Delicious and nutritious muffin recipes
Take school lunch box to the next level
There’s an age-old custom in school yards. It’s called the sandwich swap – the joy and the bane of many young lives. If you have a great lunch you are on top of the pile and if you have a not-so-desirable lunch you are left to make any deal you can make just to get a taste of the different sandwich that some other kid has. Children are going back to school this month.
Thankfully with time, sandwiches have become more than cheese, ham and polony slapped on a piece of bread. With many parents opting to provide varied lunches for their children, whether informed by health decisions or the need to keep their children’s lunch interesting, school lunches have come a long way.
A couple of years ago on this page, we spoke to a young entrepreneur who made pre-packaged lunches for kids. This ensured that children of busy parents would always have lunch and it was something that their parents knew was taken care of.
But with the coronavirus epidemic, a lot of people might be uncomfortable with the idea of giving their child lunch from somewhere else, and especially for their children to swap sandwiches on the playground. So here are some fun recipes to help you add some variety in your child’s lunch box.
Blueberry Oatmeal Bites (makes 20)
(Courtesy chef Charne Wylie from Capsicum's Pretoria campus)
1 ripe banana
1 cup almond milk
1 large egg
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon coconut oil (in liquid form)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup fresh blueberries (or berries of your choice)
1 tablespoon brown sugar (optional)
Pre-heat oven to 180°C. Spray a mini-muffin tin with cooking spray. Place the banana in a large bowl and mash well with a fork. Add the almond milk, egg, maple syrup, vanilla extract, coconut oil, lemon zest and juice, and whisk until smooth and well-combined.
In a separate bowl, combine the oats, cinnamon, salt and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk to combine. Stir in the blueberries. Spoon the oatmeal mixture into the prepared mini-muffin tin, filling the wells almost to the top.
You should have enough oatmeal for 20 bites. Bake for 18-20 minutes until the oatmeal has set and the tops of the bites are lightly browned. (At this point you can simply let your bites cool, but I like to sprinkle the bites with a little brown sugar and then pop them under the grill for a couple minutes until they get nicely browned and crispy on top.) Let the bites cool in the muffin tin for 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Refrigerate in an airtight container.
Banana Weet-Bix Muffins
(Courtesy chef Caren Marimuthu from Capsicum's Durban campus)
45ml brown sugar
5ml vanilla essence
500ml cake flour
10ml baking powder
250ml dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 180°C. Line muffin tray with paper liners. Mash bananas, crumble over dry Weet-Bix, mix in milk and set aside for 10 minutes. Cream together sugar and butter. Mix in beaten eggs and vanilla. Stir in banana mixture, then mix in sifted flour, salt and baking powder. Lastly, mix in chocolate chips. Scoop mixture into paper liners and bake for 15-20 minutes.
Dark chocolate chips add flavour without adding too many unwanted calories but can be substituted for milk or white chocolate chips or caramel chips. For an even healthier snack, add diced dry fruit or nuts to the mix. For added sweetness add a crumble topping before baking and drizzle honey over the top of each muffin immediately after removed from the oven. (crumble topping is made by crumbling 60g butter into 60g flour and 60g brown sugar)
Bacon and Cheddar Muffins (makes 12)
(Courtesy chef Bradley Wright from Capsicum's Durban campus)
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 rashers rindless bacon, finely chopped
2½ cups self-raising flour
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
50g butter, melted
Preheat oven to 190°C. Line a 12-hole muffin pan with paper cases. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat and cook bacon until crisp. Let it cool. Combine sifted flour with cheese, chives and bacon in a medium bowl. Make a well in the centre.
Add remaining ingredients and stir until combined well. Spoon mixture into paper cases and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and just firm to touch. Let them cool in the muffin pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
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