Super Rich Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

Vegan, Wholemeal, Low Sugar 
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Remember when I made those chocolate orange cupcakes and told everyone they were the best healthy chocolate cupcakes ever? Well that proved that none of you can trust me ever again, because it was a lie. These here today are the best. cupcakes. EVER.

They defy science. When I was making them, I felt very apprehensive about the large blobs of chia gel floating on a sea of cold coffee and mashed banana. I had a sinking feeling I would have to throw it all in the bin, and waste my precious stash of frozen bananas. But then, somehow in the oven a miracle occurred. Maybe someone came into my house and replaced them, I don’t really know. But they came out as literally the richest, *moistest* cupcakes of all time.

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We first tried them warm from the oven, when the chocolate chunks were still melted and squishy. They were so amazing I almost decided not to ice them. But they looked so ugly! Literally like little cooked pots of dirt. Also is it a cupcake without icing? Somebody tell me because I really don’t know.

So, I made this avocado mousse and covered them all in that. Holy crap! They became even better. They tasted like little chocolate fondant mousse explosions. I thought I was up to the challenge of eating two, and it was so rich I almost had a hard attack right there. HOW!

I actually don’t understand. The ingredients list reads more like a healthy breakfast than a cake. And somehow it’s richer than the Sarah Lee pudding I may or may not have sampled in the darkest moments of the holidays. What is life.

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Being away so long I’ve gotten quite rusty with the whole photography process, so apologies for the very moody Dracula lighting. I was feeling very dark and existential today. Not really, I just couldn’t find my white backboard and the sunlight disappeared behind a cloud for a good four hours.

Also, when I finally did manage to take a good shot, I excitedly slapped the backboard down onto the table and crushed three of the cupcakes. (Don’t worry, my sister ate them). You don’t have to ice these if you don’t want to. If you don’t, you can warm them up and make the chocolate melt. If you do though, you won’t regret it. They are literally so rich. Have a great week errybody 🙂

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Rich chocolate cupcakes:
3 tbsp chia seeds mixed with 7 tbsp water
3 bananas, mashed
1/3 cup (80ml) brewed coffee or espresso
110ml (1/2 cup) olive or sunflower oil

100g (1/2 cup) raw sugar
120g (1 cup) plain or wholemeal flour
120g (1 cup) raw cacao powder
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
60g chopped dark chocolate
opt: 1 tsp cinnamon

Icing:
1 large ripe avocado
2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
4 tbsp raw cacao
1-2 tbsp soy or almond milk

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Preheat the oven to 180C (360F) and line 10 cupcake holes with papers. Mash the bananas well, then blend with the chia gel, coffee and oil. In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients well. Use a spoon to gently fold in the blended wet ingredients until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chunks Spoon into the muffin tins until 3/4 full and bake for 13-15 minutes, until risen and springy when you touch them. Allow to cool completely.

Blend together the avocado, cacao and honey and add the soy milk until you have a mousse-like consistency. Either use a piping bag, or just a knife to ice each cupcake. Once iced, store the cupcakes in the fridge and eat on the day you make them.

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Apple and Pear Honey Crumble with Toasted Almonds

Optional Vegan, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free

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Ok, I’ve finally accepted it. It’s officially winter now in Sydney. I may or may not have attempted to hang on to Summer for a little too long this year. I may have bought a bikini yesterday. And a pair of shorts. But to be fair the warm weather lasted for ages! There were a few chilly nights, where I insisted on wearing summer clothes and ended up having to shelter under my taller friends’ armpits for warmth. But all in all this Autumn was rather balmy. 

It’s strange how in Sydney no one really accepts that it gets cold in Winter. All through Summer everyone’s super prepared with their chilled watermelon and beach trips, but come winter literally no one knows how to act. No one even owns proper coats, let alone umbrellas or *gasp* thermals. For the first time ever last night I actually used the heating in my room, thinking, “hmm. 28C seems like a pretty nice temperature.” One hour later I woke up sweaty and panicked, dopey from all the gas in my room. I had to crawl to the remote and turn the heat down. I had to crawl.

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So today this is my slightly better remedy for winter. Everyone knows the best part about winter is the dessert. It must be warm and it must be served with vanilla ice cream. Otherwise the criteria is pretty vague. We had a whole bunch of pears and apples sitting in the fruit bowl and at first I was going to make a pie, but who has time for that?! Also, I wanted to eat this particular dessert for breakfast. This was also why I made the crumble in individual bowls, so that no confused lost soul would accidentally think I made the crumble for sharing purposes. 

