As I talked about previously, I currently have a yearning for something approaching a Mojito in muffin form. Mint … lime … rum (well, maybe not the rum as I don’t particularly like it) … I think you get the picture.
This recipe and these muffins are not that muffin. I wanted clear alpine meadows of minty freshness skewered by the sharp acid of emerald limes.
Instead I got something more subtle. I suspect this was due to the quality of the limes. I have a friend who hails from Florida. I can only imagine her snickering if she saw the paucity of tiny limes currently to be found in my local supermarket. (I don’t know why I should think this specifically – she isn’t a snickery type of person and I know nothing about her knowledge of limes in her home state.) With a good lime with a particularly zesty skin and sharp juice then this would make these muffins closer to transcendental.
Another reason for the lack of pin-point clarity of flavour was my decision to use muscovado sugar. My thought process here was that if its good enough to go into making rum then its good enough for a muffin.
This created a moist muffin that had whispers of treacle running through it. Also, as it readily forms lumps as its so moist, the muffins contain nuggets of almost-fudginess.
I was in a quandary when it came to imparting the mint aspect. Chopped mint leaves? Use lime curd that has had mint leaves steeped in it? Dried mint? Mint extract? I do actually have a recipe (from the wonderfully weird French muffin book) that includes chopped fresh mint leaves, but somehow I was afraid of the papery rustle of cooked leaves. Dried mint doesn’t taste the same as fresh mint so that was out, and steeping mint leaves in lime curd would give an intense mint-lime hit when cocooned inside the batter, but not the even spread I was after.
Which only really leaves mint extract (as with vanilla, extract is considered superior to essence) so I picked up a bottle of “American Peppermint Natural Extract”. I’m not entirely sure what’s American about it, but I do know that its quite a strong flavouring so should be used sparingly …
- 300g (10oz/2.5 cups) self-raising flour
- 100g (3.5oz/2 thirds cup) muscovado sugar
- 50g (1.7oz/1 third cup) caster sugar
- 200ml (1 cup) natural yoghurt
- 1 egg, beaten
- 125g (4oz) butter, melted and cooled
- Zest of one lime*
- Juice of half a lime*
- Few drops good peppermint extract
*This depends on the quality and zestiness of your lime … In the muffins I made today, the lime was pretty paltry. If this is the case, up it to zest of two limes and juice of a whole lime. If your limes are big and meaty then use the one!
Preheat oven to 180C (approx. 350F) and line a muffin tray with paper liners. (This recipe gave me enough batter for 12 muffins with a nicely heaped tablespoon of batter per cup – adjust to your own preferred size!)
Mix the flour and sugars together.
In a jug, combine the remaining ingredients and mix well. Add wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just combined.
Spoon into muffin tray, and cook for 20-25 minutes.
When a skewer comes out clean, they’re done! Remove and allow to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes before removing.
I could suggest making a lime syrup with which to drench these whilst still hot … I could also suggest making a rum syrup, or a rum-and-lime syrup. Or a rum frosting. Or a lime frosting. Or a mint frosting.
Either way. Enjoy your mojito responsibly.