Fruity, Wholemeal, Rather Healthy Muffins

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Do you ever just crave something a bit “sweet” to go with your morning coffee or afternoon tea?

Because I do, quite often actually. Especially when I’m at work and the coffee van (yes we have a special van that delivers coffee straight to our door, be jealous) comes around. When I’m waiting out there for my usual skinny latte, I can help but ogle the delicious croissants and slices of banana bread on display. Seriously, banana bread and coffee = the best combination.

Or when I’m at my computer working on projects at home, and it’s that time of the afternoon when I want my coffee hit… and whilst waiting for the water to boil, that tin of biscuits in the cupboard or that packet of blueberry scones that someone decided to pick up whilst at the shops looks ever so tempting.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a treat once in a while. I do like my coffee and cake on a special occasion. But if you make it a frequent thing, the calories (and the sugar!) adds up. Plus, a sweet treat with my morning or afternoon cuppa generally leaves my energy levels all over the place. Not good, when I need to focus on my work.

The other day, I happened upon some healthy recipe magazines from a few years back, that were gathering dust on my bookshelf. It had been forever since I’d read them, so I thought I’d pick one up and have a flip through, with the hope that I might possibly stumble across a magical recipe that will make me be skinny for ever and ever no matter how much of it I eat, or perhaps just something that’s healthy and simple to make.

I did end up finding the latter. I found a recipe for healthy muffins, and when I saw that it didn’t contain cane sugar it was instantly added to my to-bake list and then successfully crossed off later that afternoon. These muffins are sweetened only by fruit. Though the recipe called for two apples, I decided to substitute one of them for some frozen raspberries; I also threw in some pistachios and chopped dates. I used olive oil, as well, because that’s all I had but you can probably use whatever oil tickles your fancy.

These make an excellent accompaniment to morning or afternoon tea. They’re filling, sweet-but-not-too-sweet, and contain a good dose of delicious fruit. I think the fact that the apples are cooked beforehand makes them nice and soft and brings out their flavor. The muffins are quite moist (don’t you just love the word “moist”?) and should last for a good few days, particularly if refrigerated. Enjoy!

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Fruity Wholemeal Muffins
(adapted from Healthy Food Guide magazine)

2/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 apple, peeled and diced
1/3 cup frozen raspberries (or any fruit of your choosing)
1 medium banana, mashed
¼ cup chopped dates
1 egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup olive oil
1 ½ cups wholemeal flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
a pinch of salt
¼ cup pistachios (or other nut of your choosing)

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

Combine orange juice, apple, raspberries and banana in a saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until apples are softened. Set aside to cool.

Sift the flour (return the husks to the bowl), cinnamon, salt and baking powder into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the egg and oil. Add the egg mixture and the fruit mixture, along with the nuts, to the flour mixture and mix until just combined.

Spoon the batter into the prepared paper cases and bake for about 20 minutes, until a skewer inserted through the centre of one of the muffins comes out clean. Remove from tin and cool on a wire rack.

Depending on how large you make each muffin, you make have enough batter left over to make another half a batch. I managed to make about 17 small-ish muffins, but you can make larger ones and less of them if you wish.

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White Chocolate & Mixed Berry Brownies

Hi, everyone! So, I’ve been majorly neglecting this blog lately. I literally haven’t posted anything for the past 14 weeks or so, as I’ve been so busy with college. But although I haven’t been blogging, doesn’t mean I haven’t been baking! I did find a few opportunities to get back in the kitchen, take out my mixing bowls and fire up the oven. And now that it’s the holidays, you can hopefully expect a whole lot more!

The recipe I’m posting today is one that I made for my brother’s birthday way back in March. We were having some guests over for dinner and this called for dessert as well, and since I look for any opportunity to bake, I gladly appointed myself as the dessert chef for that particular event.

The white chocolate in these brownies is sweet and creamy, and contrasts nicely with the tanginess of the berries. I just used a packet of frozen berries, but you could probably use fresh if you wanted too. They taste amazing when served slightly warm with some vanilla ice cream, but are also great the next day after they’ve been refridgerated too.

White Chocolate & Mixed Berry Brownies
(adapted from recipes+ magazine)

125g butter, chopped
200g white cooking chocolate
100g white chocolate chips
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup plain flour
1/2 cup self raising flour
3/4 firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup (approx.) mixed berries
1/4 cup chopped macadamias (optional)

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Grease and line a slice/brownie tin.
In a small saucepan, combine the butter and the white cooking chocolate and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until melted. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl, leaving to cool for a few minutes. Stir in the sugar and egg until well combined, then sift the flour, salt and cinnamon over it. Stir until combined. Gently fold in the choc chips, mixed berries, and macadamias if using.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and back for about 45 minutes. Cool in the pan before removing and slicing.