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My Golden Pear

Tuesday, 16 July 2013


The latest Bake Along challenge is for these lovely baked doughnut muffins from The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook by Cheryl and Griffith DayI can't remember ever making traditional fried doughnuts and to be honest they would never be top of my list for a tea time treat.  I would probably have given this challenge a miss had it not been for my complete failure at making the last challenge which was a Japanese cheesecake.  I'm so glad I did try these as they are much nicer (in my opinion) than the heavy, fried version which seems to be so popular these days. 
 I made large muffins but I think next time I would opt for the smaller version as they would probably be easier to handle.  My favourite version so far has been Bake For Happy Kids which were done in a cake pop tin.  They look like the perfect size.


Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Yield: 6 large or 12 small muffins
  • 335g plain flour
  • tsp baking soda
  • 1¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 100ml milk
  • 1 tblsp plain yogurt
  • 70g butter
  • 85g sugar
  • 1 egg
For the coating:
  • 70g butter
  • 100g sugar
  • ½ tblsp ground cinnamon
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
  2. Lightly grease a muffin tray for 6 large or 12 small muffins.
  3. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a mixing bowl and set aside.
  4. Combine the milk and yogurt in a small jug and set aside.
  5. Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  6. Add the egg and beat until just combined.
  7. Add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with the milk mixture and mix until just combined - do not over mix.
  8. Spoon the batter into the prepared tin, filling approximately full.
  9. Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown and firm to touch.
  10. For the coating - melt the butter and place in a bowl.
  11. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon.
  12. Once the muffins have cooled completely, dunk first in the melted butter and then coat with the cinnamon sugar.                         
Best eaten fresh.
I will be submitting to Bake Along #43 hosted by Joyce from Kitchen Flavours
Written by : Angela Darroch

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Sunday, 3 March 2013


My kids eat a lot of fruit.  3 kgs of grapes, 1kg of blueberries, 16 plums, 12 apples, 6 bananas, 4 pears, 2 pkts of strawberries and a couple of oranges – and that's just in a week!  The first thing people say (apart from our dentist) when you tell them is “you’re so lucky,” and I agree but it is so, so expensive.  And as much as they love fruit it has to be the freshest, crispiest, crunchiest fruit that you can buy,  so no bargain buys for me.  The problem I had this week was that a lot of the blueberries were a bit squishy and I have to admit that even I struggle with soft, squishy blueberries but at £4 a punnet I have to find a way to use them up.  I don’t necessarily want to turn them into a sugar and fat laden dessert just for the sake of using them up so the healthiest option for me is these muffins I found in Annie Bell's Baking Bible.  The kids still refuse to eat them because of the squishy blueberries but they are the perfect snack for me together with my much loved daily cup of coffee. There is no butter in them and I have used a blend of sugar and stevia to cut down the sugar content and of course my favourite ingredient of the moment is the delicious seeded spelt flour from Sharpham Park.  These muffins are not necessarily frugal if you have to go out and buy the ingredients but if like me you have some over ripe fruit to use up then it is preferable to throwing the fruit out. 
   These muffins are deliciously moist and stay fresh for a few days and like most muffins will freeze really well. 

Blueberry & Orange Muffins
For the printable version - click here
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
Yield: 8 - 12 depending on size
  • 80 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 180 ml orange juice, no bits (approximately 2 large oranges)
  • finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 2 medium eggs (I used 2 large eggs)
  • 275 g plain flour (I used Sharpham Park Seeded Spelt Flour)
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 200 g golden caster sugar (I used 100g Tate & Lyle's Stevia & Sugar blend)
  • 150 g fresh blueberries (I used 200g)
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 190C (170C fan).
  2. Whisk the oil, orange juice, zest and eggs lightly in a bowl.
  3. Add the flour, baking powder and sugar and stir until just combined.
  4. Fold in two-thirds of the blueberries.
  5. Spoon the mixture into your muffin tray, two-thirds full.
  6. Scatter over the remaining blueberries and a little extra sugar and bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
As these muffins contain blueberries and have no butter in them they are perfect for A Kick at the Pantry Door's first Feel Good Challenge.
Recipe adapted from Annie Bell's Baking Bible   
Written by Angela Darroch    

