat! said...

Wow, this all looks delicious! I can see there's a very fine line between cereal and sweets!

paul said...

I am always in awe of your baking skills - the baking gene past me by!

Lovely post as ever!

Signe said...

Thanks Lex and Paul for your comments :-)

It's such an easy recipe, even non-bakers can rustle up a batch of these muffins on the weekend!

Kitchen Butterfly said...

They look yum. I've been baking....macarons and chocolate cake!!!!!

Signe said...

Why thank you Kitchen Butterfly, I just discovered your blog - fantastic photos! Love chocolate macaroon and raspberry Eton Mess idea :-)

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Heh heh. So much for not baking, huh? ;)

Might give these a whirl - I have a box of that very same Country Crisp in my cupboards at the moment... Thanks for the recipe!

Signe said...

Helen, I never said I wasn't going to bake again ;) merely shifted focus to more general cookery matters!

These are such delicious muffins if I say so myself and they freeze really well too for lazy weekend breakfasts/brunches. You can mix up the flavours, use ginger or nutmeg instead of cinnamon, and of course use different berries like blueberries or blackberries...

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Only teasing you, Sig! ;)

Always helpful to know whether things keep and/or freeze well, too, so thanks for that info.

Signe said...

thanks Helen :-) muffins are brilliant for freezing as they can be refreshed within 10 minutes in the oven. Am planning on baking some more this weekend, this time passionfruit + vanilla ones...

Sophie said...

MMMMMMM,...these healthy muffins look grand!!
I so love this easy yet so tasty recipe!

Signe said...

Thanks for your comment Sophie! Yes I reckon spelt is the way to go, so healthy and much easier to digest than plain wheat flour...

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