Spinach and three cheese muffins

What is the difference between a cupcake and a muffin? 

A lot, apparently! 
The ingredients are similar but it's the method of mixing that sets them apart. While muffins can be sweet or savoury, I don't think there are savoury cupcakes, unless someone forgot to add the sugar to the batter!

To go back to the question, cupcakes are light and fluffy mini cakes made by the creaming method. Many of them are frosted to add to the visual appeal and taste. Muffins are classified as quick breads, contain more baking powder and baking soda in the batter which helps them rise. Dry and wet ingredients are measured separately and when combined, the mixing is minimal, often done with just a spatula. The finished batter might even look lumpy.  Overmixed batter will result in dense muffins with tunnels. Savoury muffins do not have any sugar in them.

For the 11th year of Baketales, I decided that a vegetarian recipe would be nice for a change. Those of you who have ordered from me know that I try to avoid baking anything vegetarian. It's a baking block that I have, the equivalent of a mental block. But blocks are meant to be surmounted.

My favourite taste tester was in the midst of Lent when I decided to experiment with no egg muffins. There would be spinach, corn and the non negiotable addition of cheese. Heck! Make it with two kinds of cheese or, while we're at it, even three!

Equal portions ensure even baking

Thus was born this recipe for Spinach and three cheese muffins. Fresh out of the oven, the muffins tasted delicious. Soft, tangy, textured and wholesome. I've seen muffins slathered with butter but these muffins need no such embellishment. 

Perfectly baked muffin

These muffins are perfect for breakfast or teatime, great for packing in lunchboxes or to just to graze on. They store well in the fridge, can be eaten hot, warm or cold and in fact, taste better after a few days when the flavours mellow and meld.

Corn, sundried tomato, spinach, crumbled feta, garlic

There were a couple of additional ingredients too - garlic and sundried tomato. I think they do enhance the overall taste.

Once made, the batter needs to be portioned and popped into a hot oven immediately. Do make sure all the ingredients are on hand before you start.

To prepare the spinach, remove stalks from the leaves and wash well to remove grit.
Bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Prepare a bowl with cold water and ice cubes in it.
When the water boils, add in spinach leaves.
Push the leaves into the water with a pair of tongs for about 30 seconds. Drain the water through a colander and lift out the leaves and plunge them into the cold water bath.
Gather the leaves and squeeze them to remove the water.
Chop the leaves and keep them aside. 

It's a rough & lumpy batter

Spinach and three cheese muffins (makes 12 muffins)

(Dry ingredients)
250 gm plain flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt

(Wet ingredients)
330 ml milk at room temperature 
90 gm melted butter at room temperature 
1/4 cup yoghurt at room temperature 

Other ingredients 
150 gm spinach, blanched and chopped
60 gm corn kernels, steamed
100 gm feta cheese, crumbled 
50 gm grated cheddar cheese
50 gm sundried tomato, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 190°C, line a12-cavity muffin tray with paper liners and keep aside.

Sift all the dry ingredients together into a large mixing bowl.

Make a well in the centre with a spatula and add in the chopped spinach, corn, sundried tomato, garlic, feta and cheddar cheese. Give it all a quick mix.

Pour the milk, butter and and yoghurt into a large cup, mix with a whisk and pour it over the flour mix.

Fold everything together, making sure to mix as little as possible.

Use a scoop to portion the mix equally between the muffin cups to ensure even baking.

Sprinkle parmesan cheese over the tops and bake for about 25 minutes or till done.
When they are baked, they should be golden. Test with a toothpick to ensure that the batter is cooked through.

Healthy, savoury muffins

So there you have it - 12 golden, all veg, easy to make muffins that I'm sure you will devour in no time.  


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