Beary-Cute Mini Cupcakes

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Do you have certain foods or snacks that you enjoy purely for the nostalgia factor?

I have a whole list. Most of them I rarely, if ever, consume today. It seems that as children, we were instinctively drawn to food that came in shiny, colourful plastic packets and was stuffed with sugar and fake flavours and colours… they were essentially staples of one’s diet.

As I grew up I turned away from these sugary, salty, colourful confections and instead snacked on things that came in more dull packaging that boasted words like “organic”, “gluten free” and “raw” because they make me feel like a proper adult.

But for the sake of nostalgia, and also to give me something to actually write about in this post, I’ve decided to scour the interwebs and share with you some of my favourite sugary snacks as a young lass.

heart

HavaHeart ice cream: I was honestly a little surprised that I only found one picture of these on the Internet… maybe they weren’t as popular as I thought. But these heart-shaped, chocolate-coated, vanilla ice-cream bundles of goodness on a stick were the Number 1 way to make a hot summer afternoon even better*. I think if they were shaped like regular ice-cream I probably couldn’t have cared less, but because they were shaped like hearts they were just downright amazing.

*Notice I said “even better” and not “bearable” like I usually would when talking about the hotter months of the year… yes, I actually liked summer when I was a child. Shocking, no?

roses

Cadbury Roses: Okay, so you were probably expecting more kiddie, colourful, sugary snacks on this list. I mean, Cadbury Roses? Aren’t those a little bit classy for a 5-year-old? Maybe. So I guess I was a rather classy 5-year-old, because I loved these. This bright blue box of chocolates would magically appear on most “grown-up” special occasions – parents’ birthdays, anniversaries, Mothers’ Day, and other such events. The shiny wrappers that clearly differentiated the chocolates were a bonus. Not only were they super pretty, but they allowed me to swiftly avoid the “disgusting” flavours which my 5-year-old self was not fond of, such as strawberry or mint.

tinyteddies

Tinny Teddies: Normal biscuits? Boring. Biscuits shaped like small bears with varying personalities? HECK YES. Tiny Teddies were the ultimate snack of my childhood. I used to pretend that they were going on little adventures into the “cave” (i.e. my mouth) where they would then proceed to scream in terror as they were chomped into a mush. Yes, that’s a bit creepy. Don’t worry, I don’t do that anymore.

Reminiscing about these beary-delicious snacks inspired me to whip up some cupcakes in their honour. Mini-cupcakes, so you can eat three times as much… I mean, because they’re small and cute.

Mini-cupcakes with pieces of dark chocolate in them, to balance out the childishness with a bit of classiness… everyone knows that classy adults love eating dark chocolate, right?

Mini-cupcakes with “Cookies ‘n’ Cream” icing made from crushed Oreos… because each Tiny Teddy might get a bit lonely by itself on each individual cupcake, and will need a friend… even if that friend is an Oreo that’s been crushed into tiny pieces and mixed with sweet buttercream icing to produce an unappetizing gray yet extremely delicious substance.

So the icing was a bit of an experiment, and could maybe do with oh-so-slightly less Oreo… hence why it’s that awkward grey colour. Everyone did seem to like the icing, but for aesthetic reasons you may want to cut back a little. It’s up to you; add as much as you’d like to suit your tastes. Maybe you could try out the choc-filled Oreos or one of the other flavours! That could be fun.

Here is the recipe – bake and enjoy!

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Beary-Cute Mini Cupcakes

½ cup caster sugar
80g butter, softened
1 egg
1 cup self raising flour
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup dark chocolate, chopped

ICING:
80g butter, softened
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
75g Oreos, crushed

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Line a 24-hole mini muffin tin with mini cupcake liners.

Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and creamy. Add the egg, and stir well to combine. Sift in the flour and add the milk, vanilla extract and dark chocolate chunks. Stir well to combine.

Evenly distribute the batter amongst the cupcake cases, and bake for about 15 minutes, until cupcakes are well risen and spring back lightly when touched. Leave to cool fully before icing.

To make the icing, beat the butter and sifted icing sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the crushed Oreos. Using a knife or a piping bag, ice the cooled Cupcakes. Top each with a Tiny Teddy or some other cute animal-shaped cookie. Maybe even Mini Oreos. That could look nice.

