January 17, 2009

Sticky Toffee Muffins with Crunchy Nutty Topping

Toffee Muffins 2

MUNCH RATING: 4/5

This recipe is from the MacMillan Cancer Support booklet that came out in 2008 and I have added my own twist by adding a crunchy topping of hazelnuts and demerara sugar. This is a great contrast to the light, fluffy and moist inside of the muffin.

These muffins are healthier than you might think as the 'Sticky Toffee' element comes from using dates and sultanas, which I was a bit dubious about because I don't like eating dates. However, like Sticky Toffee Pudding, you don't notice them but they somehow give a depth of flavour. Steve doesn't like dates or sultanas and he loved these muffins so it's a sneaky way to get people to eat fruit!

This was a perfect post-Xmas recipe because Steve's mum always buys dates and unshelled nuts for Xmas and no one ever eats them, so this is a great way to use them up!

This mixture makes 12 proper sized muffins (with a bit of mixture leftover) so you could use smaller fairy cake cases to make double the amount.

  • Makes: 12 Muffins
  • Oven Temperature: Gas mark 5/375°F/190°C
  • Oven shelf: Middle-top
  • You will need: muffin/cake pan lined with paper cases and a saucepan

Muffin Ingredients:

  • 200g/7oz Soft Brown Sugar (I used half Brown Caster and half Dark Muscovado for that treacle flavour)
  • 175g/60z Raisins or Sultanas
  • 175g/60z Chopped Dates
  • 175g/6oz Butter
  • 200ml/7 fl.oz water
  • 2 medium Eggs, beaten (I only had large eggs so I used 2 that were on the small side)
  • 300g/10.5 oz Plain Flour
  • 2 level Tablespoons Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Mixed Spice (I didn't have any so I used some Nutmeg, Cinnamon and Ground Ginger)
Topping Ingredients:
  • About 30g/1oz nuts, finely chopped (I used hazelnuts which I chopped in my mini-chopper)
  • 1 Tablespoon of demerara sugar
Directions:
  1. Place the sugar, raisins/sultanas, dates and butter in a saucepan with 200ml (7 fl.oz) water. Gently heat to melt the butter, mixing together well.
  2. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for about 10 minutes (you can speed up the cooling process by stirring the mixture and sitting the pan in a bowl of cold water).
  3. When the mixture is cool enough to touch with your finger, beat in the eggs (if the mixture is too hot you will scramble the eggs!).
  4. Add the flour, baking powder and mixed spice (I sifted these in) and carefully incorporate into the wet ingredients with the minimum of mixing - don't overmix as this makes muffins chewy.
  5. Spoon into the prepared muffin cases. The recipe says to fill them three-quarters full but there was so much mixture that I filled them to the top.
  6. Mix together the nuts and demerara sugar and then sprinkle the topping over the muffins.
  7. Give the tin a sharp tap on the counter to even out the mixture - I find this knocks out any unwanted air bubbles.
  8. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until well risen and springy to the touch.
  9. Allow to cool in tin for a few minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.

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