Sunday, March 28, 2010

Preparing for an Easter feast

My latest issue of delicious magazine has arrived and I've already bookmarked lots of recipes to try. My favourite spread is the Easter baking
feature by editor Kylie Walker. White chocolate truffle cake, Easter biscuits, braided fruit loaf, orange drops, chocolate coconut Easter cakes - I want to try them all!

The hot cross muffins particularly attracted me. I like the idea of an alternative to hot cross buns, which, while fun to make and delicious to eat, are reasonably labour-intensive. These looked easy to make and I had all the ingredients in my larder, so I decided to try out a batch in preparation for Easter. This recipe gets the thumbs-up: easy to make and even easier to eat! The aromatic muffins are a cute twist on tradition and, if you leave off the cross, they are also yummy enough to whip up year-round

Hot cross muffins
From delicious magazine, April 2010

135g dried cranberries
1 cup (150g) currants
2 1/2 cups (375g) self-raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2/3 cup (165ml) sunflower oil
1 cup (250ml) buttermilk
2 eggs
200g caster sugar, plus extra 2 Tbs
80g icing sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Grease a 12-hold muffin tray and line with paper cases.

Soak dried fruit in just enough boiling water to cover for 10 minutes. Drain well, then pat dry with a paper towel.

Sift the flour, soda and spices into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, buttermilk, eggs and sugar until combined. Add to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Gently stir in the fruit. Divide the mixture among muffin cases, then bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, place the extra 2 Tbs sugar in a pan with 2 Tbs water and simmer over a low heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Brush the glaze over the muffins.
Sift icing sugar into a bowl. Add lemon juice and just enough hot water to make a thick, pipable icing. Use a piping bag, or drizzle from a spoon, to draw a cross on each muffin, then serve.

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