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No Bake Nutty Energy Balls

Thursday 31 January 2013

I whipped up a batch of these after school the other day and delivered some to a friend on the school run this morning.  They went down well with both her family and mine.  

These No Bake Nutty Energy Balls are great for an after school snack or quick energy boosting snack to put in packed lunches.  The recipe contains rather a lot of nuts so please be mindful of those with nut allergies and check with your child's school as they may have a nut-free lunches policy.

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup ground almonds
½ cup finely chopped dates
½ cup crunchy peanut butter
80ml honey or golden syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Heat the peanut butter and honey in a microwave safe jug for 30 seconds which will make it easier to mix the ingredients together.  Stir in the vanilla and ensure the wet ingredients are totally combined.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until everything is thoroughly incorporated.  Put the mixture into the fridge for 30 minutes to chill then roll into balls.  Store in an airtight container and keep in the fridge for up to a week. 

I decided to dip half the balls in some melted dark chocolate for a slightly more decadent treat.  Dip the chilled balls in dark chocolate then put them on a tray lined with non-stick baking paper.  Chill once again in the fridge until the chocolate has set.

Baking Using Breakfast Cereals

I like baking with cereals as it helps get some vitamins and fibre into kids whilst also providing an energy boost after school or at lunchtime. I used Weetabix this time but have previously used Cornflakes instead.  These recipes are firm favourites in our household and I hope you will enjoy baking them too.  They are quick to make, so easy that kids can help make them too, great for lunchboxes, after school snacks, kids parties and coffee mornings.  What more could you want?!

Chocolate Weetabix Slice

4 Weetabix, crushed
150g plain flour
35g coconut
110g sugar
1 Tblsp cocoa powder
70g butter, roughly cut into cubes
60ml hot water

Mix 1 or 2 Tblsp of cocoa powder with enough icing sugar and a little milk to make a spreadable icing.

Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan.

Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  Put the butter into a small bowl or jug and pour over the hot water.  Stir until the hot water melts the butter and both are well combined.  

Pout the butter mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until totally combined.  Press the mixture into a lined tin, mine measured 20cm square.

Bake for 15 minutes at 180C/160C Fan.

Combine the cocoa and icing sugar with milk, adding just enough milk to create a spreadable icing.

Weetabix/Cornflakes Cookies

150g butter
170g caster sugar
1 free range egg
2 tsps vaniilla extract
225g self raising flour
1 1/2 cups crushed Weetabix
1/2 cup sultanas

Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan and line a couple of baking trays with non-stick baking paper. 

Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and beat well.  Mix in the flour, Weetabix and sultanas.  Place teaspoonfuls onto lined baking trays.

Bake at 180C for 15-18 minutes or until golden.  Cool on trays for 5 minutes before transferring to a wre rack to cool completely.

Although the biscuits are delicious uniced, we decorated our cookies by drizzling over chocolate icing made with cocoa, icing sugar and a little water.  We also sprinkled over some sugar decorations.

Fresh From The Oven Round Up - January

Thank you so much to Claire from Purely Food (my Fresh From The Oven partner) who hosted the challenge this month which was to make Flatbreads.

I enjoy making Flatbreads because they are so quick, versatile and tasty - great for feeding family, friends and they make a great addition to any lunch or dinner.

I've previously blogged about making and baking flatbreads with my 3 daughters, you can read that post here

We made them once again and here is one of our cheese and tomato flatbreads, we made giant 'tear and share' versions this time.

There were many delicious entries this month, click on the blog name below the photo which will take you to their recipe post. 

Tango Like Raindrop

Blue Kitchen Bakes

Searching for Spice


© Griddled Flatbreads Griddled Flatbreads
Lavender and Lime

Turquoise Lemons
Blue Kitchen Bakes

Penelope's Pantry

Thank you so much to all those who took part in January's Challenge. Should anyone like to host a Challenge you would be most welcome!  I do love seeing all the delicious Challenges you come up with and trying new bakes.     Please email me if interested utterlyscrumptious at gmail dot com.

The Challenge for February will be hosted by me and will be posted tomorrow,  1st February, on this blog.  It will have a blog hop linky so that you can all link up and easily see each others posts throughout the month.  I will of course still do a round up but it means you can enter/publish your post and link up whenever you are able.  The more posts the merrier, feel free to link any recipe that fits the Challenge.

All will be revealed tomorrow!

