Thursday, 7 June 2012

Flu cure

I'm currently tucked in bed, feeling sorry for myself and using up packs of Kleenex. Yes, it's the dreaded summer flu. I have been really healthy for the last nine months or so, ever since I went on a low carb diet. And I don't think it's a coincidence I came down with the flu after being really sloppy with my diet for the last two months. And as soon as I get well, I will get back on track with my eating, as my body is clearly telling me I'm doing the wrong thing. But until then... everyone knows the only cure for the common cold is sugar. White, wonderful refined sugar, enjoyed several times a day, preferably combined with some chocolate as well. I know, I know, I am a spineless human being. I should be stuffing myself with spinach, berries and lean proteins and not all these empty calories. Has anyone seen my self-discipline? It was last seen in early April, I think I lost it in Tesco somewhere between the sugar and chocolate isles. If you see it, could you send it back to me, please?

Well, after this poorly guised rant of self pity and virtual self-flagellation, on to the more important stuff. Daim. If you don't know what it is, you have no idea what you have been missing. Basically it's a almond butterscotch type of candy bar, covered with milk chocolate. It has that great burned sugar crunchy taste and all that crunchyness is surrounded by a silky smooth layer of milk chocolate. The original bar only has a thin layer of chocolate, with the majority of the candy bar being the crunchy almond toffee, but for serious chocoholics, there is a Marabou chocolate bar with crushed Daim. This is a regular chocolate bar, with only small pieces of the crunchy goodness in it. For enjoying as a sweet treat, I prefer the traditional Daim bar to the chocolate, but for baking, the chocolate one works better. I have the chocolate imported from Finland, and actually now that I'm trying to look it up online, I'm a bit confused, as there seems to be a Milka-Daim chocolate, but very few hits for the Marabou bar. The Milka-Daim seems to be on sale in all major UK grocery stores, so I have to go look it up and try it out. Maybe the Marabou one is only for sale in the Nordic countries... Another slightly similar chocolate is Green&Black's Butterscotch Caramel Ecossais, but I don't think the milk chocolate is nearly as good as Marabou. And just because I'm a Finn, I have to add that the Marabou milk chocolate is nowhere as good as Fazer's blue, but I'll leave the finer points of that discussion for some other time.

I can't believe I've managed to write such a rant about chocolate... Well, thanks if you are still reading, I'll finally shut up and move on to the actual recipe. It's stolen from Kinuskikissa, and has turned out to be one of those recipes that never fail. Flavour it with your favourite ingredients, but the basic recipe is just the best muffin recipe ever. It gives nice, fluffy and moist muffins which rise beautifully in the oven and keep their shape after being taken out.  By the way, I realised when I was almost done with the batter that I don't have any milk at home, so I substituted with yoghurt, and it worked perfectly. I would guess anything along the axis of milk, cream, double cream, soured cream, yoghurt, creme fraiche etc would work. 

Daim muffins (makes 12):
1 bar of Daim chocolate (200 g)
150g butter
133g sugar
2 eggs
225g flour
2tsp baking powder
2.5tbsp cocoa powder
150ml milk

For the icing:
200g Philadelphia cream cheese
397g (1 can) caramel 

The howto:
Preheat oven to 225 degrees C. Finely chop up half of the chocolate bar. Mix flour, baking powder and cocoa powder. Using a handheld mixer, beat butter and sugar until white and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beat until fluffy. Add dry ingredients and chopped chocolate, and mix (I give it a short mix using the electric whisk, but I'm sure gentle folding using a spatula would be more correct). Add in milk and give another gentle mix. 
Put a tablespoon of batter in the muffin moulds, add a piece of chocolate and top up with another tablespoon of batter. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Let cool completely before icing.
Mix cream cheese and caramel, spread or pipe onto the cooled muffins.

Each muffin (including the icing) contains 444 kcal (23g fat, 51g carbs of which 38g sugar, 7g protein).

The verdict:
I have waited sooo long to try these muffins, in fact I have waited so long that I have eaten half of the chocolate bar and had to halve the recipe and only made 6 muffins. And they were definitively worth the wait. These are the most decadently over-sweet muffins I have ever had. For non-carboholics, I think just the muffins without the icing should be enough to satisfy even the most severe sugar craving. 

The icing did not turn out the way I expected it to. I thought it would be stiff enough to be piped, but it wasn't. I think this might be because I used Philly from the freezer, and I think it changed the consistency. I will be trying out the icing another time with fresh cheese, as I have seen a similar icing used in several baking blogs and it has been nicely piped onto cupcakes or muffins. I'm just a bit disappointed as I couldn't get as much of the runny icing onto the cupcakes as I had wanted. But maybe that is a good thing, it is almost too sweet. But just almost, as I actually love to eat the caramel with a spoon straight from the jar. Or, as I did this morning, as brekkie with raspberries. I know, I'm a sick, sick person.

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