The lab was a glum place to be on Thursday after that last gutting America’s Cup race. Actually, NZ was a glum place to be. Except, presumably, the place in Warkworth where most of the Oracle USA boat was built. So Team NZ was beaten by a boat largely built and designed in NZ… Totally not awkward at all, nope. Anyway. It’s depressing, so let’s not dwell on it too much. My actual point is, we were all feeling a bit sulky. And the solution to that is… cake. Obviously. Come on, this is a food blog. Food is always the answer.
I wasn’t sure what I wanted to bake. Luckily though, Dom has set the theme of puddings, cakes and bakes for this month’s Random Recipes, so that conveniently bypassed the whole issue of indecision. I randomly picked out A Treasury of NZ Baking, and randomly opened it at page 78: crunchy lemon muffins. Oh hello… After coming down with a cold over the weekend and being given lemons by several lovely people, I have plenty to use up. Inspired by all the hot toddies that I’ve been making with said lemons, I added some ginger to the muffins. I considered adding whisky, too, but decided to save that experiment for another time (I totally didn’t get distracted and forget).
They didn’t come out very crunchy. As in, they didn’t come out crunchy at all. I’m not entirely sure why, but I’m guessing it’s something to do with the glaze, which certainly made them sticky – perhaps too much of the sugar dissolved in the lemon juice or our house is too humid and the crunch was lost. Despite that, they were utterly delicious and lemony, which I love, with a hint of ginger poking through. So I’ll definitely be making them again. Especially since they’re also super quick to prepare – start to finish only took about 40 minutes. Amazing or what?
Sticky lemon & ginger muffins
Makes 15 muffins
Adapted from A Treasury of New Zealand Baking
Avoid using muffin liners as I think they’ll just go soggy from the glaze – silicone moulds or directly baking in the muffin holes are the way forward. These are best eaten within two days, either warm or room temperature.
For the muffins:
75g unsalted butter
250g all-purpose flour
175g caster sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground ginger
Pinch of salt
Zest of 2 unwaxed lemons
For the glaze:
60ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
60g caster sugar
To make the muffins:
1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/fan oven 200°C. Set out 15 silicon moulds or butter 15 holes in muffin tins.
2. Melt the butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little.
3. Meanwhile, sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, ginger and salt together into a large bowl and whisk together with a fork.
4. Add the milk, egg and lemon zest to the bowl of butter and whisk together with a fork. Add to the bowl of dry ingredients and fold through with a metal spoon until just combined (you don’t want the mixture to be super smooth and traces of flour is good). Add a heaped spoonful of batter to each muffin mould or hole. Bake for about 12 mins until lightly browned and the tops spring back when lightly pressed.
To make the glaze:
5. Whilst they are baking, add the lemon juice and caster sugar to a small bowl. Don’t mix.
6. Once the muffins are out of the oven, brush the tops with the glaze using a pastry brush. Try not to stir the glaze to minimise the sugar dissolving. Repeat until all the glaze is used up. Allow the muffins to sit in their moulds/tin for 5 mins before lifting them out onto a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or cooled to room temperature.