Fluffy, homemade muffins make any day more enjoyable. From tasty breakfasts through to afternoon snacks, these recipes will become your favourites bakes before long.
First came our dalliance with banana bread. Then our obsession with cinnamon buns. Then we experimented with chocolate brownies, American-style cookies and even pastel de nata. So it’s no surprise that while we’re slowly figuring out our new normal, our love of baking isn’t going anywhere fast.
And there’s one freshly baked treat that never fails to remind us of our favourite local bakery: muffins. Think of a warm batch emerging from the oven right now, the cake-like mixture spilling over the edges of the tin, and all of a sudden, it’s the only thing on your mind.
Now that autumn is almost here, there’s also something about whipping up a tray of muffins that feels suitably comforting for the season. And whether you’re looking for a wholesome morning version or a sweeter mix for your 3pm tea break, a homemade muffin can make any snack break infinitely more enjoyable.
So, to give you some inspiration, we’ve three recipes to sweeten your days – and they’re much more exciting than the varieties you’d find on a supermarket shelf. Cocoa lovers should scroll straight to the sweet and fudgy chocolate and hazelnut muffin recipe, which features the addition of beetroot for extra autumnal sweetness.
Love a morning muffin? Figs are the star of this wholemeal breakfast muffin recipe, which can also be customised with blackcurrants or grated apple to suit the season. Finally, the rich and moist raspberry muffins are an ideal pick-me-up with a cup of tea in the afternoon. Reusable muffin cases at the ready…
Fig breakfast muffins
The fruit can be varied to suit the season. Try adding raspberries, blackcurrants or grated apple instead of the fresh figs. You can change the flavour of the jam you use too, to suit.
Makes 12 large muffins or 16 regular muffins
Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking: 35 minutes
- butter, for greasing
- 120g wheat bran
- 120g plain yoghurt
- 1⁄2 tablespoon grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 3 tablespoons fig jam
- 120g soft light brown sugar
- 120ml sunflower oil
- 1 egg, plus
- 1 egg white
- 65g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 65g wholemeal flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- pinch of salt
- 50g pumpkin seeds, coarsely chopped
- 6 figs, de-stemmed and each cut across into 6 slices
- demerara sugar, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Line a baking sheet with baking paper. Butter and flour the holes of a jumbo muffin pan, or 16 holes of 2 non-stick 12-hole muffin pans.
Spread out the wheat bran on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Remove from the oven, turn the bran over once or twice and return to the oven for another 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix together the toasted wheat bran, yoghurt, lemon zest, honey, fig jam and soft brown sugar. Add 250 ml/ 8 fl oz (1 cup) water, the oil, egg and egg white and mix until well combined.
Sift the flours, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt into a large bowl. Stir into the wet ingredients, add the pumpkin seeds and mix until just combined, being sure to not over-mix.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan(s), filling each hole almost to the top. Top each one with 2 fig slices. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out clean.
Let cool in the pan(s) for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Sprinkle a little demerara sugar over the muffins before serving.
From Grow Fruit & Vegetables in Pots by Aaron Bertelsen (£24.95, Phaidon), out now
Hazelnut, beetroot and chocolate muffins
- 120g plain flour
- ½ cup ground hazelnuts
- 150g sugar
- 1½ tbsp vanilla sugar
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 pinch salt
- 200g cooked beetroot
- 150ml canola oil
- 3 eggs
For the topping:
- 100g dark cooking chocolate
- 50g icing sugar
- about 1½ tbsp beetroot juice
- red food colouring
- 80g hazelnuts
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line two 6-hole or one 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases; alternatively, butter the holes and dust them with flour to get beautifully smooth muffins.
Combine the flour, ground hazelnuts, sugar, vanilla sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Coarsely chop the beetroot and transfer to a tall mixing bowl together with the oil. Finely blend with a stick blender, then add the eggs one by one. Quickly stir in the dry ingredients in three batches to combine everything well.
Divide the batter among the muffin holes, filling them two-thirds full. Bake for about 22 minutes. Use a toothpick to test for doneness. Set the muffins aside to cool, then remove from the tins.
Melt the dark cooking chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Whisk the icing sugar, beetroot juice and a little food colouring together to make a bright pink icing.
Coarsely chop the hazelnuts and dry-roast in a frying pan until they smell fragrant. Glaze half of the cooled muffins with the chocolate and the other half with the icing. Sprinkle with the nuts.
From Fairytale Baking by Christin Geweke (£20, Murdoch Books), out now
These muffins are perfect for breakfast with a large coffee, but also great with a cup of tea mid-afternoon.
Makes 12 regular/6 jumbo-size muffins
Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 25 minutes (40 minutes for jumbo-size muffins)
- 120g softened unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
- 3 tablespoons demerara sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 200g white granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 250g plain (all-purpose) flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 165ml buttermilk
- 375g fresh raspberries
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5. Line a jumbo pan or a regular 12-hole pan with paper cups, or grease generously with extra butter.
Mix the demerara sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl and set aside.
Cream the butter and granulated sugar together in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs one at a time and mix until evenly incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and mix thoroughly. Combine the flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl.
Using a rubber spatula, fold the buttermilk into the batter along with half the flour. When mostly mixed, add the remaining flour. Carefully fold in the raspberries so they are evenly distributed but not too crushed. Spoon the batter equally into the prepared pan(s) and sprinkle with the sugar and cinnamon mixture.
Bake for 25–40 minutes (depending on size) until golden brown on top but still soft to the touch. When cool enough to handle, remove from the pan(s) and let cool completely on a wire rack.
From The Great Dixter Cookbook by Aaron Bertelsen (£24.95, Phaidon), out now
Photography: Andrew Montgomery; Yelda Yilmaz
Christobel Hastings is a London-based journalist covering pop culture, feminism, LGBTQ and lore.