Muesli muffins that are neither rabbit fodder nor sweepings off a barn floor, as my brothers called our Bircher muesli breakfasts in the ’70s. Possible? These muffins may be wholesome but they’re not Puritanical in taste at all!
Most weekday breakfasts just don’t hit high on the Richter scale of enjoyment do they though? Let’s face it, muesli can take a lot of munching and in the morning rush, every second counts. Not that I am advocating not sitting down for the first meal of the day.
So what, I wondered, could I make out of virtuous muesli that wasn’t too heavy, and wouldn’t be rock hard or too time-consumingly chewy? I needed something that would make it possible to have a decent breakfast on the move. Flapjacks ooze with sugar, so they were off the menu. Muesli muffins but without the grittiness and jaw-aching of the dreaded cereal munch, perhaps? A batch of muesli muffins it was then, whipped up on Sunday night with the thought in mind that they’d see us through most of the week’s breakfasts or school lunchboxes.
These muffins are designed to turn the tables on those 42 chews each mouthful of muesli; a cereal which can be quite lacklustre an affair swirling in milk and only slightly more appealing with yoghurt. Grinding up the muesli to a flour and mixing this with regular flour gave them the rise and lightness.
Warming spices of ginger and cinnamon and extra nuts to top, and a meagre sprinkling of demerara sugar, added autumnal flavours. Why the figs? I wanted some fruit and clearing out my freezer, I discovered a large bag of frozen figs harvested in early September. Figs freeze well, but are mushy when defrosted so while not that presentable by themselves, chopped up they added just the right gooeyness in the centre of the muffin mix. I also discovered a lingering last jar of fig jam from three years ago, so I have to admit, I dolloped a spoonful or two into the mixture for colour, but you can easily leave it out as well as use plums or other seasonal fruits diced in the mix, such as pears.
Muesli Muffins with Fig, Ginger & Walnuts
Makes 8 deep muffins or up to 12 smaller ones.
- 180g plain flour
- 70g muesli (unsweetened, or use porridge oats. Don’t use tropical or too fruity a muesli)
- 2 heaped tsps baking powder
- 60g caster sugar
- 2 rounded tsps ground ginger
- 2 rounded tsps ground cinnamon
- 50g walnuts (chopped to top the muffins)
- pinch of fine salt
- 2 large eggs, whisked
- 120g unsalted butter
- 100ml milk mixed with 80ml natural yoghurt
- 1 capful of vanilla essence
- 4 whole figs (substitute with 2 plums or pears if figs not in season)
- 1 dessert spoon Demerara sugar for topping
- Pre-heat oven to 180°C (fan oven). Prepare a 12-hole deep muffin tin (line with muffin papers if using, if not, grease lightly. Silicon moulds ideal if you have them as muffins just pop out easily).
- Put the muesli (ideally, basic muesli with the less sugar the better) in a blender or food processor and whiz up until it is a very fine consistency like a flour. Put the muesli flour in a bowl and sieve in all the other dry ingredients. Add the diced figs or other fruit if using but retain some pieces for the top of muffins.
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter gently over a low heat, remove and then allow to cool slightly. Whisk the eggs and vanilla essence together, then whisk in the milk and yoghurt. Then, pour in the melted butter and whisk up all the wet ingredients til blended together.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir firmly and swiftly to incorporate them. At this point, add a spoonful of a complementary fruit jam, if you’re feeling indulgent, but this is optional! Don’t beat the mix, but ensure no dry bits are left. The mixture should remain slightly lumpy, so don’t beat smooth.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared cases or moulds to around ¾ full in each. Place 3 small pieces of fig (or other fruit) on the muffin tops, sprinkle with a light dusting of demerara sugar and then bake for around 25-30 minutes until risen, golden and firm to touch. If making larger muffins, test them with a cocktail stick to see if they’re cooked inside.
- Leave to cool for five minutes, then turn out of moulds/tins. If using paper cases, you can remove the muffins almost immediately from the supporting moulds as the cases tend to go greasy if you leave them in tins to cool.