Showing posts with label cardamom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cardamom. Show all posts

Monday, March 16, 2015

Arabian Nights Muffins #MuffinMonday

One great way to add flavor to a muffin is to use flavored teas in the batter. Brew the tea with piping hot milk and add some more loose tea to strengthen the flavor profile to make a tasty muffin. 

This week I am in Michigan, spending time with a dear friend who owns a teashop filled with hundreds of loose teas in a variety of flavors. My favorite part of coming here is hanging out with her in her shop because she is constantly plying me with tea to sample, as we chat and catch up. I deliberately didn’t make my muffin for today before I arrived because I also love baking with her tea, something I don’t think to do often enough at home. Today I chose one of her special blends called Arabian Nights, which mixes black tea with jasmine petals, jasmine essence and cardamom. The aroma is spectacular! If you have a special tea you enjoy, I encourage you to try baking with tea as well.

For the muffin batter:
2 teabags Arabian Nights tea or your favorite spice tea blend
1 cup or 240ml milk
2 cups or 250g flour
1/2 cup, packed, or 100g dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon loose Arabian Nights tea or your favorite spice tea blend
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (or the spice prominent in your tea’s flavor profile)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup or 120ml canola or other light oil
2 large eggs

For the glaze:
1 tablespoon tea-infused milk
6-7 tablespoons powdered sugar

Optional for decoration: 1 teaspoon loose Arabian Nights tea

Bring your milk to a boil and put the teabags in to steep. Leave the teabags in till the milk is cool then remove them, making sure to squeeze the milk out before discarding them.

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and prepare your 12-cup muffin pan by greasing it thoroughly or spraying with non-stick spray or lining it with paper muffin cups.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, loose tea and salt and stir well.

Reserve one tablespoon of the tea-infused milk for the glaze and then put the rest in a small mixing bowl with the oil and eggs. Whisk thoroughly to combine.

Pour your wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold them together until just mixed.

Divide the batter between your muffin cups in your prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool on a rack for a few minutes and then remove the muffins to cool completely.

To make the glaze, add the powdered sugar to the reserved milk-infused tea one tablespoon at a time, stirring well in between, until you read a good drizzling consistency.

Drizzle the glaze over the muffins once they are cool.

Sprinkle on a little pinch of loose tea to decorate, if desired.


Monday, December 2, 2013

Date Syrup Raisin Muffins #UAENationalDay #MuffinMonday

Date syrup or honey, called dibs in the UAE, is ubiquitous in the Middle East and north Africa, the land of dates.  Date syrup makes a great addition to baked sweet treats, adding a depth of flavor reminiscent of molasses.  It is made from the actual dates.  The sap that is tapped from certain date palms becomes palm sugar from a completely different process.

We first arrived in the UAE in the fall of 1987.  Abu Dhabi was a small city with green esplanades and manicured gardens, and a beautiful seaside promenade called the Corniche, surrounded by sandy desert inland as far as the eye could see.  The road between Abu Dhabi and Dubai was a small highway with roundabouts and wild camels that regularly ambled across, so caution was essential.  We would drive into the bigger, flashier city of Dubai for occasional shopping trips, passing by the newly emerging Emirates Golf Club right out in the middle of the desert.  The only green visible was the greens themselves, with their brave little flags marking the holes.  The fairways and bunkers were still all sand.  I can’t even imagine how challenging that course was to play!

Now verdant Emirates Golf Club is in the middle of the city, with Dubai grown out all around it and the highway between the cities boasts four lanes on each side and fences to restrain the camels.  Abu Dhabi too has grown and the Corniche of old has been relocated onto reclaimed land, extending Abu Dhabi island farther into the sea.  When we moved back here again last year, 23 years after we moved away, it was like straining to see through a very foggy window to a place where things looked familiar and yet, so very different.  New buildings, new roads, new beaches, all mixed up with sites that jog my memory.  I’ve spent the last year getting so very lost, even in old Dubai.  Every time I venture beyond my neighborhood it's an adventure!  But, fortunately, I like adventure.

Today the UAE celebrates its 42nd National Day and all weekend long there have been parties, decorated car parades and fireworks.  We are also celebrating the recent announcement that Expo 2020 will be held in Dubai, a real coup for the city and all of the Emirates.  So, for this Muffin Monday, I’ve baked a muffin with a bit of a local flavor, using date syrup, cardamom and raisins.

Happy birthday, UAE! 

1/2 cup or 110g sugar
2 cups or 250g flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup or 120ml date syrup (molasses can be substituted)
1/2 cup or 120ml milk
2 large eggs at room temperature
1/2 cup or 120g butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup or 70g raisins

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.   Put liners in muffin cups or grease well with butter or non-stick spray.  Don’t you love my UAE liners?  I was so pleased to find them at a nearby store.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamom and salt.

I used fresh cardamom, cracking the little pods and then grinding the tiny seeds.
The scent is fabulous.  Doesn't it look like pepper?! 

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together your date syrup, melted butter, milk, and eggs.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold to combine.

Reserve a small handful of the raisins for popping on the top of each muffin and gently fold the rest into the batter.

Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups.

Decorate with the reserved raisins.

Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove and cool further on a wire rack.


If you are fortunate enough to be in the UAE today, here's a link to a great article outlining the celebrations, where to go and what to do.  From The Gulf News.