With a newly acquired oven and a short break from baking, I will have to go back to the beginning, following the trail that I have left behind since I last embarked on my baking journey. I will start from the very basic, moving one step at a time, hopefully by doing so, I am able to learn and re-learn some of the things that I have picked up over the past few years. I wish I could also move out of my comfort zone, be a little more adventurous in trying out new recipes; be brave enough to challenge more advanced techniques, especially those which make my knees wobble before I even got through reading the first three steps of the instructions.
As I move from one milestone to another...making quick breads, cookies before progressing to layered cakes and bread making, I am certain I would take side steps along the way. It is hard to fight off the temptation to replicate mouth-watering desserts that appeared on my screen each time I visit a food blog, it certainly doesn't help that I am a loyal follower to a long list of favourite food bloggers. Thanks to them, they are my daily sources of inspirations, my teachers :)
Muffins are one of the first few 'cakes' I learned to bake from cookbooks and online baking sites. I could still remember reading up on how to achieve the perfect high-domed muffins. Not only are muffins simple and quick to put together, they are also very forgiving and highly adaptable. As long as you stick to some of the fundamental baking rules, you can always play around with the ingredients.
These Mixed Berries Muffins are unique to my baking repertoire though. They are made using the 'creaming method' instead of the usual 'muffin method' which I am more comfortable with. The process of making these muffins is not very different from making cupcakes or butter cakes, where you beat butter and sugar together before adding eggs, milk and fold in the flour to form the batter.
I baked them using the top and bottom heat function of my Bosch oven. The muffins were baked to a nice golden brown when the cooking time was up. It is great that my new oven comes with a digital timer. The oven will not turn off when the timer beeps. Which is what I prefer. Baking time stated in recipes serves as a guide only, everyone's oven works differently, so we may need to either remove the cake earlier from the oven or leave it to bake a minute or two longer. The oven function is not as limited as it seems. It actually allows you to set it in such a way that you could let it turn on or/and turn off automatically at a specific time, I find this very useful for heating up food or using if to cook food where cooking time is not that critical.
Would you care to join me on my baking trail?
Mixed Berries Muffins
(makes 8 muffins)
110g unsalted butter, soften @ room temperature
50g caster sugar (original recipe calls for 60g)
50g light brown sugar (original recipe calls for 60g)
1 1/2 eggs (large), lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
160g plain flour ((original recipe calls for 140g flour, 20g almond powder)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
100g strawberries (optional)
- Wash and drain blueberries and strawberries. Cut strawberries into small chunks. Dry berries with paper towels and toss them in 1~2 teaspoons of flour(extra). Set aside.
- Sieve together flour, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl. Set aside.
- With an electric whisk, cream butter with sugar till the mixture turns pale, light and fluffy.
- Dribble in the eggs gradually and beat till incorporated in the batter.
- Add vanilla extract. Whisk to combine.
- Add milk followed by two tablespoons of the flour mixture in Step 2. (The flour mixture is added to prevent the batter from curdling when the milk is added.) Whisk to combine.
- Sieve over remaining flour mixture and add in the berries. With a spatula fold the mixture until the flour is just incorporate into the batter. DO NOT over mix. The batter should be thick and not thin and runny.
- Spoon batter into paper muffin cups. Bake in pre-heated oven at 180degC for 25~30 min until muffins turn golden brown or a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack. Serve warm.