When the Little People finish school for the day they are always without fail completely, ravenously hungry. Every single day, it's always the same. They come trudging out of the school doors straight on the scrounge for food. Heartfelt declarations of starvation. So I try and give them something to eat that's reasonably healthy, but not too filling before dinner. It's not always easy to get the right balance. Sometimes they'll be content with fruit, sometimes I'll give them cheese, a slice of buttered fruit bread, or a scotch pancake. Today I decided I would bake them something wholesome and yummy to fill the hungry gap between school and dinner.
As soon as I began to think about what to bake, I immediately thought about a muffin of some sorts. It ticks all the right boxes. It is filling, easy to transport and eat, and healthy ingredients can be incorporated by stealth. However, I don't have a good track record with muffin making. In fact, I don't think I've ever in my life made a successful muffin. My muffin making usually ends in disaster, with flattened, rock hard, inedible lumps sitting heavily in their pretty paper cases.
But I do posses an optimistic nature, and I felt ready to give it another go. I thought about what muffinish ingredients I had in the house and what sort of muffins I could attempt. Hmmm...no carrots, no lemons, no berries of any sort. Sultanas I had, plus a bowl of sweet apples. So I googled those ingredients and landed on this recipe. It looked straightforward. Simple even. I had all the ingredients (well almost, I did have to twiddle it a bit) and I began to feel quietly confident.
Muffin making basically involves assembling a bowl full of dry ingredients (in this case flour, baking powder, sugar and cinnamon) and a bowl full of wet ingredients (milk, oil and eggs) and mixing the two together to form a stiff batter. The wet ingredients go into the dry ingredients, it's always that way round. There is then some debate about how much mixing should be done. Some recipes tell you not to over mix, to merely stir-to-combine. This particular recipe instructs to "mix well", so that's what I did. Gave it all a good ol' stir around with my pink spoon.
The apples were grated and the sultanas thrown in, then more stirring. It was all pretty easy really, but still I began to feel a tad nervous. I had this sinking feeling that I might've over mixed the batter, that another disaster was in the making.
But nothing to be done other than give it a whirl. Twelve cupcake cases were put in a tin and liberally filled with the mixture. Into the oven for twenty five lengthy minutes.
I paced a bit with my timer. I suddenly felt that I would be unbelievably hacked off if this all went belly up. Plus, I would be without a snack for the after-school feeding frenzy which would be no good at all.
When the timer went off, I ran (literally) to the oven, crouched down and opened the door just a tiny smidge to get a glimpse of the muffin success/fail. I just needed to know if they had risen. I was so nervous!
This is what I saw.....beautifully risen, lightly golden muffin tops smiling out at me.
I made muffins! I made fluffy-puffy muffins with a good chance of being edible!!
A really, seriously happy moment. I whooped a little.
They were obviously hot coming straight out of the oven but I could not resist trying one. I really, really wanted to see if the inside was as light and fluffy as I hoped it would be.
Well my lovelies, I can tell you that these Apple and Sultana muffins were an outstanding success. They came out just right. And furthermore, the Little People really enjoyed them. I asked them what they thought and they were pronounced "well good", which in Yorkshire translates as Most Excellent.
Pheww. Who knew that baking for one's children could be so fraught with nervousness?