Wednesday, 4 July 2007

New Baby!!!! - Fiori di Sicilia Muffins

FattyBoomBah finally decided to pop out her baby! This time she managed to go all the way to 38 weeks (last time she only managed 34 weeks!) A gorgeous little boy with lots of thick dark hair has joined our menagerie of children!
It is customary for us to provide baked goods to the mother of a newborn whilst they are in hospital. The breast feeding at midnight (and 1 am, and 2 am and 3am......) can make you very very hungry, so I thought muffins would be good. They fill you up without being too sweet and sugary. I also needed to try one of my very new and very exciting purchases, and muffins were a good way to test it.
A few months ago, I found a baking magazine put out by King Arthur Flour in a local newsagent. King Arthur Flour is a baking supplies company located in Vermont, USA, so I was quite (pleasantly) surprised to see their magazine so close to home! I actually visited them about 6 years ago - I was visiting my brother, who was living in Vermont at the time, and my sister-in-law took me there. At the time, I didn't realise the potential of the place, so unfortunately, I didn't make the most of it with lots of interesting purchases!
They have a fabulous range of baking supplies - things like speciality flours, ingredients and pre-mixes, as well as baking equipment. Of course, being on the other side of the world makes it ridiculously expensive to have their products delivered (not to mention half of them are banned from importation in Australia), but I did find two little items that I couldn't resist. One is maple flavour - not syrup, flavour. I have been looking for this in Australia for a couple of years and have not been able to find it, so I was quite excited to see it. The other was a flavouring called Fiori di Sicilia, which is a combination of vanilla and citrus. The people from King Arthur Flour raved about it in their magazine, and I was swayed by their sales pitch! So I spoke with AQIS to make sure I could import it (and the maple flavour) and so a couple of weeks later it arrived!
I thought a basic muffin recipe would be a good place to test it out as there are not a lot of competing flavours, and it turned out fabulous! It's very subtle but you can definitely notice something. You can't necessarily identify exactly what the flavour is, but it gave the muffins a real zing!

This is the basic recipe. If you can get your hands on the flavouring, go for it!
Basic Choc Chip Muffins
2 cups (300g) self raising flour
2/3 cup (150g) caster sugar
3/4 cup (140g) white choc chips
1/3 cup (80g) dark choc chips
60g butter, melted
3/4 cup (180ml) milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 tsp fiori di sicilia

Preheat oven to 190 C. Grease 3 x 12 hole mini muffin pans.
Mix all ingredients together. (Who doesn't love that line in a recipe!)
Spoon mixture into prepared pans. Bake for 15 minutes or until a skewer in the centre comes out clean.

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