Not Too Naughty Chocolate Snacks

Tuesday 29 January 2013
These snacks are fab for an after school treat or an energy boosting addition to lunchboxes.  They also go down very well at kids parties, coffee mornings and school meetings.  My husband is a chocoholic, he isn't too fond of oats and nuts though.  Even he will devour these with gusto so they are a winner with all members of our household.

No Bake Chocolate Snacks

1 cup Rice Krispies
200g dark chocolate, roughly chopped into chunks
2 Tblsp butter
1/2 cup dried fruit.  We usually use apricots, dates or cranberries

Melt the chocolate and butter together in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.  Alternatively, combine the dark chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring each time, until the chocolate is melted.  In medium-sized bowl, mix together the Rice Krispies and chopped dried fruit.  Pour the chocolate over the cereal and dried fruit mixture then stir until well combined.  Put spoonfuls onto a non-stick baking paper lined tray.  Put in the fridge for 20 - 30 minutes until set.  Keep in a sealed container in the fridge.

Wholemeal Chocolate and Raspberry Cake

125g butter, softened
200g light soft brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
25g cocoa powder
2 eggs
150g pot yoghurt or soured cream
100g dark chocolate, melted and cooled
150g wholemeal flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
300g frozen raspberries

Preheat your oven to 180C/160CFan.  Line a 23cm round cake tin with non-stick baking paper.

I used my trusty Kenwood Mixer to make this cake but it is just as easy by hand.  Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Add the cocoa powder and mix once again.  Beat the eggs together and add to the mixture in a thin stream whilst constantly mixing.  Add the soured cream or yoghurt and ensure the mixture is thoroughly mixed and all ingredients are combined.

Add the melted and cooled dark chocolate to the mixture and beat until well incorporated.  Sift the flour and bicarb into the liquid mixture and fold through until completely combined.  Add the frozen raspberries and stir through.

Pour the mixture into your prepared cake tin and bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing the cake from the cake tin to cool completely on a wire rack.

Crock Pot Rice Cooker Review

Sunday 27 January 2013
I received a Crock Pot Rice Cooker for review and I have to say we did enjoy testing it out as well as getting a friend with teenagers to test it too.

Photo courtesy of Crock Pot
This rather compact rice cooker has a 0.6L capacity, and the product information leaflet says that this makes it ideal for 2-3 people (6 cup cooked rice capacity). 

There are 5 of us in our household so it was a tad small for us.  

It has 2 heat settings and an auto keep warm feature, as well as a steamer tray attachment to enable you to steam your vegetables with your rice, alternatively enabling you to simply steam other foods. The steamer tray and rice bowl are both non-stick, removable and dishwasher safe. Included with the rice cooker is a measuring cup and rice paddle. This size of rice cooker is available in multiple colour options (Red, Blue and Grey).

Despite the product information leaflet saying that you can steam vegetables and fish with (or instead of) rice there were no instructions at all regarding how you would go about doing this.

The rice needs to be thoroughly washed before you put it in the rice cooker and you need to stir the rice 15 minutes in to the cooking process.  There is no timer, buzzer or indicator that tells you when to do this at all.  You need to remember to do it and set a kitchen time or alarm on your phone.

Once the rice is cooked it will be kept warm using the Keep Warm feature which is handy if you have people eating at different times.  

We tasted the rice as soon as it had finished cooking and found it to be too wet and rather clumpy.  Hubby, myself and eldest disliked the texture but my youngest two daughters didn't mind it.  To be honest I find it much easier just to cook rice in a saucepan on the hob.

My friend with 2 teenage boys and an almost teenage boy also tested it out.  They love it as they use the keep warm feature and basically can have rice whenever they like - apparently hollow legged teenage boys like to eat rice a lot.

The Crock Pot Rice Cooker has a RRP of £27.99.  I would recommend it to those who are not confident cooking rice in a saucepan, like to eat a lot of rice, or have hollow legged teenage boys who consume copious amounts of this particular carbohydrate.

It wasn't really suitable for our family as it isn't big enough for 5 people.  I think the instructions should state how to steam vegetables or other foods with your rice.  The leaflet is too basic and not particularly informative other than cooking times and measurements.

The appliance is well made.  My friend and her teenaged boys are most pleased to have it in their home.  The red colour also matches the colour scheme of their kitchen - bonus points for that. 

