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It’s been a pretty crazy few weeks, and no doubt the majority of us are now in lockdown due to COVID-19. I luckily took a last minute Uber to my boyfriend’s on Monday evening and am camping out at his place so I’m not on my own. Lockdown in the UK came into place that evening. My emergency packing list however didn’t include my essential baking equipment (square tin, muffin tray, measuring cups, props and various mixing bowls). If I’m honest, I feel a little lost without these. I’ve gotten so used to working with my stuff as part of my baking and food blog that everything feels a little alien right now, even if I’m so familiar with his place.

I know that some of you will also be feeling perhaps a little lost. A lack of usual routine, and inability to go outside whenever you want to can be disheartening and can make some of us go a little stir crazy. We’re trying to go for a run or a walk every day, whether that’s first thing in the morning or at lunch, and take a break from our workstations so work/home life is balanced and everything doesn’t just merge into one. This really helps, and having a routine is essential! The boyf is definitely making me feel at home and no doubt when things settle just a little I’ll be back to baking some new things. A lack of my usual pantry supplies has also thrown my usual recipe testing and development into disarray. We’re only buying what we need, and going to the supermarket when it’s absolutely essential. For the most part, we’re trying to get what we can online (and I’m trying to use up all the browning bananas in the most creative ways!). Watch this space.

Last week, when I was back in my flat, I spent an evening baking some delicious blueberry crumble brownies that gave my flatmate and I some ‘hugs’ of warmth in this weird time. I delivered some to our neighbours, who live upstairs and they were absolutely delighted that I’d shared the love. There is beauty in this period of time too – we simply need to look for it. Take time to reeeeally enjoy cooking some wholesome food, chat endlessly with the ones you love whether that’s in person (with the people you’re living with) or via video call, send postcards to people to make them smile and share love and kindness. We are all in a little bit of limbo, and it’s so important we support and lift each other at this moment in time.

I want to share this recipe with you, which I adapted from sweetish.co’s blog. They were so unbelievably delicious, I even had one as a second breakfast one morning! You can use frozen blueberries too, which are easier to keep and store than fresh blooobs, and you can also swap the flour in for all-purpose plain or another wheat combination.

Blueberry crumble muffins

For the topping:
30g spelt flour
10g rolled oats
1tbsp ground almonds
25g demerara sugar
55g dark brown sugar (you can use light instead too)
1/2tsp ground cinnamon
35g cold salted butter, cut into chunks
Few pinches flaky sea salt

For the muffins:
112g unsalted butter, at room temperature
110g light brown sugar
1 lemon, zested
1 1/2tsp vanilla
2 medium eggs
135g crème fraîche
25ml whole milk
240g spelt flour
1tsp baking powder
1/4tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2tsp flaky sea salt
250g fresh (or frozen) blueberries

Method:

For the topping:

  1. In a medium bowl, mix everything except the butter together.
  2. Then using your hands, slowly work in the butter into the mixture until it blends together to form what looks like breadcrumbs.

For the muffins:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375F / 190C and line a muffin tin with liners. I followed Robyn on this and used tulip muffin liners because you can put more crumble topping on top!
  2. Sieve all of your dry ingredients into a bowl – the spelt flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt – and set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer, cream together your butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. This should take about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Add your vanilla and lemon zest, then beat for another minute or so.
  5. Add your eggs one at a time and beat after each addition for a few minutes. Scrape round your bowl with a spatula and whisk again to make sure everything is nicely combined.
  6. Add half of your flour mixture with the 25ml of whole milk to the creamed butter, sugar and eggs and whisk again. Then add half your crème fraîche, and whisk once more. Repeat this with half the flour, and half the crème fraîche until it’s used up and whisk until your batter comes together.
    N.B. Be careful not to over-mix your batter otherwise they can get too dense.
  7. Finally, fold in the blueberries with a rubber spatula or spoon.
  8. Scoop your batter into your lined muffin tin until they’re about two thirds full (you should be able to fill nine muffin cases) and then sprinkle 2-3tbps of crumble topping on each one.
    N.B. Press the topping into the muffin batter so it doesn’t all fall off after baking!
  9. Bake for about 20-30 minutes or until tops are browned, bubbling and cracked slightly. You can stick a cocktail stick into them and if it comes out clean, they are ready. If batter clings to your cocktail stick, they need a little longer in the oven.
  10. Let the muffins cool for at least 10 minutes, then serve with butter, or just as is.

Recipe adapted from sweetish.co baking blog

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