Today’s recipe is a treat for you all, as it’s actually a guest post from my lovely friend Hannah at A Bond Girl’s Food Diary. I featured her in my favourite blogs series a while back, and she’s still my first go-to for any advice in the kitchen. After winning the Bake Off Bake Along in 2015, she went on to study at Leith’s, and seriously makes the most beautiful food ever (plus, if judging by the tester brownies she sent me in the post, she also bakes the tastiest food ever too!). My favourite posts at the moment are her blind taste tests of various staple foods we all eat – who knew mature cheddar was best to buy in Lidl, but that Waitrose has the tastiest houmous (and not actually the most expensive!). Therefore when I was offered the opportunity for a guest post, I jumped quicker than you can say “ready, set, BAKE”. Without further ado, here’s Hannah’s recipe for the muffins….don’t mind me, I’m about to rush off and buy some marzipan!
Cherry and Marzipan Crumble Muffins
I feel like the humble muffin needs a bit of love. Cupcakes have had their moment in the sun, and don’t get me wrong, there is a time and a place for a cupcake, piled high with luxurious frosting and dusted with miscellaneous glitter. But there’s something so satisfying about the comforting warmth of a freshly baked muffin. They’re not delicate, or highly decorated, or shiny enough to fill a cake stand at a wedding. A good muffin, though, is a thing of beauty: ideally eaten just warm from the oven; moist, with a golden dome risen proudly; packed full of flavour. You can have a decadent triple chocolate affair, perhaps oozing with caramel, but equally you can have a fruit and nut packed wholemeal muffin – something you’d be able to eat for breakfast without undue guilt.
These cherry and marzipan crumble muffins fall somewhere in-between the luxurious chocolate camp and the healthy breakfast camp. They’re fruity, topped with an oaty crumble, and spiked with a hefty dose of ginger. However, they also hide a generous helping of marzipan, and are a satisfying sweet treat for when you need a pick-me-up.
Cherries are absolutely gorgeous in the UK at the moment. I don’t know if it’s because of the largely pretty spectacular weather we’ve had, but even the standard supermarket cherries I have been buying are sweet, juicy, and full of flavour. I thought it would be a good idea to stop simply cramming them into my mouth and start putting them in recipes instead.
Cherry and marzipan is a pretty classic combination – cherry and almond flavours always go well together – but the ginger here gives these muffins a new dimension and an extra kick.
These muffins are pretty easy going – one bowl for the crumble mix, one bowl for the muffin mix, and ready to eat straight from the oven without any fussing around with frosting and decoration. They keep well for around three days, but are best freshly baked.
If you wanted to, you could switch the cherries with any other fruits around at the moment – blackberries, raspberries, or strawberries would also be good. My original plan was to make these muffins with rhubarb to catch the last of the rhubarb season, but it seems I was about a week too late and I couldn’t find any in the shops. However, if you happen to have some growing in your garden then I am sure these would be delicious with rhubarb too.
For the crumble topping
- 60g light brown soft sugar
- 60g wholemeal flour (plain would also be fine, but I think the wholemeal has a better flavour here)
- 35g porridge oats
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 60g butter
For the muffin mix
- 150g caster sugar
- 2 tbsp corn oil, or any other flavourless oil
- 1 egg
- 125g buttermilk
- 125g cherries (stoned and quartered weight – around 1 small punnet)
- 75g diced stem ginger
- 125g diced marzipan
- 200g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1. Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper muffin cases. First, make your topping. Mix the light brown soft sugar with the flour, oats, and ginger, then rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles a lovely crumble topping.
2. Weigh your sugar into a large bowl, then stir in the oil, egg, buttermilk, and chopped cherries, followed by the ginger and marzipan. Then add the flour, baking powder, and bicarbonate of soda and stir until just combined and even.
3. Working quickly, divide the mixture between the cases (I find an ice cream scoop useful for this), then scatter each muffin with a thick layer of the crumble mixture. Bake for approximatively 17 minutes, or until golden, firm, and risen, then cool on a wire rack.