Saturday, 13 December 2014

Sun-dried tomatoes and olives muffins

Sundried tomatoes and olives muffins

I've been baking many muffins lately, and trying different varieties...
I would say that muffins are my newest field for baking experiments. I made several tests and experiments with other baked goods - tarts, cakes, cookies, breads, focaccia, and more - but muffins were not in my repertoire yet. Until I discovered how good, tasty and pretty they can be....and absolutely easy to make, and super fast too.
I've always liked muffins - not all of them actually, as I had also the unlucky chance to see, and eat, muffins with the same specific weight as bricks and others so flattish to resemble more a sweet pizza - but I had somehow undervalued their potential. And in fact muffins, when properly made and baked, are a really delicious treat, very good-looking too; and the funny thing is that the less you work the batter, the better muffins come out: the only trick for moist, soft and domed muffins is to mix the ingredients (to be precise add the liquid mixture to the dry mix), as less as possible, just to roughly combine everything. Not a secret though: everyone seems to know it, it's written on every cookbook, magazine, website, blog; it's important just to put in practice this simple advice.
As soon as I started baking muffins, and doing it well, it's been a series of experiments. And I have no intention to stop trying. Also because muffins are really so versatile that can be made using a very wide range of both basic ingredients and additions: to make the batter it is possible to use almost any combination of flours or swap part of the flour for cocoa powder or even flour substitutes (like almond or coconut meal or other); then many kinds of dairy work well, from milk to yogurt to buttermilk to sour cream (I often bake a batch of muffin just to use something in my fridge close to expiring), but also non-dairy alternatives can be used; butter can be replaced with an oil of your choice (I like to use oils with delicate flavor); when it comes to additional ingredients, there are almost infinite possibilities, from chocolate to nuts to fresh or dried fruit, to citrus zest and so on.
And the other good thing about muffins is that they are very fast to make: two bowls and less than one hour is all you need to prepare a delicious treat perfect for breakfast, afternoon snack and tea-time, but also if you want to bring something in case of a "last minute" invitation. 
One of the most recent, and much appreciated, versions is a savory muffin: the starting point was a simple batter made with plain flour, eggs, milk and a little butter (no sugar of course); my idea was to make something with Mediterranean flavors so I added sun-dried tomatoes and olives - a combination I like much - as well as basil, oregano and lemon zest. The result was very nice in its simplicity. I brought them to a picnic in the desert and they were perfect: so easy to eat even on a picnic blanket placed on the sand, and tasty and flavorful. I would also recommend them for a buffet or an aperitif (maybe baked in mini-muffin tins) but also for a quick lunch with a fresh mixed salad. 
Sundried tomatoes and olives muffins

Sundried tomatoes and olives muffins
makes 5 or 6 muffins
30 g sun-dried tomatoes
30 g black olives pitted
150 g all purpose flour
8 g baking powder
zest of 1/2 unwaxed lemon
1 egg
100 ml milk
30 g butter, melted
1 pinch salt
freshly ground black pepper
2-3 tbsp fresh basil and oregano, chopped
Preheat the oven to 180° C and line a muffin pan with muffin liners.
Finely chop dried tomatoes, olives, basil and oregano.
In a medium bowl add the flour, salt, pepper to taste, baking powder, lemon zests and the tomatoes-herbs - olives mixture and mix to amalgamate. In another small bowl whisk the egg, milk and melted butter.
Pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture and mix rapidly, just to amalgamate. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them to the top and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean. They can be served warm or at room temperature.
This muffins keep well at room temperature for up to 3 days, covered with aluminum foil or plastic wrap, or can be frozen for up to 3 months. 

Sundried tomatoes and olives muffins


  1. Beautiful - I'm not a muffin fan but prefer savoury muffins and these look great.

  2. I did not like muffins either, but I am changing my mind after making some versions really worth trying ...These are very original and tasty! Considering how muffins are quick and easy to make, they are a good option when running out of time.