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Spelt Vanilla Coffee Cookies with Pistachios & White Choc Chips

CoffeeVanillaCookies1So I had this random dream not too long ago. In the dream, my friend and I were going to see a movie. We took our seats in the cinema, and I told her to wait right there while I bought some snacks. I went down to the snack bar and had a look at my choices.

There was a small packet of popcorn (I don’t know why it came in a packet) that cost $11. This made me angrier than it should have – I was absolutely infuriated with the injustice! Eleven freaking dollars for a tiny packet of popcorn that’s not even hot or buttered! There was also a packet of some generic-brand lollies that was the same size as the popcorn packet, but this was only $3. Even though they looked really gross and unappetizing I bought that one because it was cheaper. And then a whole bunch of other really random and nonsensical things took place because, well, you know how dreams are.

But anyway, the point I’m trying to make is, movie food is expensive! Even in my dreams I cannot escape from the totally outrageous prices. I think it’s because for some reason, most people can’t watch a movie without eating. For me it’s also commonly a case of, “If we eat dinner beforehand we’ll be late for the movie, therefore we will eat popcorn for dinner.” And then you see almost-full buckets of popcorn just left behind in the cinema. What a waste – of both money and popcorn!

Sure, you could just buy snacks at the grocery store beforehand (assuming you have time, you’re not lazy, and it’s still open) but here’s another option that lets you get creative and ensures that your house will smell delicious upon your return – bake a bunch of cookies at home and smuggle them into the cinema!

And that’s the story behind how these cookies came to be. It was one of those winter afternoons where I was longing to fill my house with the scent of freshly-baked cookies. Of course, I wanted to share them rather than have them sitting in my pantry and tempting me all weekend, so I toted them off to the cinema and saved approximately ten thousand dollars on movie snacks.

So now let’s talk about the cookies themselves! I wanted to use up a few little odds and ends in my pantry and make these cookies a bit “different” (in a good way, hopefully). The cookies themselves are flavoured with vanilla essence as well as some vanilla-infused instant coffee for a double hit of vanilla goodness. The sweetness of the vanilla balanced out the strong coffee flavor which was quite nice. Then it was time to think about mix-ins! I threw in a packet of white choc chips because normal choc-chip cookies are too mainstream (also because I didn’t have any milk/dark choc chips) and half a container of pistachios. Might as well get creative and put them to good use instead of letting them sit around and go to waste!

Also, because I’ve been really into Spelt flour lately, I used that in place of regular flour. I like to think that this made them a little bit healthier, and would justify the fact that a couple of those cookies, along with a handful of popcorn, was essentially my dinner that night. Not that I’d promote cookies as a healthy alternative to dinner on a regular basis. You’ve got to eat your vegetables, people!

Here’s the recipe. If you don’t have vanilla-flavoured instant coffee (I used Moccona brand) then just regular coffee will work just fine.

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Spelt Vanilla Coffee Cookies with Pistachios & White Choc Chips

90g butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon vanilla-infused instant coffee dissolved in 2 tbsp hot water
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
½ cup self-raising flour
½ cup spelt flour
½ tsp of salt
¾ cup white choc chips
¼ cup pistachios

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and line two baking trays.

Beat the butter, vanilla extract, dissolved coffee and sugars with an electric mixer until light and creamy. Sift in the flours and salt and stir in the choc-chips and pistachios.

Drop heaped teaspoons of the dough onto the prepared baking trays, leaving ample space between each cookie (about 2-3cm) so they can spread.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until slightly browned. Leave to set on the trays for 5-10 minutes or until firm, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Orange Marmalade Brownies and #MealForAMeal

marmaladeBrownies

Lately – over the past week, at least – I’ve been a bit of a Domestic Goddess.

No, I don’t mean I’ve been doing loads of housework or anything. Don’t get me wrong, I do find housework fun at times (wife material right here) but I mean that I’ve been spending a lot of time making tasty things happen in the kitchen! Much of it can be seen on my Instagram – my username is @sarahwielgosz (creative, I know) and any kitchen shenanigans I get up to will be tagged with #sneakypuddingblog … if you happen to try out a recipe from here, it’d be swell if you could use that hashtag too!

