Well, summer is definitely over now, so it seems… It’s starting to get dark much earlier, the leaves are changing and, most importantly, it’s getting cold. No more warm, sunny days, my friends. It’s back to warm jumpers and lots of tea. Which is fine by me, to be honest. I’m a sucker for a cosy jumper and, as most of you will know, I love tea. Yes, I really do love autumn, although I’d have been fine with a few more weeks of summer as well.
I came up with this recipe last week, while I was feeling all autumn-y, with the rain pouring down outside and me drinking the inevitable hot cup of tea inside. Autumn and also winter are the seasons for comfort food with rich tastes and lots of chocolate, so that’s exactly what these muffins are all about!
You’ve got your cinnamon, your nutmeg, your ginger and your cloves, or for the Dutchies among you: simply your speculaas. Add some chocolate to this bunch and the lovely texture of a good muffin, and you’ve got yourself this delicious treat. This is most definitely a new favourite recipe of mine, and I’m quite proud of my little masterpieces. I’m not even going to be modest about it. These muffins are amazing.
You’ll need… (for 12 muffins)
– 250 g plain flour
– 1½ teaspoon baking powder
– 6 teaspoons cinnamon
– 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
– ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
– 1 teaspoon ground ginger
– 200 g sugar
– 120 ml sunflower oil
– 2 eggs
– 1 teaspoon vanilla flavouring
– 60 g speculaas, crumbled (alternative: gingerbread)
– 60 g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa), chopped
– almond flakes to sprinkle on top
– muffin tin (for 12 muffins) and, optionally, 12 paper cases
– and an oven, of course! These muffins need to be baked at 180 °C (don’t forget to preheat your oven!)
Tip! If you live in the Netherlands you can make things a little easier for yourself by using “Speculaas en Koekkruiden” (available at the supermarket) instead of the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. If you choose to do this you’ll need
1 tablespoon of the “Speculaas en Koekkruiden” to replace the other spices. That’s what I did as well, so if you have the option of using the speculaas spices, I recommend doing so.
So, let’s get baking!
1. Mix together the dry ingredients Firstly, you need to take a large bowl and mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and the spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves — or the speculaas spices mentioned above). Just quickly make sure it’s all evenly mixed. You could use a whisk for this, or just a spoon.
2. Add the wet ingredients and mix together Now, it’s time to add the sunflower oil, eggs and vanilla flavouring and mix it all together. Your mixture will not look like a batter at all, and more like dough, but that’s okay. It’s meant to look like that. It does mean it’s a lot harder to mix, so I just use a spoon at this point. A whisk won’t be useful at all, since all the dough/batter will just get stuck inside it.
3. Add the speculaas/gingerbread and the chocolate The last ingredients to add to the mix are the crumbled speculaas (or gingerbread) and the chocolate. Use your spoon to mix it all through the rest of the mix. Your dough/batter will be quite crumbly at this point, but again — that’s okay!
4. Divide your “batter” over 12 paper cases Time to divide your mix over the cases (or straight into the muffin tin)! Divide the mixture evenly, and, if you want your muffins to rise properly, only fill them 3/4 of the way. I didn’t really care about the rising, so I just used up my entire mixture (which meant the cases were pretty much filled to the brim).
5. Sprinkle the muffins with the almond flakes This is where the almond flakes come in: sprinkle the muffins with some of these flakes. The taste of almond goes really well with speculaas, and this was kind of meant as decoration as well. It looks so pretty!
6. Bake the muffins! Now your muffins are almost done! All that’s left is the actual baking part. Put the muffin tin in your preheated oven (180 °C) and let them bake for about 25 minutes. When they’re done, take the tin out of the oven and let the muffins cool inside their tin for 5-10 minutes. Then take them out and let them cool completely on a cooling rack. I’d recommend to at least taste them while they’re still warm, though, since that’s when they’re at their best!
And that’s it! Enjoy your speculaas chocolate muffins!