I decided to try some new flavours in the crumble as a little experiment, and they worked so well I knew I had to post the recipe. The cinnamon and honey go so well with the pears! I literally couldn’t stop eating it. But the flavour that worked best was the oranges I squeezed over the fruit to stop it going brown. We had heaps of oranges as well and I juiced a couple to stop the fruit going brown as I took photos. Holy moly! It made the filling so much better! I would possibly vote this crumble one of the best I’ve ever tasted. 

Remember to serve with ice cream. And you should probably wear woolly socks whilst you eat it, preferably whilst watching Brigitte Jones Diary. But it’s up to you 🙂

One Year Ago: Tangy Lemon Curd Frozen Yogurt

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 Apple Crumble with Honey and Almonds:

6 medium firm apples, peeled and sliced 

6 medium firm pears, peeled and sliced

juice of 2-3 medium oranges

1 heaped tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp runny honey, or maple syrup for vegan

For the fruit filling, combine everything in a heavy bottomed pan and cook, covered, on a low heat for about 15 minutes, until the fruit is soft but still holding its shape. Preheat the oven to 160C (320F). 

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For the crumble:

50g butter (vegan butter or coconut butter can be substituted for vegan) chopped 

100g wholemeal flour (almond butter for gluten free)

100g gluten-free oats

40g toasted almonds, chopped roughly

2 tbsp raw sugar 

25ml almond milk

Rub the butter and flour together in a bowl between your fingers until the mixture is crumbly but not doughy. Stir in the rest of the dry ingredients until combined. Pour over the almond milk and chop through the mixture with the spoon until everything is lightly crumbly. 

Spoon the fruit into an oven proof dish (or around 6-8 small ones). Cover with the crumble and bake for half an hour, until the top is toasty and golden and the fruit bubbling. Serve warm with ice cream.

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Tropical Fruits and Coconut Granola Bars (vegan and gluten free!)

Vegan, Gluten Free, Low Fat, Sugar Free

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 At the end of my two month holiday a few months ago, for the first time in my whole trip I had two days by myself. I left my sister and friend at a bus stop in Sukhotai, Thailand and began the seven hour journey back to Bangkok on my own. I shed a little tear watching my friends getting smaller through the window, knowing I wouldn’t see them for a whole month. It’s strange spending every waking minute with someone for so long, and then suddenly not at all. 

By the time I arrived in Bangkok the sun was setting. By the time I got to my hotel and checked in, it was well and truly dark. I had told myself I would get my last street food meal for dinner that night, but I confess I got a veggie subway and a bag of fresh fruit instead. Sitting in my hotel room eating mango slices, watching reruns of The Texas Bachelorette, I felt homesick for the first time. I missed my dog, I missed my family and the friends who I hadn’t seen in weeks. But mainly I just missed talking to people I knew. 

In the airport (which I accidentally arrived at 6 hours before my flight…curse you 24 hour time!) I spent all my remaining money on presents for my family, including two huge bags of dried fruit for my Step Dad. My plans were to make him some tropical granola bars as soon as I got home, because he love granola bars. 

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 My grand plans got sidetracked by a number of other exciting dishes that had to come first, and somehow three months passed before I could get around to it! Better late than never right?

These granola bars are packed full of tropical flavours and they’re the best I’ve ever made, hands down! I have so many issues with granola bars. I hate when they crumble. I HATE IT. I hate when they’re overly sweet or so chewy your teeth almost fall out. Granola bars aren’t something I wanted to settle with, they had to be juuust right. 

It’s hard to get a balance between making a super healthy bar, which is so easy considering how much goodness you can pack in, as well as making them taste as good as a cafe-bought bar. These bars have found a happy compromise. They are rich from a maple syrup and coconut butter caramel, but also bursting with superfoods like goji, sunflower seeds, coconut and mango. 

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 I’m sad that the granola bars were oh so good, but the photos came out oh so bad! Sometimes I just can’t even deal with my photos. I mean, please. There needs to be an intervention. Someone needs to come and sit me down and explain everything there ever is to know about anything to do with my camera because my brain has turned to mush after all the uni work I did this week and I can’t improve by myself. I JUST CAN’T. 