For more info visit www.crockpot.co.uk or their Facebook page CrockPotUK

I was sent the Crock Pot Rice Cooker for review purposes.  No payment was received for this post

Savoury Lunchbox or After School Snacks

Friday 25 January 2013
I made these for my 3 girls and also for my Friday coffee morning.  Both recipes went down very well with everyone.  The Brunch or Lunch Bread Cases were warmed through in the oven for my coffee morning brunch but are equally delicious cold.  The recipes are really versatile, use whatever vegetables you have about.  You could add ham, salami, cooked bacon or leave meat out completely and have vegetarian versions.

Brunch or Lunch Bread Cases

3 spring onions, finely sliced – green and white parts
4 slices of ham, diced
1 pepper, finely diced – any colour will do
2 sundried tomatoes, finely sliced
12 slices wholemeal bread, crusts removed
8 eggs
150ml milk
grated cheese for topping (optional)

Preheat your oven to 180°C/160°C Fan.  Spray a metal 12 hole muffin tin with non-stick baking spray.

Push the bread into the muffin tin holes then spoon in the ham and vegetables.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and some salt and pepper.  Pour the egg mixture evenly into the prepared bread cases.  When pouring in the egg mixture into the cases, pour until it reaches the top of the muffin hole.  The egg mixture will absorb into the bread a little so pour all 12 first then you can go back and add more if you have egg mixture left over.

Bake for 20 minutes. Leave to sit for 5 minutes before removing from the tin.  Serve.

Versatile Savoury Muffins

2 cups self-raising flour
1 cup grated tasty cheese
1 pepper, finely diced
¼ cup spring onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, grated
150g butter, melted
250ml milk
1 free range egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp dried mixed herbs

Preheat your oven to 180°C/160°C Fan. Line a 12 hole muffin tray with paper cases.

In a bowl, mix the flour, cheese, pepper, spring onion and grated carrot together.  In a jug, combine the egg, milk, butter and dried herbs.

Make a well in the dry ingredients then pour in the wet ingredients.  Mix until just combined then pour into the paper cases.  Bake for 15-20 minutes.  Cool in the tin for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Root Vegetable Mini Quiches

You could use carrot, pumpkin, or potato instead of butternut squash and sweet potato if you wanted too.  These are very moreish.  I also used herbed puff pastry from the supermarket to give the mini quiches a little more flavour but you could use plain puff pastry instead.

1 sheet herbed puff pastry
1 cup grated tasty cheese
150g peeled, diced, cooked and mashed butternut squash
150g peeled diced, cooked and mashed sweet potato
2 spring onions, finely sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
4 eggs
6 Tblsp/60ml milk
Preheat your oven to 180°C/160°C Fan.  Cut 12 circles the pastry sheet with a scone cutter that is slightly larger than the muffin tin holes.

Carefully put the pastry circles into the tin holes so they are properly lined.  Divide cheese evenly between the pastry cases.  Combine the squash and sweet potato with the spring onion and season to taste.  Add the eggs and milk then whisk until the vegetables, egg and milk are completely combined. 

Pour the egg mixture into the pastry cases to just below the top of the pastry case.  You might need to give the mixture a stir every so often to make sure the mixture stays completely combined.  Bake for 15 - 20 minutes until golden.  Leave in the tin for 5 minutes before carefully transferring to a wire rack to cool further.

Wholemeal Banana and Raisin Bread

Wednesday 23 January 2013
I made this loaf today when I had some over-ripe bananas that needed using up and was in need of an afternoon tea treat.  In the end I gave the loaf to my friend who dropped off my 9yo after Art Club.  

Wholemeal Banana and Raisin Bread

300g wholemeal self-raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp mixed spice
110g light soft brown sugar
125g dried fruit, I used raisins
2 medium free range eggs
250ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 or 3 large ripe bananas, peeled and mashed

Preheat oven to 180C/160C Fan.

Line a loaf tin with non-stick baking paper or a non-stick liner.  Mine measures 12cm x 25cm.

In a large bowl combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda, mixed spice, sugar and raisins (or whatever dried fruit you are using).  Make a well in the centre.

Combine the eggs, milk, vanilla extract and mashed banana in a large jug then pour them into the dry ingredients.  Gently but thoroughly combine the wet and dry ingredients, take care not to over-mix or the loaf will be heavy and tough.

Pour the mixture into your prepared loaf tin and bake for 45 - 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.  Whilst the loaf is still hot from the oven you can brush the top with warmed homey to glaze it if you wish.

Leave the loaf to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. 

Energy Packed Muffins for snowy days

It is still very cold, in fact yesterday it was -9 at 7am and -6 on the school run.  My two younger girls and I had a rather interesting walk/slide to school on untreated footpaths, although thankfully the path from the main road to their primary school had been cleared.

