Christmas muffins

A muffin to bring joy to the world, even the steadfast anti Christmas fruitcake/mince pie/pudding brigade. Waste not want not with your christmas baking leftovers and make muffins. 

You will need:

200g self-raising flour

80g golden caster sugar

20g light muscovado

100ml light olive oil, carrot oil or vegetable oil

100 ml milk

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

200g sweet mincemeat


How to:

Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4 and line a muffin tin with twelve cases.

In a large bowl, mix the flour and sugar together, then make a well in the centre. Pour into the well the oil, milk, egg and vanilla and beat together in the well before incorporating the dry ingredients.

Add the mincemeat and beat in until thoroughly combined.

Divide the mixture between the twelve cases and bake for 20 minutes. They should be golden brown on top and a skewer when inserted should come away clean when cooked.

To ice or not to ice?

This is a moist muffin, it doesn’t need icing but if you want to give as a gift or spoil someone with some cakey cheer I would top with ginger or cinnamon glacé icing and some Christmas sparkle that coordinates with your chosen cases.


A jar of stem ginger in syrup is perfect for this, just add a little of the syrup to icing sugar and finely dice a bulb of ginger to add to the icing too.

If you like more heat or want more nutmeg, add more dried spice at the flour and sugar stage.

Oh hokey, pokey, pokey….

Honeycomb, sea foam, cloud candy call it what you will…’s great cooking chemistry and makes a toothachingly sweet treat! 

Photo on 02-11-2014 at 14.06

All you need is sugar, golden syrup and bicarbonate of soda and ideally some really good nonstick reusable baking parchment for easy serving!

If you are making this with children in the kitchen by all means let them watch the fun but don’t let them touch the pan, sugar or honeycomb until completely cool. Sugar gets very hot, sticks and gives terrible burns.

To prepare: line a baking tray with a re-usable baking sheet or good quality baking parchment and put to one side near the stove top. Measure out onto a small dish, 1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda and have a whisk out at the ready. Choose a high sided pan as the bubbling sugar will rise quickly when you add the soda. Fill your sink with hot soapy water ready to plunge your sugar coated pan into straight away, this will help stop the sugar sticking to rigidly to the metal.

In a pan, stir 100g of golden caster sugar, 4tbsp of golden syrup. Place on a medium heat and do not stir. First the mix will melt, then go clear, then bubble a beautiful dark amber (this will take 4-5 minutes) at the dark amber stage remove from the heat and add the bicarbonate of soda and whisk in. It will transform in a caramel cloud and rise up the sides of the pan, I love this bit but be careful not to whisk too heartily as sugar burns! Pour on to your chosen nonstick surface and leave to cool completely (up to an hour) before breaking into pieces and storing on a tin at room temperature. Do not be tempted to refrigerate – the cold ruins sugar and it will become sticky.

When you break the honeycomb up reserve the large pieces to eat alone and the crumbs to top cakes and ice creams!

Tip: Lightly oil your tablespoon to make measuring golden syrup more accurate and easy to drop into your bowl.

Variety – I have a wonderful vanilla bean grinder and added several twists to the sugar mix, lavender sugar makes a spiced change and I love the addition of cinnamon too.