You’re just going to have to trust me with this one. It’s such a great recipe, I know I’ll be using it from now on when the need for granola bars arises. You don’t have to take it down the tropical road if you don’t want to, that’s just an idea I had while I was waiting in Bangkok airport for my lonely flight home. 

I also ate four scoops of banana and chocolate ice cream while I was there, but that’s another story. 

If you try adding different flavours, let me know how it goes! And happy May! 

One Year Ago: Chocolate and Caramel Banana Muffins

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Tropical Granola Bars: Adapted from Ottolenghi

45g each hazelnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds and desiccated coconut

190g rolled oats

30g ground almonds 

50g dried mango

50g dried pineapple

50g dried goji berries

1 ripe banana

 

For the caramel:

75g raw sugar

85g coconut butter, or oil I think would work too

85g maple syrup (or honey for non-vegan)

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Method:

Preheat oven to 160C (320F) and line a 20 x 23cm tin with baking paper. Soak the fruit briefly in water to soften a bit. Cut into small chunks, about the size of the goji berries. Roughly chop up the nuts. Stir together all the ingredients except the caramel and the banana in a large bowl. 

In a small saucepan, melt the coconut butter and syrup and sugar and stir well so that everything is combined. Cook for a minute, then pour over the dry ingredients. Stir well. Mash the banana and stir through the mix. Pour into the lined tin and bake for about 20 minutes, until golden on top. Allow the bars to cool completely before chopping with a serrated knife. 

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Guest Post: Healthy Apple and Cinnamon Coconut Crumble

Vegan, Wholemeal, Low Fat, Sugar Free

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Hey guys! I’m doing a guest post over at Smoothie Lover today with this recipe and a little about my food philosophy so go check it out!
Josefine’s blog is seriously beautiful. She makes healthy vegetarian food and her desserts are always amazing! I’ve been following her for a while now and am constantly impressed by how quickly her blog has grown and how lovely her photos are becoming. This apple crumble started life out as a simple way to use up all the apples in the fridge, but it turned in to one of the tastiest crumbles ever especially with all the coconut going on in there.

Also I’m sad about the photos. Everything was going along great until the sun decided to abort mission early and set at 4 in the afternoon! Before I’d finished taking my photos!! So please forgive the lack of an inside shot and just trust that it tasted epic. I’m going to try and do another post before Easter but if not, happy holidays guys!!

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 Some of the beautiful things you have to check out on Josefine’s blog:

Her honey and dried fig scones. The combination of honey and fig anything is just out of this world and combined with a scone!!!

These perfect raw tarts would make the best fancy dessert ever!

And the tastiest looking falafel recipe ever. 

Thank you Josefine for having me on your blog today! 

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Vanilla Bean and Coconut Scones with Rhubarb Compote

Vegan! Dairy and Egg Free

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 I’m doing the 30 day vegan challenge everybody! I’m quite excited. I’ll admit, this morning when I got up and made breakfast I did spend quite a while just standing in front of the fridge debating if yogurt was really, truly not vegan. I mean, it’s already in the fridge right. The cow doesn’t want it back. But NOT YOUR MUM NOT YOUR MILK am I right?!?!

So I made oatmeal with almond milk and figs. Pretty good start hey? If I do say so myself. For the blog I actually make a lot of vegan stuff. The most popular by a mile being Vegan Banana Bread, which somehow tastes better than normal banana bread and is somehow also sugar free and wholemeal (miracle bread). But in real life I eat lactose-free yogurt basically every day and more eggs than is probably necessary or normal. 

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 I’ve been a vegetarian for four years now (another five previously as well) and I have an embarrassing habit of tearing up at stupid vegetarian things like when people talk about fois gras or veal meatballs. I cried in Marley and Me, I can say it. At the beginning. When he had to say goodbye to his little baby brothers and sisters (so, sooo sad). Animals are friends! Not food, so it’s probably time I take that a little more seriously. (Although I can’t see myself stopping eating honey. Bees probably love it when we take their honey). 

This morning to celebrate the beginning of the challenge I made vegan scones! Scones are kind of the best thing ever, especially with jam and cream. But they’re often made with cream, buttermilk, eggs or both! So at first I didn’t really know how to approach making them. And then inspiration struck!

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 Coconut! I followed a regular scone recipe, subbing in coconut butter and coconut cream for the diary versions. I also added the seeds from a vanilla bean because coconut and vanilla are a match made in heaven. I was pretty nervous while they were baking. Would they turn out really crumbly and weird? Who knows! And I forgot to glaze them so I was expecting them to be super ugly as well. But when I ate one, slathered in sweet and tangy vanilla rhubarb compote. Oh my God. 

