A few people have suggested that being in Brighton I should try offering some *special* cakes which might go down well with a certain local clientele. I hope that I'm not disappointing readers of this blog by revealing that the secret mushrooms in these savoury muffins are good old chestnut mushrooms from the local greengrocer.
A little while ago my friend Big Nick sent me a picture for some broccoli muffins as a cool idea for the bakery. I was so intrigued that I scoured the internet for the recipe and discovered one of my now favourite blogs kitchenist.com. Ever since then, my mind has been running at tangents trying to conjure up my own variations on a theme. This is my first attempt, adapted from Ele's broccoli recipe, and they weren't half bad...
Secret Mushroom Muffins Recipe
12 mushrooms (each one should fit comfortably within a muffin mould, but remember they do shrink a bit)
275g softened butter
50g golden caster sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
300g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp fresh thyme, leaves picked
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
60g mature cheddar, grated
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. While the oven is preheating, clean the mushrooms and brush with a small amount of butter. Place the mushrooms face down in each hole of your muffin tray and pop in the oven for a few minutes until just tender, then set aside.
2. Using electric beaters, whip up the butter until very soft, then add in the sugar and beat again until light and fluffy. Crack the eggs into a jug and break them up slightly with a fork, then add a little at a time to the butter, beating well after each addition. If it starts to split then you can add a large pinch of the flour which will help bring it back into shape.
3. In a separate bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, thyme, turmeric and salt, then fold this into the butter and egg mix with a spatula, followed by the grated cheese.
4. Make sure you've taken the mushrooms out of the tin (but you don't need to bother cleaning it), then place a heaped tablespoon of the batter in each muffin case. Next stick a mushroom stalk first into each yellow pile and top with another spoonful of batter, spreading the batter out to fill each case and making sure the tops of the mushrooms are well covered.
5. Bake the muffins for about 30 minutes until golden brown and firm on top. Don't worry if some of the butter bubbles out during cooking, I think this helps make a crispier crust. Cool the muffins on a wire rack before serving as a decadent teatime treat or a mid-morning lunchbox snack at your desk. Mmmm.
One thing I would remember for next time is not to use mushrooms that are too small as they do shrink when you cook them and I think it gives a better effect if they fill more of the muffin. I also think the recipe would work well with dried thyme (but use just 1 teaspoon) if you don't have fresh thyme to hand. It's also very easy to halve the recipe if you only want to make 6 muffins as they are at their best eaten within a day or so.
Watch this space as I have plenty more surprise muffins to follow - they all sound good in my head but I hope I can translate these ideas into good recipes...
Happy baking x