Is there anything more magical than Christmas morning? As children, waking up first was a badge of honour between my brother and I, though I believe there was only one year when I was the early bird. He’d come and wake me up at about 3am, we’d grab our well-stuffed stockings and race into our parents’ bedroom to tear open our gifts. My mum was probably even giddier than we were, but my dad, always eager for more sleep, would send us back to bed until a slightly more respectable hour, when we were allowed downstairs for the main haul.
I can’t remember what we had for Christmas breakfasts when we were young: at that time, Christmas was primarily about presents. Now, however, it’s all about food, and I like to have a hearty breakfast to start the day and fuel me up for the rest of the cooking ahead. Nowadays it’s my mum who comes in to wake me up and tell me Father Christmas has been (and I’m the one trying to stay abed until a more respectable hour). We still open our stockings upstairs first, but now I always insist on breakfast before the main stash of presents is opened, much to her dismay. And here is a suitable morning treat, containing plenty of festive flavours (cinnamon, cranberry, orange) and studded with beautiful red jewels of fruit.
They don’t take long at all to throw together, and it’s nice to have that waft of home baking spreading through the house, leaving in its wake a lovely sense of cosiness. If you don’t want to start the busy day itself with baking, they’re just as acceptable any other December day when you want to get in the festive spirit.
Christmas Morning Muffins
Slightly adapted from a Nigella Lawson recipe, makes 8
200g plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
75g demerera sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 clementine or small orange
60g butter, melted
150g dried cranberries
1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Line a muffin tray with paper cases.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, bicarb, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
3. Squeeze the orange juice into a measuring jug, and pour the milk on top until it reaches the 150ml mark (you may need more or less than the 50ml).
4. Add the melted butter and egg to the jug, and beat well to combine.
5. Pour the liquids into the bowl of dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
6. Lightly fold in the cranberries.
7. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases.
8. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown. Stand the tin on a wire rack for a few minutes to cool, then get the Christmas Day scoffing underway!