They were so good! Crunchy on the outside, fluffy and soft on the inside, warm and coconut scented and vanilla flecked deliciousness. Rhubarb and raw sugar with the seedless vanilla beans made the easiest and tastiest compote I’ve ever tried. The scones didn’t even need extra coconut cream, which I had at the ready. That’s how good they were! 

I can’t even express how happy I was with these scones. I even gave them to my mum’s very sceptical non-vegan friend, and she said they were ‘divine’! Do the 30 day challenge with me! And if you can’t be bothered to go the whole 30 days, at least make these scones. You know you want to. 

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 Vegan Coconut and Vanilla Bean Scones: Adapted from Marian Kayes Saved by Cake

265g (1.6 cups) plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

Seeds of 1 vanilla bean, scraped out

65g (1/3 cup) caster sugar

100g (3.5 ounces) coconut butter, cut into cubes

180ml (3/4 cup) coconut cream, stirred well

Almond milk, for brushing
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Preheat the oven to 220C (428F) and line a large baking tray with baking paper. In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt together well. Whisk in the sugar and vanilla seeds. Use a knife to ‘cut’ in the coconut butter to form a sandy, breadcrumb-like texture. Slowly pour in the coconut cream, continuing to cut with the knife until well combined.

Turn onto a floured board and knead very lightly, just enough to combine the ingredients into a dough. Press down to about an inch thick and use a cup or scone cutter to cut into even rounds. Don’t twist the cup to separate the scones, just press straight down or they won’t rise properly. Brush with almond milk and bake for 15 minutes until risen and golden. 

Top with the rhubarb compote: 1 small bunch rhubarb poached in half a cup of water with 100g (1/2 cup) raw sugar and the leftover vanilla bean. Cook on low heat for 10-20 minutes until soft and sticky. Makes 8-12 scones

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Chocolate and Blueberry Mousse Tart

Vegan, Sugar Free, Gluten Free, optional Raw

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 Guess what day is right around the corner! It’s……VALENTINES DAY! To celebrate I made a chocolate mousse tart topped with fresh blueberries. It’s the perfect valentines day dessert because it’s rich, creamy and chocolatey, and will win you love from whoever you decide to give it to. It’s also super easy to make and very comforting. It can be eaten with a spoon, by yourself, in your pyjamas. I won’t judge you. 

Valentines Day is always such a weird day. Last year for the first time in my life I actually had a real valentines, so me and my boyfriend went out for dinner. He ordered four dishes all for himself while I got just one…and then could barely move after eating them all. And then the waiter dropped his dessert on his lap and looked like she (he? we never really found out) was going to cry so we had to comfort her (or him) while we waited for a new one. It was sooo romantic.

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 This year I think I’m just going to make him some kind of warm chocolate brownie pudding and homemade ice cream. Because that’s his favourite and eating warm brownies and ice cream is the best way to celebrate any occasion. If someone wanted to make me a chocolate dessert for the special day (hint hint…) it would be this chocolate tart. I’ve been wanting to experiment more with silken tofu ever since I made mango pudding with it. I saw some amazing looking chocolate tarts that used it as a base and got so excited to make a chocolate mousse tart! With fresh blueberries because you should always add fresh blueberries when they’re cheap and in season. Am I RIGHT???

I didn’t want to use all melted chocolate as the sweet component, but I didn’t want to just use cocoa powder and sweetener. So I ended up using a balance of 100g melted dark chocolate with some vanilla, agave and raw cacao powder. I was so so happy with how it came out! The flavour was intensely chocolatey and rich, but the texture was just perfect! Super creamy and light. You’d never guess how light and healthy this tart is.

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 I decided to make a raw walnut and sultana base because I wanted people to have the option of making it completely raw. If you want to, just replace the 600g of silken tofu with two perfectly ripe avocados. You may want to increase the agave as well. It won’t last as long in the fridge, but it will have a deliciously smooth texture and lots of healthy omega fats. Put your hands up for healthy fats! 

The blueberries tasted so good with this tart as they sunk into the chocolatey custard layer, but you could top it with anything you want. Orange slices, strawberries, coconut cream, banana slices, nuts, praline! The list goes on forever. If you’re allergic to nuts, you can also replace the walnuts with a combination of flax and sunflower seeds. I don’t have a powerful blender and I still managed to make this tart in about half an hour, not including freezing time.Just bash up your nuts in a mortar and pestle first and soak your dried fruit so it blends faster. Happy Valentines Day! 

