28 March 2012

Bacon & Cheese Muffins

A very long time ago, when I first made muffins and they were successful, it got us to thinking about what flavours would combine well in that context.

We went through all the nuts and fruit combinations, all the chocolate combinations and chocolate/fruit combinations - and then began to think savoury.

The very first combination that struck us, was Bacon & Cheese.  Now that seemed to be a workable combination for a breakfast or elevenses muffin, provided enough cheese was involved.  So often, in recipes, cheese is on the ingredients list but in insufficient quantities to make the kind of flavour impact that cheese lovers like us are looking for.  To our way of thinking, if you're going to have cheese in something, then we want to taste it - not just imagine that it's there, somewhere, under the rest of the flavours.


So, what we have here is a very cheesy, very bacony, Bacon & Cheese Muffin.

Sprinkled with cheese and ready for the oven
These muffins are by far and away the very tip top favourite of all muffin-kind, where my hubby is concerned.  He even asked for some for his birthday!  Granted, they aren't the cheapest of muffins to make - as they use an entire 340g pack of bacon at £2.60 or so, not to mention the cheese and buttermilk.  As an "extra" (i.e. outside of the normal run of breakfast, lunch and dinner) and as the ingredients only make 6 (albeit large) muffins, they definitely don't work out as the cheapest baking in the world.

However, as a breakfast treat - or a school break time treat - you'd have to go a long way to beat them.

Mmmmn ... bacon & cheese goodness!
I've tried various additional flavours with these muffins - such as sun dried tomato, red onion, and olives - but it seems to me that these additional flavours just serve to detract from the beautiful friendship that the cheese and bacon to have developed.   Although, having said that, I do add some English Mustard powder and a small amount of paprika.  These, though, rather than standing up there and exchanging fisticuffs with the cheese, do a very good job of being backing singers to the cheese and provide a deeper flavour profile to the substance of the muffin.  The mustard powder also provides a comforting and gentle warmth that you're really not aware of until after the last mouthful has been swallowed.

I thoroughly recommend a good strong cup of coffee along with these muffins - and a drop of warm sunshine and a comfortable patio would be good, but we can't have everything!

BACON & CHEESE MUFFINS   (makes 6 large)

Ingredients :

340g smoked back bacon
110g strong mature cheddar, grated (10g separated out for sprinkling)
360g self raising flour
2 tsp English Mustard powder
half a tsp paprika
1 tbsp sugar (I used a rounded tsp of Splenda)
100ml extra virgin olive oil
2 large eggs
250ml buttermilk
50ml semi skimmed milk (or plain yoghurt).

Method :

1.  Pre-heat your oven to 180degF/350degC/gas4.

2.  Cook the rashers of bacon - whole - under the grill until the fat has rendered out but before they become crispy.  Put them on a plate and allow to cool completely.


3.  While the bacon is cooling, grate the cheddar.


4.  Take each rasher of bacon and with scissors, cut into small dice.

5.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, mustard, paprika) until thoroughly mixed.

6.  In another bowl, combine all the wet ingredients (oil, eggs, buttermilk, milk) and give them a whisk with a balloon whisk until thoroughly mixed.


7.  Combine the liquid ingredients with the dry ingredients in the large bowl plus add the bacon and cheese.  Give everything a good few stirs - but don't over-mix.  It is good with muffins to retain a certain lumpiness to the mixture, so don't worry if there are small clumps of un-mixed in flour.  Too much mixing makes a tough muffin!


8.  Decant the mixture into a silicone muffin tray which has been placed upon a baking tray (otherwise they're hell to handle!).  Sprinkle over the remaining 10g of cheese.


9.  Put into the oven to bake for some 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the muffin comes out clean.


10.  Place onto a wire cooling rack and fight off all comers until ready to be eaten!


Printable version

6 comments:

  1. Well they look delicious - really fancy one Right Now!

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    1. I don't blame you, Suzy - they are so moreish! I debated making smaller muffins and so getting more of them, but decided that we'd all just eat two at a time - so there wasn't much point! lol

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  2. These look fabulous!

    This is probably something you're already aware of, but rather than buying buttermilk you can just add a good squeeze of lemon juice to normal milk and set aside for 10 mins and voila. I have terrible trouble finding buttermilk in the supermarkets and this seems to work equally well.

    Sx

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Seren!

      I have tucked that nugget of information away behind my ear for a time when I can't find buttermilk. Our local Asda has it in regularly, which is brilliant, but I'm sure that one day they'll let me down. When that happens, I'll know what to do. :)

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  3. i like how u made yr post very interesting with sprinkles of anecdotes :) i was hooked onto every word and i like that. u have a great blog and can see much effort has been put in. U are the kind that i call a real foodie. i'll keep coming in to steal regular peeks from now on ;)

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    Replies
    1. Hello Mab! How lovely to see you here! I love it when a Facebook friend translates to a blog friend. :) Many thanks for your kind words regarding the blog, I do try to make it as interesting as possible and attempt to convey my passion for what I'm doing. I'll look forward to seeing you again!

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