This recipe is based on a ridiculously reliable and adaptable muffin recipe that I’ve been using for so long that I’ve forgotten where it originally came from. You can keep the muffins small, like I did here, and get ten out of a batch. Or you can squish it all into six tins and get great big coffeeshop muffins. You can leave off the crumble, swap the dates for different fresh or dried fruit, use flavoured yoghurt, swap the brown sugar out for the same weight of plain sugar, add nuts, put coffee or cocoa in … it lends itself to pretty much any variation you want. I’ve done all of the above at various times. These were my “what yoghurt do we have, and what fruit needs using?” muffins. So go forth and hack muffins!
If you are using fresh fruit, though, be aware that if it’s really juicy you might need to drop the yoghurt quantity down a little. And if you use bananas, chop them small rather than mashing them.
For the crumble topping:
- 50 g / 1/3 cup flour
- 25 g / 2 packed tbsp dark brown sugar
- 35 g / 2 ½ tbsp / 1 ¼ oz butter
- 50 g / ½ cup walnuts, chopped
- some ginger and cinnamon to taste
Combine the flour, sugar, and spices, then rub the butter in until the mix resembles crumbs and, if squished together, holds its shape a little. Mix in the walnuts and set aside.
For the muffins:
- 190 g / 1 ½ cups flour
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- pinch ground cloves
- good grating of nutmeg – about ½ tsp
- 70 g / 5 tbsp / 2 ½ oz butter
- 90 g / ½ cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tbsp treacle
- 1 egg
- 200 mL / ¾ cup yoghurt
- 100 g / a bit under ½ cup chopped dates
Pre-heat oven to 180˚C / 350˚F. Prepare a muffin tin by oiling and flouring, or lining.
Sift or whisk together dry ingredients. Set aside.
Beat butter, sugar and treacle for as long as you have patience for – honestly, I’ve never got it to the point of creaminess, and it’s still always been fine. Just show willing. It’ll be fine.
Add the egg and beat briefly – it won’t look combined. Don’t worry about it.
With the mixer on low, or using a wooden spoon, mix in half the yoghurt till mostly combined, followed by half the dry ingredients. Repeat, and mix gently until just combined. Add the dates and fold in – it’ll be a thick batter.
Dollop into your prepared tin – this gives 10 tidy little muffins, or 6 huge ones. It doubles easily, too. Whichever way you go, don’t fuss about smoothing the mix down. Just chuck a generous amount of crumble over the top. As the muffins rise it’ll slide down and get embedded in the sides, which is glorious.
Bake for 25 – 35 minutes, depending on the size – I usually check with a skewer after 20 minutes. Best eaten warm, but you can re-heat them the next day. Plus they freeze easily. See? Friendly little muffins.
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