We played in the snow after school and made a snowman whilst waiting for my eldest daughter to get home from high school.  After another snowball fight we all staggered inside to warm up with a cuppa and snack.

Today was much the same, without making a snowman, and 9yo stayed at school for an hour for Art Club.  I made the Oaty Banana, Apple and Sultana Muffins for the kids at Art Club to devour and made the Oaty, Carrot and Apple Muffins for us to devour at home.  I also made a Wholemeal Banana and Sultana Bread but will blog that recipe tomorrow.

Oaty Banana, Apple and Sultana Muffins

265g wholemeal self-raising flour
1 tsp mixed spice
40g rolled oats
125g sultanas
2 free range eggs, lightly beaten
200g natural yoghurt
80g butter melted and cooled
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 apple, grated
125ml cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract

20g rolled oats

Preheat your oven to 190C/170C Fan.  Line a 12 hole muffin tray with large paper cases.  

In a large bowl combine the flour, mixed spice, rolled oats and sultanas.  Make a well in the centre.

In a large jug combine the eggs, yoghurt, melted butter, mashed banana, grated apple, honey and vanilla extract.  Stir until thoroughly mixed.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently mix them together until everything is combined, take care not to over-mix or your muffins will be tough and heavy.  Divide the mixture between the paper cases.  Sprinkle the muffins with 20g of rolled oats.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean.

Leave the muffins to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Oaty Carrot and Apple Muffins

3 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 tsp baicarbonate of soda
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup light soft brown sugar
1 cup porridge oats
2 free range eggs
125g butter, melted and cooled
250ml milk
250ml natural yoghurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
1 apple, grated

Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan. Line 16 muffin holes (one and a half muffin trays) with paper cases or use 16 mini loaf moulds.

Put the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, sugar and oats into a large bowl.  

In a large jug combine the eggs, butter, milk, yoghurt and vanilla extract.  Grate the carrot and apple and add to the wet ingredients.  

Pour the wet ingredients into the large bowl containing the dry ingredients.  Gently but thoroughly combine the ingredients together.  

Spoon the mixture into the lined muffin trays and bake for 20 - 25 minutes until golden brown on top and a skewer inserted into the centre of one of the muffins comes out clean.

Both of these recipes are very easy to make and bake, great to get the kids involved, the muffins freeze well and are fab for lunchboxes as well as after school snacks.  You can vary the dried fruit in the muffins too, I have used dried apricots, dates and cranberries in the past - just use what you have available.

Mixed Vegetable Soup on a snowy day

Monday 21 January 2013

It is definitely winter here in the UK, where I live in the South East of England we had 4 inches of snow fall on Sunday and it will probably be with us for a few days yet as the temperature continues to stay below freezing.  

A perfect lunch for this kind of weather is soup, warming and comforting whilst being full of much needed vegetables and their vitamin content.

I made a very simple but very delicious soup for lunch yesterday which feed all 5 of us, including second helpings really cheaply.

I used a couple of leeks, a swede, 3 carrots, 2 potatoes, a clove of garlic (crushed) and a large onion.  Just peel and dice the vegetables, sweat them in a little oil until the onions and leeks start to soften, add a litre of vegetable stock and some dried mixed herbs then simmer for about half an hour until the vegetables are tender.  Blitz until smooth using a stick blender or liquidiser and that's it.  So easy and quick! 

We had ours with freshly baked wholemeal bread and it went down very well as we watched the snow falling outside.

We also had a prolonged snowball fight out the front of our house which was SO much fun!  I managed to hit hubby right on the backside with a huge snowball. He was not amused but the rest of us thought it was hilarious! We all came inside for a cuppa & freshly baked muffin to warm up. The snow might be freezing, annoying and inconvenient when travelling or trying to get to work and school but it is loads of fun to play in!

I've submitted this soup to Credit Crunch Munch which is run by Helen and Camilla.  Do check out the other recipes in this blog challenge, it is a great source of frugal recipe inspiration.

Credit Crunch Munch

You can join the Blog Hop here:

Farmhouse Breakfast Week 20 - 26 January

This week is Farmhouse Breakfast Week and I was sent a lovely hamper of goodies to help me on my quest to have a decent breakfast every day this week.

Farmhouse Breakfast Week is an annual celebration championing the importance of breakfast which aims to get the nation to Shake Up Their Wake Up! Apparently 47% of people regularly skip breakfast during the week so the aim of Breakfast Week is to encourage people to enjoy a healthy breakfast more regularly.

