It’s true that the mornings are brighter since the clocks moved forward and Spring may finally be on its way, shyly peeking in through the crack in the curtains, but I have to hold my hands up and say that I have a teensy problem when it comes to getting up in the morning. Okay, quite a big problem. I’ve recently gone back to work after a long break and I’m sure I am not alone in hitting snooze (multiple times) in the morning to greedily soak up those last sleepy minutes under the covers, half awake half dreaming – until I find myself downing a molten cup of coffee (kindly proffered by my boyfriend) and arriving at work grumpy and hungry. Sitting down to a hearty brekkie mid-week is just not on the cards.
And that, my friend, is the genius of breakfast muffins (American style). Bake them in advance, pop one in the microwave for about 20 seconds to warm through, wolf down (or be naughty and eat on your way to work after you’ve brushed your teeth – tut tut) and you’ll be set until lunch! For anyone who finds the whole process of getting up in the morning a little difficult, consider these a cheeky reward for not sinking back under the covers…
I’ve gone for a savoury recipe this time as I find sweet muffins, at least the ones served in cafes, are often overly cloying and sugary, particularly first thing in the morning. Not only are these savoury, the cheese, onion and bacon really pack a punch on the flavour front. The added bonus is that your flat will smell of baking AND bacon at the same time – truly delicious.
I have used mature cheddar but you could use any hard cheese that you fancy such as gruyère (or whatever is lurking sweatily at the back of your fridge…).
Bacon, cheese and onion muffins
Makes 12 muffins
– 120g smoked bacon, cut into 1cm pieces (and fat trimmed, if desired)
– 80g onion, diced
– 85g unsalted butter (plus extra for frying)
– 300g plain flour, sifted
– 1 tablespoon baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
– 2 large eggs (free range please)
– 250ml milk
– 150g mature cheddar, grated
Preheat the oven to 190°C and pop your muffin cases into the tin. Tip: If you don’t have a muffin tin, you could make cupcake sized treats instead but I think there is something satisfyingly chunky about a muffin – it looks like it means business.
Melt a small knob of butter in a frying pan on a low-medium heat and fry the bacon. After about five minutes, add the onion and sweat until soft and translucent and the bacon is cooked. Be careful not to brown the onion! Transfer to a piece of kitchen towel to soak up any excess fat.
In the same pan, melt the remaining butter on a low heat and then set aside to cool.
Mix the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, a generous pinch of salt and a good few grinds of black pepper in a bowl.
Beat the eggs and milk together in a jug. Add to the dry mixture, a little at a time, whilst mixing all the ingredients together (I use the paddle attachment on my food mixer on a low setting).
Add the melted butter and mix until smooth (I increase the speed of my mixer here), scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure nothing escapes. Stir in the fried onions, bacon and 2/3 of the cheese.
Spoon into the muffin cases and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Tip: Only fill your cases to about 2/3 full as the raising agents really get these muffins rising! Bake for 25-30 minutes until the muffins are set and golden brown on top.
Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container. High five!
Source: Base muffin recipe inspired by Cake Days; photos by pip & little blue.