Muffins are not only good for Monday mornings: I also like to take one (or two) with me when I go for a hike of a weekend. A few months ago, before the heat and humidity really kicked up a notch, I even took one of these choc halzenut beasts along with me on a bike ride.
I know it’s always suggested that riding a bike is one of those skills you never forget, but I would like to challenge that notion. I go to spinning class at least twice a week, but there’s such a massive difference between a stationary bike and a real one that wobbles all over the place and has to be steered. It took me a good few minutes to get into a rhythm, and by the end of the bike track I still wasn’t particularly steady on my wheels.
Happily, there is also a massive difference between a slow meander by the river and a 50 minute session of extreme exercise and a muscly, lycra-clad man shouting “motivational” insults at you (“Why aren’t you sweating enough? Go harder!” and “If you’re thinking of going to the beach this weekend, you need to turn it up!”). I’m already looking forward to the weather cooling off and giving the bike path another try, just to remind myself that cycling can also be pleasant, rather than merely an exercise in torture.
Choc Hazelnut Muffins
340g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
60g dark chocolate, chopped into chunks
60g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
120g plain yoghurt
80ml sunflower oil
1. Preheat the oven to 190C and line a muffin tray with paper cases.
2. Combine the flour, baking powder, bicarb and sugar in a large bowl. Add most of the chocolate and hazelnuts and mix to ensure they’re well coated in flour – this should prevent all the good stuff sinking to the bottom. Reserve a few chunks for sprinkling on top.
3. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, yoghurt, milk and oil.
4. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ones and mix well until combined.
5. Spoon into the prepared cases, filling them generously.
6. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate and hazelnuts on the top.
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes until risen and golden.
8. Cool in the tray for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.