Rhubarb & Cinnamon Muffins

I felt inspired this afternoon.  I bought a bunch of rhubarb this week because my boys LOVE the stuff, heck, so do I.  I was planning to make a yummy rhubarb crumble for dessert but decided I would try to make something from scratch, no recipe, you know – Masterchef-style.  So here it is.

Muffin batter

2 cups plain flour
3/4 cup white sugar
2-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk – You could use sour cream but I love the light texture that buttermilk brings to any baked good.
60ml vegetable oil – Again, I always substitute butter for oil when baking muffins as it adds a consistency that I really like in my muffins.  Each to their own though 🙂
2 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups 1cm diced rhubarb

Topping

3 tbs brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Position a rack in the centre of the oven and heat the oven to 180C. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin or line with baking cups.

Make the muffin batter:

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt and whisk to blend.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Lightly stir the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients with a spatula until the batter just comes together. Fold in the diced rhubarb. The batter will be thick, don’t worry – this is good!

Divide the batter among the muffin cups and make sure you fill quite full so they puff nice and plump!

Make the topping:

In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon and mix well. Sprinkle a generous 1/2 tsp. of the cinnamon-sugar mixture over each muffin.

Bake the muffins until they’re golden brown, about 20 minutes.  Insert a skewer and make sure it comes out clean first.  Let them cool slightly before serving warm with a dollop of double cream – absolutely delightful!  Seriously love this recipe!

New Year, new recipes.

So it’s 2012!  Over the last month I have been pondering and planning, making goals for 2012 and getting really excited about it.  One of my goals this year is to learn new skills in the areas I am passionate in.  Obviously, baking is one of those areas.  One of my 30th birthday gifts was a voucher to The Cake School, I am so looking forward to spending some time for me, doing something that I love and hopefully learning something as well.

I got this for Christmas.

Adriano Zumbo has seriously inspired me since he appeared on Masterchef a few years ago.  I love that he is passionate about what he does, and it just so happens that I share his love of creating desserts!  His techniques and recipes are amazing and I aim to try and tackle as many of these recipes as I can this year!  I plan to share pics, recipes and perhaps the finished product 😉

I really want to inspire you to find your passions and start doing what makes you happy.  I have found it extremely liberating and re-energising and I hope you will too.

Imparting the baking legacy.

My husband is a great cook and really enjoys being in the kitchen – although we are not great when we cook TOGETHER – we are working on it though!  His mum really did me a favour by teaching and encouraging him to cook and try new things in the kitchen.

I have 3 boys and I am adamant that when they leave home they are going to know how to cook more than just eggs on toast.  That is one of the gifts I would like to give to my future daughter-in-laws 🙂  Just as my mum cooked with me and shared her passion for hospitality, I will do the same with my boys.  Not only this, I am also passionate about imparting knowledge, wisdom, and stories from my life to my boys and setting them up to be well equipped young men who love Jesus and know who they are in Him.

My boys have already had many opportunities to cook with me and they REALLY enjoy it – especially the licking the bowl part (but don’t we all?).  I hope that I will be cooking with my boys for many years to come and that they learn to understand the value and significance of being able to cook and prepare food for people.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Bars (Gluten Free)

Anyone that knows me well knows that I luuuurve peanut butter and chocolate ANYTHING!  I am always on the look out for new peanut butter/choc recipes so I was even more stoked to discover this GLUTEN FREE one!  There is something about gluten free foods that make me feel like I am being less naughty and indulgent – it’s probably not true but I am happy to live in that bubble.  Haha!

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Bars (Gluten-Free) – Recipe from Keep it Sweet

  • 3 cups gluten-free rolled oats (oatmeal is naturally gluten-free but may be processed with other gluten foods; check the package if serving anyone who has a gluten allergy)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup smooth natural salted peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chunks
  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C and spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray
  2. Whisk together oatmeal and baking soda; set aside
  3. Beat peanut butter on high speed until light and creamy
  4. Beat in applesauce (I just stewed my own apples for this)
  5. Add sugars and beat until light and fluffy
  6. Add egg whites and vanilla; beat on medium speed until combined
  7. Stir in oatmeal mixture
  8. Stir in chocolate
  9. Pour batter into prepared pan
  10. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until knife comes out clean
  11. Allow to cool before slicing
  12. Store at room temperature in a covered container up to 2 days or freeze up to 1 month
Just a tip – trying these just out of the oven is AMAZING!!
(photo is not mine – compliments of Keep it Sweet)

Homemade Marshmallows

I’m a little late posting the recipe and pics for this – better late than never!  I am a huge marshmallow fan – and can I just say, these babies take my addiction to a whole new level.  They are fairly easy to make but they get a bit tricky and sticky smoothing them into the tin and getting the smooth surface right.

Marshmallows – recipe from Better Homes and Gardens magazine

Melted butter for greasing

1 3/4 cups caster sugar

1 cup boiling water

2 tbs powdered gelatine

1/2 cup of cold water

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Pink food colouring (optional)

2 cups icing sugar mixture

Grease a slice tin with melted butter and line with baking paper.  Combine sugar and hot water in a medium saucepan over a high heat.  Bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes.

Put gelatine and cold water in a bowl and whisk with a fork to combine.  Set aside for 5 minutes to bloom (until it looks a little light and fluffy).  Add sugar syrup and whisk until clear.  Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Put sugar mixture, vanilla and food colouring, if using, in the large bowl of an electric mixer and beat, using paddle attachment, on medium for 12-15 minutes or until thick and glossy.  Spoon into prepared tin and set aside for 1 hour or until set.

Cut into squares using a slightly damp knife.  Roll marshmallows in icing sugar and serve.

For an even decadent treat – try Donna Hay’s Double Hot Chocolate recipe with the home made marshmallows!

double hot chocolate 

Blogtober is here!

So apparently October is Blogtober month.  News to me – but hey, I’ll give it a go.  The challenge is to blog everyday.  We’ll see how I go.

By the way, like my new blog header?  Compliments of my awesomely talented Tam, who also has a blog Around Here – she is a SUPER creative and talented in so many areas – make sure you check out her blog and be inspired 🙂

Anyway, I am going to leave you with some inspiration.  I SO wanna make this cake – it is beautiful!! This cake company is amazing Sweet and Saucy – check out their gallery!

Birthday Baking Part 3: The Official Cake – The Robot

So I’m a perfectionist.  There I said it.  Buttercream icing DEFINITELY brings out the perfectionist in me.  Let’s just say leaving the icing of the cake until the morning of his birthday was a huge mistake.  I was aware that it was going to cause havoc but I really had no choice as time was my enemy.  So, icing the cake under time pressure and amidst 3 excited boys awaiting a party ended with a less than perfect result and me feeling really annoyed that the cake was not ‘right’.  But Blake, on first glimpse of the finished cake, declares ‘Oh wow Mum, thats even better than the picture’ – it totally gave me a wake up call.  This cake was not about me looking good – it was about a 6 year old feeling happy and excited about his robot cake.  Perspective check??  Um yes indeed.

So here is the imperfect robot cake – that still tasted delicious!