On the topic of hashtags, a thought occurred to me whilst I was writing this post. I’ve seen the hashtag #mealforameal floating around on Instagram and Facebook. I’m sure most of you already know about it, but basically when you hashtag your food photos with that tag, a donation is made to OzHarvest that allows them to feed someone in need. Although there will always be starving people out there and one hashtagged photo of your lunch isn’t going to change the world, it’s a small step that we can each take to raise awareness of the issue. Besides , we’re all obviously addicted to snapping photos of our food, so we might as well make something good come out of it!

Anyway, back to the topic of my recent baking kick. The kitchen has been my second home lately, which is a bit weird because technically it’s in my home. I’ve overcome my aversion to kneading dough – I baked raspberry jam-filled scones and even some Damper! I’ve found the time to cook dinner for my family – lamb stew, fish pie, and lots of other delicious winter warmers.

Last Saturday I had some friends over for a board games night, and I really felt the urge to whip up some brownies to share around. I’ve made a variety of brownies before – brownies that are rich and fudgy, and brownies that are lighter and more cake-like. Brownies stuffed with marshmallows, and even completely egg-free, butter-free and sugar-free brownies with chickpeas as the secret ingredient (recipe coming soon!) This time, wanting to try something different, I searched my cupboards for some inspiration and came across a jar of orange marmalade. Chocolate and orange is a tried-and-true combination so I thought, why not?

Essentially, I prepared brownies the normal way but swirled the orange marmalade on top before they went in the oven. If you want to make these, the trick is to not use too much marmalade and to distribute it evenly, otherwise some of the brownies are just going to be drenched in marmalade and be a bit too gooey. Still delicious, but just not something that I want to serve to people in my house for fear that they’ll drip chocolatey-and-marmaladey-goodness all over my couch, floor and Monopoly set.

So, here’s the recipe. Enjoy! And if you do bake these (or anything) don’t forget: #mealforameal!

Orange Marmalade Brownies

125g butter
200g dark chocolate
2 eggs
¾ cup brown sugar
a pinch of salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup plain flour
2 tablespoons Olive oil
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
3 tablespoons orange marmalade

Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Grease and line a brownie/slice tin.

Melt butter and chocolate in a saucepan, stirring, until smooth. Set aside to cool.

Beat the brown sugar and eggs until creamy, then beat in oil. Sift in flour, salt, cocoa powder and cinnamon and add the melted butter/chocolate mixture and the chos chips. Stir until combined.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, and evenly swirl the marmalade through the mixture. Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until cooked (test with a skewer) Allow to cool and firm up in the tin for a while (10-15 minutes) before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Serve warm with cream or ice cream, or refrigerate and enjoy cold. :)

Almost-Vegan, Almost-Healthy Peanut Butter Banana Brownie Cups

VeganBrownies1

I believe I have most definitely jumped on the “healthy baking” bandwagon.

When I baked these, it had actually been a while since I’d baked a batch of rich, gooey chocolate brownies or a big loaf of sweet, buttery banana bread. (Just FYI, I’ve been very lazy in terms of blogging and I baked these many, many weeks ago)

Not that I’ve totally gone off those things – not at all! I just really enjoy the challenge of taking a bunch of fairly “healthy” ingredients and whipping them up into something that tastes like, well, an “actual dessert”.

So where did this healthy-baking kick begin?

It was a sunny Sunday afternoon, in the final days of Autumn, and there was a slight chill in the air – a precursor to the delightfully freezing winter days to come. I was at my computer, doing something really important like looking for cute dresses on Modcloth, when suddenly, a realization hit me. “I need to bake.”

Only, there was one little dilemma – no eggs! Sure I could have gone shopping and bought some, but who could honestly be bothered? The lazy-girl way seemed much more appealing – bake something with no eggs. In fact, I thought; while I was at it, why not bake something with no butter as well? And use Spelt flour instead of regular flour? Why not make something a bit healthy, something I wouldn’t have to feel guilty about eating ten of… not that I did… heh heh heh… *shifty eyes*

I scoured the Internet for a recipe, and eventually came across this one. I pretty much had all the ingredients for it, and actually had some dark chocolate and some bananas that I needed to use up. Perfect!

