Friday, 5 June 2015

Nigella's Banana Butterscotch Muffins

OCD Panic Rating: 1/5
Handwashes: 2

As has been blatantly obvious recently, I've been on a diet and it's been working.  However, my sweet tooth is still very much in evidence and I have missed the experience of baking at the weekend.  Despite my OCD, I find it fun and relaxing.  I can't really do anything when I bake apart from maybe listen to music.  If I'm thinking about other things, looking ahead to work or play, I make silly mistakes, so it's a time when I can detach a little bit from the rest of the world.

I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands.  On Sunday, I was seeing some friends at the pub quiz and was then meeting up with my Dad the next day.  This meant I could bake, giving a few treats to friends and family to stop me munching my way through the entire batch of whatever sweet loveliness I made.  Cunning plan in place, I had a flick through a few books before settling on Nigella's muffin recipe from Nigella Express.

Now, I've had some gripes with Nigella's style of writing.  Anyone who watches The Great British Bake-Off will know that the technical challenge involves following a recipe with some crucial information missing, and Nigella's recipes can feel that way.  In this one, it just said to use 'flour'.  Um, ok, but which type?  I've done enough baking to know that the wrong kind of flour can cause all sorts of problems with cooking times, texture and flavour.  A bit of online searching was unhelpful: most websites said to use self-raising, but several famous bakeries said to use plain.  As there was bicarb and baking powder in the recipe, I went for plain, but not without fears of flat and stodgy muffins. (Amusingly, the online version of the recipe specifies plain flour - clearly I'm not the only one who queried this)

The rest of the recipe was easier to understand.  The fat comes from vegetable oil instead of butter, with banana to add moisture and flavour.  Butterscotch pieces are folded into the mixture at the end, which is then put into the cases and cooked for twenty minutes in a preheated oven.  I was still mulling over the flour issue when it came to combining the ingredients and managed to do it backwards, so I was convinced that  it was all going to be a disaster.  It wasn't.  They came out looking like muffins:

This one was lopsided.  #NoFilters, am I right?
The texture was not too close and had the right level of moisture, not too oily despite the choice of fat.  The banana flavour was stronger than the butterscotch but banana muffins are boss anyway.  The muffins got good reviews from friends and family, which was a bonus.  It's not the best muffin recipe I've ever used but it produces good results without any particularly special ingredients.  I'm always happy to find another recipe to get rid of overripe bananas too.

Key Points:

  • Pick your cookbooks with care.  When you read a recipe, you don't particularly want to have to Google it to work out exactly what it needs.
  • Concentrate.  The muffins worked despite my lack of care; plenty of bakes won't.

Win Rating: 4/5.

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