Early, Way Too Early!

Call me a foolishly sentimental girl or maybe too much of a child at heart, but around this time of year (when almost all of the leaves have fallen from the trees) I begin to dream of Christmas. How will I decorate the house? What will I cook? When should I organize a pre-Christmas dinner party with friends? What shall I get my loved ones, and yes, what shall I get myself?

Christmas really is 'the most wonderful time of the year'!

It is no wonder that the festive season has slowly started to manifest itself around my place. Last week I purchased a few Christmas sofa cushions and a gorgeous Christmas bear. They'll fit perfectly with this year's theme- Country Christmas! And today, I couldn't resist dusting off all my Christmas CDs, lighting the fireplace and baking these chocolate chestnut muffins!

'Tis the (early, way too early) season!

Chocolate Chestnut Muffins
Makes 12

185g unsweetened chestnut puree
100ml hot milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
170g caster sugar
100ml sunflower oil
2 eggs
250g flour
pinch salt
2 tsps baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
4 tbsps cocoa powder
100g hagelslag (Dutch chocolate sprinkles, the dark variety, or just chop up some chocolate!)

Preheat oven to 200C and line a muffin tray with liners.
Put the chestnut puree in a medium-sized bowl. Heat milk until almost boiling and add to the chestnut puree. Whisk in to incorporate. Add the vanilla extract, sugar, oil, eggs and whisk thouroughly.
In a another bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cocoa powder.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet. Also add the hagelslag (or chopped up chocolate).
Stir all the ingredients gently, just until combined. Remember, muffin batters hate being vigourously stirred!!
Fill your prepared muffin pan and bake the muffins 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cool and enjoy!
Oh, and get ready for your house to smell like heaven!

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