I adapted the recipe a little, though. For example, instead of white flour, I used Spelt flour; and I used almond milk instead of soy milk because that’s all I had… and I also added a bit more. Finally, instead of cooking them in a brownie pan, I made them in cupcake cases so I wouldn’t have to grease the pan and slice them after. Told you I was lazy. Though actually, cupcake cases are a bit more convenient as well… it’s like each brownie comes with its own personal crumb-catcher!

These little guys taste sensational. Seriously, you wouldn’t think they were meant to be healthy. That combination of peanut butter, dark chocolate and banana… heck yes! I seriously could not get enough. They were still good a few days after they’ve been baked as well. So moist. The only thing I would change would be perhaps finding something else to replace the cup of sugar in the recipe… like something that’s not sugar, for instance (Hence why they are “Almost Healthy”). And maybe throwing in some mix-ins like choc-chips or dates, ‘cause that’s always an absolute blast.

Also, I call them “Almost Vegan” because of the chocolate I used… if you have some sort of vegan cooking chocolate though, you can use that.

Here’s the recipe. Now get your hot little self into the kitchen, bake up a batch of these bad boys, and enjoy!

 VeganBrownies2

Banana Peanut Butter Brownie Cups

1 cup Spelt flour
½ cup baking soda
½ cup baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup granulated white sugar
1 mashed, ripe banana
½ cup peanut butter
30g dark cooking chocolate, melted
1/3 cup almond milk

 Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius, and fill a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases.

Sift flour, baking soda and powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. In another bowl, combine banana, sugar, peanut butter and melted chocolate. Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, adding the almond milk as you do so.

Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown.

Nutella Swirl Vanilla Cupcakes with Nutella Cream Cheese frosting

Hi everyone! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Let me tell you, these past few weeks have been a little on the crazy side, but now that all the madness is over, I can finally say that I’m no longer a student!

Yes, that’s right, I’ve finished my graphic design course at last. I’m in the “real world” now and to be honest it’s a bit terrifying. Like, it’s not just my “holiday” break right now, a time that I can spend lazing about, watching movies, playing The Sims ‘til 3am and baking cookies all day long. This is my life now. I have to apply for jobs and be a grown-up.

So, I went on a job-applying-spree the other night, and had my first interview on Wednesday! It was for an unpaid internship, but experience is experience. I threw on my brand new pair of what I call my “job interview shoes” (sensible, black high-heels, which are actually more reminiscent of an old lady’s Church shoes than a pair of sexy businesswoman shoes, but shhh, no-one has to know that), a dress I’d bought the other week, and a smart cropped blazer. I felt like a savvy, sophisticated businesswomen, at least until the shoes started painfully digging in to the back of my ankles (ouch ouch OUCH) as I limped my way back home… then I felt more like a child playing dress-up. :P

That’s been my life lately, I just thought I’d give a bit of an update. I don’t know, do you guys enjoy reading blogs where the writer gives little insights into what’s happening in their personal lives (nothing too personal, don’t worry, I’ll keep my shower-stories and other private things to myself), or have you been skimming through these paragraphs whilst thinking, “Gosh darn it, get yourself back in the kitchen, woman! I want me some cakes, just get to the recipe already!”

Well if you identify as the latter option, don’t you fret! Cakes are coming. I’ve got a few different recipes up my sleeves; different things I’ve baked in the past few weeks. I baked Hot Cross Buns for the first time ever, then I baked them again, for the second time ever! It was my first time baking with yeast… exciting, no? That’s going to be the next post, though. Today I’m going to share something sweet and Nutella-packed, as a delicious apology for the neglect I’ve been showing you, my dear readers, lately (in fact, maybe it’s make up for all the times I’ve promised to post more and then neglected to do so… there is a lot of Nutella in these after all).

