This month for the Random Recipe challenge, Dom asked us to go “back to basics” and follow the original rules as set out for the very first challenge – randomly choose a cookbook and then randomly choose a recipe from it. This was quite exciting because I only joined the challenge in its second month, so I missed the very first totally random choice of recipe. So out came my trusty calculator and its random number generator (I’d probably cheat if I had to shuffle all my cookery books on the floor) and the chosen book was Baking – 100 everyday recipes, a lovely little book that was part of my Graduation present from Craig. I was actually quite excited by this choice because it’s full of recipes that look really good but that I haven’t had the occasion to try out yet. My calculator directed me to page 74, a recipe for fig and almond muffins, which I’ve actually been meaning to test since I got the book. What an excellent coincidence! I was sure I had all the ingredients and yesterday, having mostly recovered from my very annoying bout of tonsillitis, I desperately wanted to bake something so I decided to give them a go…
The odd thing about this recipe is that it doesn’t contain any eggs. Not that I have anything against recipes that don’t contain egg, it’s just that I’ve never made muffins without eggs before. Actually, that’s a lie – Kat and I unintentionally made muffins without egg once (for some reason, we just totally forgot the egg… Woops.) and well, they didn’t turn out all that great (Craig still talks about them with a slight look of polite horror on his face). Then, having started weighing out the dry ingredients, I realised that I didn’t actually have any almonds, which only happen to be one of the main ingredients. Uhm, woops. Luckily, I seem to stockpile ground almonds (presumably in case I have to make 100 million macarons as an emergency or something. You never know, it could happen. Maybe.), so a little bit of substitution was clearly in order.
I must admit that as I popped the muffins in the oven, I really wasn’t expecting a great deal from them. I wasn’t convinced that water and two tablespoons of oil would be enough moisture to make up for the lack of egg and milk or yoghurt. They looked more similar to a gloopy mess than to any muffin mixture I’ve made before. Against my expectations though, they rose perfectly and came out looking beautifully presentable. They also turned out to be rather delicious, though perhaps a bit too much on the sweet side (I’ve reduced the amount of sugar in the recipe), and although there was obviously no crunch from the chopped almonds that weren’t there, the little seeds of the dried figs are nice and crunchy and give a good texture. We ended up having some as a mid-afternoon snack yesterday and spread with some butter for breakfast today. Delicious!
Fig & almond muffins
Adapted from Baking – 100 everyday recipes
These muffins are remarkably easy and quick to throw together – the most time-consuming step is chopping up the dried figs, and that hardly takes very long! The muffins are delicious both warm out of the oven or cold, and both as a snack or for breakfast. The original recipe suggests sprinkling about 2 tbsp flaked or chopped almonds over the top of the muffins before baking. I didn’t have any so I obviously didn’t do that, but they’d be a pretty addition to the muffins.
200g all-purpose flour
100g ground almonds
175g golden caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
95g dried figs
2 tbsp organic rapeseed oil
1 tbsp almond essence
1. Line a tin muffin tin with 12 muffin cups or set out 12 silicone muffin moulds on a baking tray. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C.
2. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Add the ground almond and stir together well.
3. Finely chop the dried figs and add them to a medium-sized bowl. Add the oil, almond essence and water and mix well. Stir the fig mixture into the dry ingredients, taking care to not to over-mix (it’s fine if the mixture is a bit lumpy).
4. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cups and bake for 25-30 mins, until risen and golden and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
5. Serve warm or allow to cool on a wire rack.