Spiced (Speculaas) Muffins with Almond Paste

Whenever autumn rolls around, I get the urge to bake delicious things with speculaas spices. Speculaas is a big favourite here in the Netherlands, and the speculaas and chocolate muffins I made last year became a huge success with my friends and family, and it’s still one of my favourite recipes.

This year, I decided to go for the classic Dutch combination of speculaas and almond: a muffin flavoured with some lovely spices, and a heart of almond paste. I added a splash of liqueur to liven things up a little, and some almond sprinkles on top and voilà, another mouthwateringly good muffin!

These really are delicious, and I think I will be making them a lot throughout the winter. If you want to make them too but are thinking “but Anne, I don’t know where to get speculaas spices!”, worry no more! These spices are simply a combination of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger, and I’ve provided the measurements below.

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Pretty in Pink: Raspberry Cupcakes

A few weeks ago I bought a kilo of frozen raspberries for less than 4 euros. You can imagine I was quite pleased with myself! I love raspberries, but they’re always so ridiculously expensive, if you want fresh ones. Even frozen raspberries aren’t very cheap, usually. So, yes, I was very happy with this purchase, to say the least.

I’ve used a bunch of them to make smoothies, but decided to bake something with them this week: cupcakes, to be exact. I didn’t realise exactly how pink they’d turn out, so, in hindsight, perhaps I shouldn’t have chosen pink paper cases to bake them in. They still look scrumptious, though! Plus, the colour of the icing is completely natural: all you need is some raspberry juice.

I slightly altered this recipe for the cupcakes, which is always foolproof, and they came out looking pretty darn delicious. Unfortunately, I was in a bit of a hurry, and only had time to ice three of the cupcakes (the others needed to bake a little longer) after trying to let them cool more quickly by holding the plate out of the window. Oh well, it happens.

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