Today I bring you an absolute favourite - Chilli Choc Chip Muffins!!
For your ingredients you will need:
225g Cooking Margarine (eg. Stork)
225g Caster Sugar
3 medium to large eggs
225g Self Raising Flour*
1/2 teaspoon hot Chilli Powder**
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 heaped tablespoons Cocoa Powder
150g Plain Chocolate Chips
*I use Doves Farm White Self Raising Gluten Free flour, which is what I would recommend, and is widely available in many supermarkets, including Tesco - but you can try the recipe with other brands, or if gluten does not bother you, ordinary Self Raising will do just fine.
**The chilli powder is totally optional - these muffins are just as good without. It will give your muffins a little bit of bite, just enough to bring out the chocolate-iness of them. You do not want any more - it''ll blow your socks off!
Preheat your oven to 170 Centigrade.
Put your margarine into a large bowl, and beat as much as possible with a wooden spoon to warm and soften it.
Add the sugar, and mix in as much as possible with the wooden spoon. Scrape off the spoon and switch to a hand blender (your secret weapon for a light fluffy sponge!) - mixing on a low speed until you have a smooth cream.
Add the eggs one at a time, blending completely after each one -keeping your blender on a low speed!
Add in the milk (approx. 50ml roughly equivalent in volume to one egg), the chilli powder and the vanilla extract. Blend again with your blender. Once everything is mixed start increasing the speed gradually until you reach maximum. Continue blending until you have a light, smooth, fluffy mixture. Getting plenty of air into your mix is crucial to achieving a lovely light sponge.
Next add in the Cocoa Powder and half the flour. Stir this in with the blender tool, but without power - or you will get a good dusting! - and then mix completely with the blender on low speed.
Repeat for the remaining flour. When this is fully blended you can whack up the speed again on your blender and get as much air as possible into your sponge mix.
Finally, add your chocolate chips - sprinkle evenly over the mixture, and gently fold them in with a wooden spoon.
Divide your mix into your desired cake tray(s) and bake... you will only need about 2/3 the mixture in the tray to achieve the desired height/size - this mix will definitely rise!
My muffins are pretty deep (7 or 8cm) so I bake them for about 28 - 30 mins, but if you are using cup cake papers or a bun tray you may only need to bake them for about 15 - 18 minutes. Always time them initially for less time than you think they will take, you can always pop them back in for a couple of minutes longer!
Your muffins will be ready when they have slightly browned on top, and are "bouncy" to the touch! Alternatively, you can do the knife test - prod a thin blade right through the sponge, and if it pulls out clean your cakes are cooked - if it has mixture stuck to it, they need a little longer.
These muffins are perfect just as they are, however if you are creative with an icing bag there are countless ways you pretty them up - or you may wish to serve them warm with whipped cream or ice cream.... mmmMM!