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 Vegan and Gluten Free Chocolate Berry Mousse Tart: Inspired by Baking = Love

For the Base:

2 cups walnuts or sunflower and flax seeds, bashed into crumbs in a mortar and pestle

1 cup sultanas, soaked briefly in warm water (about 20 minutes)

3-4 tbsp cocoa powder

For the Filling:

600g (21 ounces) silken tofu, drained

100g (3.5 ounces) dark semi-sweet chocolate, or more or less depending how rich you like

3 tbsp raw cacao powder

1 tbsp agave nectar

1 tsp vanilla extract

500g (1 pound) blueberries

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Start recipe a day before. Line a 20cm tart or cake tin with plastic wrap of foil (not baking paper as this will disintegrate when you freeze it). Blend together the walnuts and sultanas, adding the cocoa powder as you go to reach a thick, cookie dough like consistency. You may need to add a teaspoon of water or milk if it’s too crumbly. Press with your fingers into the tart tin, pushing the dough out to make an even layer on the bottom and sides of the tin. Keep in the freezer for at least 4 hours, until ready to fill. 

To make the filling, blend the drained tofu with the melted chocolate until smooth. Sift the cocoa powder well, and blend in, tasting as you go to reach the desired chocolatey flavour. Blend in the agave syrup and vanilla to sweeten, adding more if it’s too bitter. Pour into the tart tin and keep in the fridge for at least an hour before serving. Top with the berries when ready to serve. Lasts well in the fridge for a day or two. 

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Fresh Peach and Brown Sugar Muffins

Vegan and Wholemeal 

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Guys I’m back! Did you miss me?!?! Europe was so amazing and I had the best two months of my whole life, but! I was very excited to come back and blog again. Mainly because the last few posts have been horrendous! I squeezed them out just before I went away and they’re so horrendous… why! It makes my eyes burn. 

My new years resolutions (of which I made 25…) included using only manual on my camera and spending more time making my photos pretteh. So that started out today! Ok, so I haven’t mastered manual yet, and the peach muffins I made decided to come out as little butt ugly troll muffins, but they’re waay better than I was expecting for my first attempt.

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I have so many recipes that have been building up in my head to make as soon as I got home, but when I got off the plane yesterday after sitting in front of a screaming baby for ten hours, I just couldn’t do anything except make muffins. I just couldn’t face the world!!

Plus as a welcome home present my step-dad bought me a box of peaches. And they’re all ripe RIGHT NOW! So I whipped out the trusty Moosewood Cookbook and made some wholemeal brown sugar muffins, studded with lots of juicy peach slices. And they turned out so so good. I have a very evolved and scientific method of testing my recipes: I take a small bite, and if I don’t want another huge bite in the next two seconds, the recipe isn’t very good. These guys passed the test. I ate the whole thing in about 4 seconds. 

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I didn’t realise until I went away how big muffins are in Australia! I seriously don’t think I saw any the whole time I was away. I ate scones in Ireland and crepes in France and gelato in Italy, but where were the good old muffins hey? I missed these little guys. 

Starting the new year (my new year starts in February, shh) made me think about what this blog is going to be about more. Last year when I started it I had no clue what kind of things I wanted to make and what kind of photos I could of taken. I think most of the recipes from now on are going to be more centred in my everyday diet. Lots of wholemeal, mainly vegan, healthy and colourful recipes with some celebration things as well. I’m so excited! Happy belated New Year! 

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Vegan Fresh Peach and Brown Sugar Muffins

Update: On repeating this recipe they did not turn out well- word of warning, I no longer trust this recipe
125g (1 cup) wholemeal flour

1 tsp baking powder

25g (2 tbsp) brown sugar

1/2 medium banana, mashed

2 tbsp olive oil or grapeseed oil

120g (1/2 cup) soy or coconut yogurt

310g (2 cups, 2 medium peaches) cut into 1cm (1/2 inch) chunks

Preheat the oven to 170C (350F). Line 6 muffin tins with papers. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and sugar in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the mashed banana, oil and yogurt. Stir together well. Stir through the sliced peaches and spoon into the muffin moulds. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the tops are golden and the muffins spring back when pressed. Makes 5-6 but the recipe can easily be doubled!

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