So I present to you…

Nutella-swirled vanilla cupcakes…

swirl

…with Nutella and Cream Cheese frosting!

done

Didn’t end up taking a proper shot with my SLR camera, so I hope you’re all okay with Instagram pics! If you’d like to follow me on Instagram my username is sarahwielgosz but be warned that I don’t only post baking pics, much of it will be selfies, my dogs, books I’m reading, cups of tea and just general weirdness… I’ll try to tag my food/baking pics with #sneakypudding so you can just search those up if you need a Sneaky Pudding fix. ;)

So here’s the story. Easter was a couple of weeks ago, remember? If you chowed down on enough chocolate and ended up in a sugar coma, your memory might be a little fuzzy, but I assure you, Easter most definitely happened. Anyway, a bit before Easter, we got a packet of these candy-coated Easter eggs so I could back something Easter-themed… but as I ended up baking a batch of Hot Cross Buns on Easter Sunday itself, I figured I should use up the candy eggs by the Sunday after, because it feels weird to eat Easter stuff when more than a week’s gone by since the special day. We also had a jar of Nutella in the cupboard, and as I mentioned in a previous post, I don’t eat Nutella with normal meals or snacks; it’s most definitely a treat/indulgence.

I decided to use up both in the one go, by whipping up these delectable cupcakes! The icing, by the way, is amazing. Way too amazing. There was some left over and for the next few days, I would occasionally indulge in a sneaky teaspoon or two as “dessert”. Hey, I was stressed out with assignments, okay? Chocolate helps. Oh, and fun fact, it was my first time successfully using a piping bag! Go me!

Here’s the recipe. Left-over candy-coated Easter eggs optional, of course. Personally, I think topping each one with a strawberry would be a good decision too. Whatever floats your boat!

Nutella-Swirled Cupcakes

80g butter, softened
½ cup caster sugar
1 egg
1 cup self-raising flour
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
2-3 tablespoons of Nutella, approximately

ICING:

1 cup Nutella
225g Cream Cheese
1/3 cup icing sugar, approximately

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with cupcake liners.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy; add the egg and vanilla and stir until well-combined.
Sift in the flour and salt, and add the milk. Stir until well-combined (don’t overmix!)

Evenly distribute the batter amongst the cupcake liners. Using a knife or skewer, swirl small amounts of Nutella into each cupcake to create a marbled effect. (if your Nutella is a bit solid, you might want to microwave it for a little to melt it, just to make this task easier).

Bake for 18-20 minutes in the oven, until the cupcakes are well-risen and spring back lightly when touched. Cool for 5 minutes in the tin before transferring to a wire rack.

For the icing, combine the Nutella and Cream Cheese in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth and well-combined. Add the icing sugar and continue to mix until combined (you can adjust the amount of icing sugar if you’d like, adding less or more depending on how sweet/thick you want the icing… I find the icing sweet enough without it, but added some to make it thicker and easier to work with).

If the icing is a bit runny, place it in the fridge for about half an hour; this will make it easier to decorate the cupcakes.

When you’re happy with the consistency of the icing, use either a piping bag or a knife to spread it on the cooled cupcakes. Top them with whatever decorative element you wish (or leave them plain if that’s your thing) and enjoy!

Delicious Cornbread!

CornbreadYAYAYAY

Last night, I had this hilarious dream in which I was baking some bread. I’ve never made actual “Bread” bread before – like, the kind you’d use for sandwiches – so I was feeling pretty proud of myself in that dream as I watched it rise in the warm oven. Then I noticed something was a little off – for some reason, there was a metal spoon sitting on top of the loaf! This is so typical of dreams… there’s always something weird going on. I didn’t want to remove it from the oven because I thought it would stuff up the baking, so I just left it in there. When I finally took the loaf out, it was well-risen and quite lovely except for a massive dent where the spoon had been. Then I had to take a photo of it for my blog so I was trying to find an angle where the dent was not visible.

I blame this crazy dream on two things – the fact that I’d baked some cornbread that afternoon for the first time, and the fact that baking said cornbread got me into a bread baking mood and right before I went to bed, I was leafing through one of the baking books I’d received for Christmas and thinking of what I should try baking next.

So, back to the cornbread. Here’s a fun fact: up until yesterday, I’d never baked or even eaten cornbread before! I scarcely even knew what it was! But I saw the recipe, thought it looked pretty good, and decided that it would play a vital role in the feast I was whipping up for my family. It was a fairly small feast, in fact not really a feast at all, but I just like calling it a “feast” because it makes me feel like I’m a king or something, feasting every night, wearing my shiny crown and holding my goblet and chuckling heartily. Anyway, this feast involved Cream of Cauliflower soup, and I thought that since it’s a fairly light soup it needs something on the side… like cornbread!

