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?