These started out life as Nigella Lawson’s Christmas Muffins, from her illustrious Nigella Christmas cookbook. All of the wonderful flavours we naturally associate with Christmas are here – clementines, ginger, cranberry. The recipe itself is easy enough to whip up on Christmas morning, and after eating a few with my morning coffee, I’ve decided these are worth making any other time of the year too.
The fact that I didn’t have any clementines or dried cranberries didn’t stop me from making these. A quick perusal of my pantry yielded a variety of dried fruit, but no cranberries. I had figs, prunes, raisins, cherries, pineapple and candied ginger. I settled on substituting the cranberries with a combination of dried pineapple and candied ginger, and decided to skip the orange zest and freshly squeezed clementines for some good old fashioned OJ, and I made a winner of a muffin. I had a hunch that these would turn out great because earlier this year I made a pumpkin muffin with some candied ginger in it, and got rave reviews from my taste testers.
The candied ginger brings a zingy warmth to the muffins, and complements the spice profile beautifully. These are quick and easy to make, and can handle any combination of dried fruit, as my successful attempt to substitute shows. Don’t wait until Christmas morning to make these – they are fabulous year round!
This is a quick easy recipe for a spicy, dried fruit muffin. Feel free to substitute any dried fruit of your choice for the pineapple and candied ginger I've added.
This is Nigella Lawson's recipe for Christmas Muffins, from her fantastic Nigella Christmas cookbook. In her recipe, she uses all dried cranberries, and the juice and zest of fresh clementines instead of my OJ.
- 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (or good grating of fresh nutmeg)
- 1/3 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil (or melted butter left to cool slightly)
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup dried pineapple (chopped) or cranberries
- 1/2 cup chopped candied ginger
- 3 teaspoons turbinado sugar (for the topping)
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6/400ºF. Line a 12-bun muffin tin with muffin papers or silicone inserts.
- Measure the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg into a large bowl, and combine.
- In a small mixing bowl, pour the orange juice, milk, oil (or slightly cooled, melted butter) and egg, and lightly beat until just combined.
- Pour this liquid mixture into the bowl of dried ingredients and stir until everything is more or less combined, remembering that a well-beaten mixture makes for heavy muffins: in other words a lumpy batter is a good thing here.
- Fold in the dried fruit, then spoon the batter into the muffin cases and sprinkle the turbinado sugar on top. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, by which time the air should be thick with the promise of good things and the good things themselves golden brown and ready to be eaten, either plain or broken up and smeared, as you go, with unsalted butter and marmalade.