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Friday, 25 January 2013


I can hardly contain my excitement whilst writing this post. Why? you may ask. It looks like just any other muffin topped with the usual artery clogging butter and sugar frosting. Well guess what - there is no butter, no refined sugar and it is grain free. I have most definitely not turned over a new leaf and gone super-duper healthy but I have been following the progress of a lady over in New Zealand who is trying to alleviate some of her health issues by changing her diet. Suzanne's blog is over at Strands of My Life and is full of interesting information about using alternative products to change the way we eat. Suzanne is adamant that going gluten, dairy and refined sugar free should not mean that she cannot have her sweet treats and this gorgeous treat below and many others are as a result of her hard work to achieve this.

The muffin itself is made with coconut oil, coconut flour, honey, carrots, raisins, shredded coconut, eggs, bicarb and cinnamon. I found the first two products at Holland & Barrett and they are not cheap. £14.00 for the two products is a lot to pay but if you are plagued with food intolerances then you may have these items already. I was just curious and wanted to try them out for myself. The baked muffin is quite heavy and dense but not unpleasant. It is sweet and tasty and very moist. But the piece de resistance is the fabulous chocolate frosting. This is made from avocado, cocoa and honey. It is unbelievably thick and creamy and has absolutely no taste of avocado. Suzanne explains about the benefits of avocados so I will not repeat it here. If like me, you have children then you will know that it is usually the frosting on a cupcake that they go for, leaving the cupcake for someone else to finish off (me). Every time I watch my children devour all this butter and sugar I feel guilty but this would be so different. Yes, avocados contain fat but it is good fat and honey is so much better for you than all that refined sugar that makes up icing sugar.

I have just returned from picking my 6 y/o up from school and couldn't wait for him to try one of these muffins. I had placed the muffin so that he would see it as soon as he came into the kitchen and of course he begged to have it there and then. I was trying to act as normal as possible so as not to alert him to the fact that is was different. He took his first lick of icing, looked at me and said "did you make this?" Oh here we go, he's sussed me out, I thought. "Yes," I said, "why?" He walked over to me and gave me a big hug and said "this is so yummy, thanks." He didn't eat the muffin but that is not unusual.

The next time I make chocolate cupcakes for the kids I will definitely use this frosting.  It is just so much healthier than the buttercream frosting I normally use.

For this fabulous recipe and more information on going grain, dairy and refined sugar free pop over to

Because these muffins are sugar free I am going to submit them to the We Should Cocoa challenge which is hosted by
and to the Calendar Cakes challenge which is hosted by
Written by : Angela Darroch

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Sunday, 25 November 2012


We all have recipes that we turn to time and time again.  The ones that never let us down, the guaranteed crowd pleasers, the ones that just make us feel good.  These banana muffins are one such recipe.  I hate to think how many I have made over the years.  They freeze beautifully so there is no excuse to not have some freshly made muffins on hand when those unexpected visitors pop in.  I normally let my bananas ripen until the skin is black and really soft.  They look terrible but have so much more flavour than their yellow and slightly under ripe partners.  If I am not ready to make the muffins I'll peel and mash them up and freeze the pulp until such time as I am ready to bake. 
 Today was such a grey, miserable day with the rain lashing down from early morning that I could think of nothing nicer than putting a fresh pot of coffee on to brew and having some fresh home cooked banana muffins to cheer us up.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Yield: 12 (large)
  • 240g plain flour
  • 125g butter
  • 250ml (1 cup) soft brown sugar
  • 4 very ripe bananas (peeled and mashed)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2ml (1/2 tsp) salt
  • 5ml (1 tsp) bicarbonate of soda
  • 3 tblsp water
  • 7ml (1.5 tsp) baking powder
Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F).
  2. Cream butter and sugar until light and creamy.
  3. Stir in the mashed bananas and beat to combine thoroughly.
  4. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, blending well.
  5. Sift flour and salt onto mixture and stir well.
  6. Dissolve bicarbonate of soda in water and stir into mixture.
  7. Add baking powder and stir well.
  8. Pour batter into muffin moulds and bake for 20 - 25 minutes.
  9. Cool in tin, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Written by : Angela Darroch       

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