I was talking to my father about my mother the other day and I remembered something she used to do when my brother and I were little: every time she made a cake she would let us lick the bowl, which was something we both enjoyed very much (I might have told you that already but I’m not sure – 936 posts will do that do one’s mind). :) She was a fabulous baker and baked very often, not only because she loved it but also because she wanted my father and I to have something tasty in our lunch boxes.
Licking the bowl is a sport I still practice – in fact, I’ll gladly try most doughs and batters before actually baking them. What I did not expect was that this habit would actually save me a great amount of stress after a baking session: Sunday morning and I set out to make muffins. I chose Delia Smith’s marmalade muffins because I love anything marmalade and wanted to give that beautiful book a try. The batter was ready in no time and soon the muffins were in the oven. While they baked, I started making the bed and all of a sudden it hit me: I hadn’t added any sugar to the batter!!! O_O I ran back to the kitchen, grabbed the recipe and read it again – no, there was no sugar in it. It wasn’t my mistake. Then I remembered how good the batter tasted and felt instantly relieved: the marmalade alone would be enough to sweeten the muffins. Phew.
These muffins are not too sweet – obviously :) – and the marmalade topping make them even tastier. I’m a sucker for marmalade but I believe these could work with other preserves, too – apricot comes to mind, or maybe raspberry paired with lemon zest.
slightly adapted from the master Delia Smith (mine was bought here)
225g chunky orange marmalade
1 cup + 1 tablespoon (150g) all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
finely grated zest and juice of 1 large orange
whole milk, if necessary
1 heaping tablespoon almond meal
1 large egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
50g unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
To finish the muffins:
2 heaping tablespoons orange marmalade
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Line a 1/3-cup capacity muffin pan with 9 paper liners and fill the remaining cavities halfway up with water.
Place the marmalade in a small bowl and give it a good stir to loosen it up. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Zest and juice the orange, then measure the juice – you’ll need ½ cup (120ml); if you don’t have enough juice, make it up with some milk.
In a small bowl, whisk together the zest and juice (and milk, if using), almond meal, egg, vanilla and melted butter. Pour these ingredients into the flour mixture and lightly whisk with a fork – do not overmix or your muffins will be tough. Fold in the marmalade. Divide the batter between the muffin liners and bake for 18-20 minutes or until risen and golden and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan over a wire rack for 5 minutes, then carefully unmold onto the rack and cool. You can serve these muffins warm or at room temperature – before serving, spread the extra marmalade on top of each muffin.