I was a bit worried because it said to use “cornmeal”, which we couldn’t find in the shops. But I thought, wait, isn’t polenta the same thing? A few Google searches later, I was somewhat convinced, albeit not entirely confident, but I decided to give it a go.

When the cornbread came out of the oven, it looked so warm and tempting. It seemed absurd to wait until the soup was ready. I had at least two pieces of it while it was hot from the oven, and convinced the rest of my family to try some too so they too could enjoy the goodness that is freshly baked cornbread (and also so I would feel less greedy about chowing down on so much of it before dinner).

It’s amazing. And so addictive. And so versatile, too! We had it as a side dish with the soup yesterday, dipping it in to soak up the flavor. As I type this, I’m enjoying another piece with a bit of jam and a cup of coffee. And I have all these ideas for new recipes. Cheese-filled cornbread, served hot from the oven so the cheese is all melty and gooey? Or how about jam-filled cornbread as a nice sweet treat? You will most definitely be seeing more cornbread recipes on my blog in the near future, no doubt about it. Be excited!

Since I copied the exact recipe from the book with no alterations this time, I won’t be posting it up here, but I would highly recommend the book I got it from; “The Way We Used to Cook.”

Happy baking!

Banana, Walnut & Date Muffins with Coconut Sugar

BananaWalnutMuffins2

Ever made a promise to yourself but ended up not keeping it?

I have! Loads of times! Here are three I made and broke this month:

1. Make a new post on Sneaky Pudding at least once a week.

Nope, last post was on January 1st. I’m pretty sure that was more than a week ago.

2. Make some sort of celebratory cake in honour of Sneaky Pudding’s first birthday.

Again, nope. My blog actually turned one year old a couple of weeks ago, and I told myself I would whip up a pretty, nicely-decorated cake to share on my blog, but life got in the way as per usual.

3. Be a healthy person and don’t lick the leftover batter off the spoon before you put it in the wash.

That one was going well (probably because I haven’t been doing much baking this month) until last night when I baked those muffins that you’re about to read about. Seriously, those calories do count, I should stop pretending that they don’t! :P

So yeah, that’s my life story. Now let’s get on to the recipe.

See, we’re going for a holiday soon and we had a whole bunch of bananas just chilling in the fruit bowl. If they could talk, I’m sure they’d say, “Heh heh, we’re just gonna hang out here ‘til you get back and then we’ll be all brown and gross and make the whole house smell like banana.” Seriously, who wants to come home to that? So I figured, hey, why not transform some of those pesky bananas into a batch of Banana, Walnut & Date Muffins to share around? The whole batch was consumed by family and friends in under 24 hours – so, yes, it was a brilliant way to show those bananas who’s boss.

Oh, and this is my second recipe with coconut sugar. I know what you’re thinking (yes, I read minds) – “Again with the coconut sugar! What is with this girl and coconut sugar?” Seriously, try some! If you can’t find it though, substitute the same amount with light brown sugar, firmly packed.

What I like about these muffins is the fact that they are not overly sweet, but have very subtle caramel-y flavor thanks to the coconut sugar, which works nicely with the dates. Enjoy!

BananaWalnutMuffins1

Banana, Walnut & Date Muffins with Coconut Sugar

2 cups of self-raising flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ cup coconut sugar
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
1/3 cup dates, chopped
125g butter, melted
1 ¼ cup mashed banana
½ cup milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Lightly grease a 12-hole muffin tin, plus 6 holes of another muffin tin, with margarine.

Sift the flour and spices in a large mixing bowl, then sift in the coconut sugar and mix to combine.

Combine the eggs and milk in a smaller bowl. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the egg/milk mixture followed by the mashed banana and melted butter (make sure the butter has cooled slightly). Gently fold together until just combined, then stir through the walnuts and dates. Do not overmix the batter!

Distribute the batter evenly amongst the holes of the muffin tins. Bake for 20-25 minutes (I did one tin at a time, but you can do both at once depending on how spacious your oven is). The muffins are cooked if the edges are slightly browned, they spring back lightly when touched and a skewer inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean.

Cool muffins in the tin for a few minutes before carefully removing, and leave to cool completely on a cooling rack. Makes 18 muffins.