The Shake Up Your Wake Up - Farmhouse Breakfast Week campaign is run on behalf of arable farmers.  The purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness of the benefits of eating a healthy breakfast and demonstrate the wealth of wonderful breakfast produce available around the country.

You can take part in the Breakfast Weekcampaign via #BreakfastWatch

Share your breakfast with the nation during Farmhouse Breakfast Week by taking part in #BreakfastWatch, which aims to be the biggest online celebration of breakfast ever!  Simply upload photos of your breakfast with the tag #BreakfastWatch via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest and they’ll share these with breakfast lovers across the country.

Breakfast Inspiration

For breakfast inspiration check out the Shake Up Your Wake Up website for delicious breakfast recipes which range from full cooked breakfasts to quick and easy breakfasts that can be eaten on-the-go or taken to work.

Why eat breakfast?

Breakfast eaters tend to be slimmer than breakfast skippers.  Eating breakfast can aid concentration and mental performance at work and at school.  It provides you with the nutrients and energy needed for an active lifestyle or long commute or walk to work/school.  Research shows that breakfast eaters are less depressed and have lower levels of stress than breakfast skippers, if you are hungry you are much more likely to be grumpy.

Breakfast Week

Nadia Sawalha is the face of Farmhouse Breakfast Week and you can check out her making her Breakfast Scones recipe in this clip:

You can also follow Breakfast Week on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and find more free resources here.

Versatile Fruity Breakfast Muffins

It is Breakfast Week this week which I will blog about separately, that has prompted me to blog our versatile Blueberry Breakfast Muffins which are not only great for an on the go breakfast, they are fab for an after school or afternoon tea snack too.

I used frozen blueberries this time but you could use diced apple or pear, dried fruit or other frozen  berries such as raspberries or a mixture of berries or fruit.  These muffins are really quick to make and bake, perfect for busy mornings or a speedy afternoon snack option.

Versatile Fruity Breakfast Muffins

1 cup wholemeal flour
½ cup rolled oats
½ cup plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups prepared fruit, I used frozen blueberries
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1½ cups buttermilk
1 medium  free range egg
2 Tblsp golden syrup or honey

Topping, combine the following:
3 Tblsp mixed seeds
2 Tblsp demerara sugar
¼ cup rolled oats

Preheat your oven to 200C and line a the holes of a 12 hole muffin tray with paper cases.

Put all of the dry ingredients, along with the fruit, into a large bowl and mix until combined.  Measure all of the liquid ingredients into a large jug and mix until combined.  Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold through until completely combined.  Be careful not to over-mix or beat the mixture or you will end up with heavy and tough muffins.

Fill the muffin cases 3/4 full then sprinkle over the topping.

Bake the muffins at 200C for 20 to 25 minutes or until the muffins spring back when lightly touched in the centre.  Leave in the tray for 5 minutes to cool before transferring the muffins to a wire rack to cool completely.

Since these Breakfast Muffins are fairly healthy I'm sending them to Calendar Cakes which is run by Laura with Rachel from Dolly Bakes – the theme for this month is "New Year New You!"
Calendar Cakes Logo
Because these breakfast muffins are cheap to make, and a great way to use up over-ripe fruit, I am also submitting them to Credit Crunch Munch which is run by Helen and Camilla.

Credit Crunch Munch

I am also submitting them Breakfast Club this month which has a theme of cooked and baked and is being hosted by Janice.

Breakfast Club has a brilliant Blog Hop which you can follow here:

Chocolate Honey Traybake

Friday 18 January 2013

This morning my 9yo asked if I could make something "really, really, really, really, yummy" for their after school snack.  I wanted to bake something that tasted delicious but didn't have loads of sugar in it.

I decided to try and bake a chocolate cake without using refined sugar.  The cake was lovely and moist, tasted delicious, and lasted all of 30 minutes once the kids and hubby had got home.  

Chocolate Honey Traybake

125g butter, softened
65g cocoa powder
180ml honey
2 medium free range eggs
250g self raising flour
125ml milk

Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan. Line a 3cm deep swiss roll tin with non stick baking paper, mine measures 15cm x 25cm.

I used my Kenwood mixer to mix this but you could use a handheld electric mixer.  Cream the butter cocoa and honey and cocoa together until creamy.  Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add the flour and fold through gently until everything is totally combined.  Add the milk and mix once again until mixture is totally combined.

Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tin and smooth the surface.  Bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave in the baking tray to cool for 10 minutes before turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before icing.

I am submitting this recipe to the We Should Cocoa blog challenge, hosted by Chele from Chocolate Teapot and Choclette from Chocolate Log Blog where the task this month is to:

"Come up with something that contains chocolate but is sugar-free and that includes the chocolate too. Sugar-free means free from cane sugar and beet sugar. Any other type of sugar such as fructose or honey is fine. Chocolate means cocoa powder, cocoa nibs, 100% unsweetened chocolate or diabetic chocolate. "

Versatile Doughnut Style Muffins

Tuesday 15 January 2013

These muffins taste like doughnuts but are as convenient to make and bake as muffins are.  You can fill them with whatever you like, I used lemon curd for half of them and leftover Christmas fruit mincemeat to fill the other half.

The went down so well, thank goodness I made 20!  My husband and 3 daughters pounced on them as soon as they had cooled enough to handle.  The muffins kept well in a cake tin overnight and the rest were devoured the next day by my family and friends. You could halve the recipe should you only want to make 10, they are rather filling.

Versatile Doughnut Style Muffins - Makes 20

600g self-raising flour
330g caster sugar  
160ml vegetable oil
2 large free range eggs
350ml buttermilk or natural yoghurt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup filling: lemon curd, chocolate spread, jam, etc

75g butter, melted
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ cup caster sugar

Preheat oven to 180°C and grease 2 x 12 hole muffin pans.

Put the dry ingredients into a large bowl, stir to mix, then make a well in the centre.  Combine the wet ingredients in another bowl or jug. 

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix them together until they are only just combined.  Don’t be tempted to over-mix the batter or the muffins will be heave and tough.  It is quite a thick mixture, not as loose as a usual muffin mixture. 

Put a tablespoonful of the mixture into each muffin hole, put ½ - 1 teaspoon of your chosen filling on top before covering the filling with another tablespoonful of mixture.  Bake for 20 minutes  until cooked through and golden.  

To make the topping:

Combine the cinnamon and sugar.  Brush the tops of the warm muffins with melted butter then sprinkle over the cinnamon sugar mix.  

If you serve these muffins warm be careful as the filling will be hot.  These are great with a cuppa and would definitely go down well at coffee mornings, cake stalls and for after school snacks.

I am submitting these muffins to the Alphabakes blogging challenge, which is being hosted by Caroline this month, the letter is D and these are Versatile Doughnut Style Muffins.

I am also submitting these muffins to Teatime Treats where the theme is Citrus, as they are filled with Lemon Curd.  Tea Time Treats is hosted alternately by Karen at Lavender and Lovage and Kate from What Kate Baked, and this month Karen is hosting.

Wholemeal Date Scones

I do like a cheap, quick and healthy after school snack for my 3 girls that will keep them from inhaling the contents of the fruit bowl or fridge before dinner time but also one that is not loaded with sugar and fat.  My girls love scones, they are really quick and inexpensive to make.  This version is made with half wholemeal flour and packed with dates so gets some dietary fibre into them too.

1 cup plain white flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp mixed spice
1 cup wholemeal flour 
1-2 Tblsp sugar
50g butter or vegetable shortening
1 cup ready to eat dates, roughly chopped
¾ cup buttermilk 
¼ cup milk
If you don't have buttermilk then use ½ cup natural yoghurt and ½ cup milk.

Preheat your oven to 220C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, mixed spice, wholemeal flour and sugar.  Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles crumbs. 
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, add the dates and pour in the buttermilk/yoghurt and milk. Mix quickly to form a soft dough.
Knead the dough lightly on a floured surface, pat out to 2-3cm thick and cut into rounds or squares.   
Transfer to the prepared baking tray.
Bake 10-15 minutes until golden and cooked through.  Serve warm.

I am submitting these scones to the Alphabakes blogging challenge, which is being hosted by Caroline this month, the letter is D.

Since these scones are fairly healthy I'm also sending them to Calendar Cakes which is run by Laura with Rachel from Dolly Bakes – the theme for this month is "New Year New You!"
Calendar Cakes Logo
Because Scones are cheap to make I am also submitting them to Credit Crunch Munch which is run by Helen and Camilla.

Credit Crunch Munch

I am also submitting the scones to Breakfast Club this month which has a theme of cooked and baked and  is being hosted by Janice.

Breakfast Club has a fab Blog Hop which you can follow here:

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