It works a treat with these September fruits. The muffins are versatile and freeze beautifully so you can make a batch when you have time and defrost them individually as required. They make quite big muffins - packed with all that fruit - so if you want smaller ones, use an additional tin and put less mixture into each wrapper.
These are American-style muffins and accordingly the measurements are in cups.
What you need:
(Makes 12 big muffins)
2 1/2 cups plain white flour;
1/2 cup soft brown muscovado sugar;
2 tsps baking powder;
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda;
2 tsps ground mixed spice (or cinnamon);
2/3 cup light, neutral-tasting vegetable oil (I use almond oil);
1 cup wholemilk yoghurt;
1/4 cup runny honey;
1 large egg;
approximately two eating apples, three if they are on the small side; (The intact bits of partially damaged, fallen apples are fine - just cut away any bruised bits and use the equivalent amount of apple you estimate you'd get from two or three perfect ones.)
about 150 - 200g blackberries, washed and dried on kitchen paper
What you do:
Preheat the oven to 190 C and line a 12 hole muffin tin with muffin papers.
Stir the first five ingredients thoroughly together in a large bowl, mashing up any lumps of brown sugar as you go.
Stir or whisk together the next four ingredients in a jug. I am using my own bantam eggs here which is why there are two yolks rather than one in the jug as I find two small bantam eggs are the equivalent of one large ordinary hen's egg.
Peel, core and dice your apples and put on one side with the blackberries.
All easy peasy so far. Now for the bit which can be stressful. You are supposed not to overmix muffins as it can make them lumpy and tough which always makes me a bit nervous in case, in my efforts to avoid raw clumps of flour, I've gone past the limit and am heading for concretesville but I find this recipe and its method is pretty good-tempered so take heart if you are a nervous muffin-maker and grab your spoon without a qualm!
Pour your jug of mixed liquid ingredients into your bowl of dry ones and mix with a large spoon well enough and confidently enough so that the mixture looks cohesive and there aren't patches of flour glaring at you. As I say, this recipe is good tempered, I find, so if you want to give an extra turn or two of the spoon to make sure things are mixed properly, go ahead and don't worry about it.
Now add your fruit and fold in with your spoon. Try to be gentle here as, regardless of any issues of toughness, you don't want to bash the fruit about too much. Doing the mixing in two stages makes things easier, I find, as the muffin mixture is basically already mixed by the time you add your fruit. Alternatively you can use frozen berries which can take rougher treatment in the mixing but you will need to cook the muffins for longer in this case. May be up to another ten minutes. The only snag with using frozen fruit is that it can be a fine balance between getting the insides cooked and not over-browning the outsides!
Spoon into your waiting muffin papers, filling them two thirds to three quarters full for generous ones or if you want to make more smaller ones, just fill them half full and move onto your second muffin tin.
Sprinkle the tops with a little bit of demerara sugar, if you like, before popping them in the oven for about 20 minutes until they are well-risen and their tops golden and streaked with purple from the blackberry juice. Leave the muffins in their tins - they are quite fragile while hot and leave to cool on a wire rack.
Once cooled, enjoy them fresh or freeze them in freezer bags for some other time. Fabulous with tea or coffee, any time of day (or night).
I find they make especially good (and reasonably healthy) term-time breakfasts when time is short. They can be defrosting quickly in the microwave while I hunt down missing rugby, swimming or rowing kit and H packs the books that he was supposed to have packed in his bag the previous night. There is then time to wolf down a now-warm muffin and get out of the door for the school bus at 7.30 am. Those happy term-time days are now back upon us - in fact they no longer even feel new! Where does the time go, I wonder?