The smell of freshly baked bread was always something I looked forward to. I hopped out of the car in excitement as I ran ahead of my mother to the local bakery just down the street. I carefully maneuvered around the large crowds of people huddled around the various stores. It was Saturday and everyone was out and about at the “wet” market filling up their bags with fresh produce. All around me you could hear the vendors yelling out various prices and naming their freshest seafood in Cantonese. The repetitive clanks of butcher’s knife could be heard as it slammed down onto the wooden boards.
I ran into the brightly lit bakery around the corner. There were fresh egg tarts, char siu buns, “wife” buns, coconut cream filled rolls lined up on the display. I pressed my nose against the clear glass, my eyes widening and my stomach grumbling as I gazed at the delicious array of treats. I turned around to see a tall, glass cabinet of decorated cream cakes; black forest cakes, napoleon cakes, mango cake – all beautifully decorated with swirls of whipped cream, bright red and blue berries, shredded coconut and elegant chocolate writing. A young mother in front of me pointed at one of the beautiful cakes. I watched as the cashier cautiously lowered the cake into a special cardboard box – it must be someone’s special birthday today!
I continued my mini exploration around the bakery trying not to get in anyone else’s way. On the next aisle, there were fluffy sponge cakes, loaves of sandwich bread, raisin and walnut buns, pizza buns, red bean stuffed buns, chocolate cream horns. I patted my grumbling stomach and licked my lips. Noticing my eagerness, my mother gently smiled at me, patted me on the back and asked me which one I wanted. I pointed at the coconut cream bun and a simple plain sweet roll. These were my favorite. Warm, sticky sweet, soft…Completely different from the crunchy, crispy baguettes or sourdough bread. Chinese breads and rolls are known to be much softer and lighter in texture. The traditional Tangzhong method used in the process creates a roll that melts in your mouth like a marshmallow.
You can tell by now how much I love baked treats. In fact, Zoe and I have been working hard in the test kitchen trying to create the perfect muffin- one that is comparable to the ones in the bakeries I ate growing up. And finally…we got it!
To celebrate the start of December, I feel a sense of excitement and anticipation for the upcoming Christmas season. With family and friends visiting I’m sure most of us are busy prepping meals and treats. Who doesn’t love a little something fruity and sweet at this time of year? The traditional flavors of apricot and almond are perfect for this Christmas season. They can be eaten for breakfast, brunch or dessert and can be easily doubled or tripled to make big batches to share! I can’t wait to see my family’s reaction when we make these on Christmas Day!
Happy 1st of December!
These muffins are just so soft and light. They rise and puff up like a cloud in the oven as a result of the addition of baking powder and baking soda. Not too sweet, but slightly fruity from the apricot jam with a hint of nuttiness from the almonds. This recipe is very versatile you can substitute apricot jam with your favorite jam of choice. This a perfect one-blender dessert/snack or even breakfast treat to feed the family during the Christmas holidays.
Ingredients – Makes 11 large muffins
- 2 1/2 cups Almond Flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup coconut yoghurt
- 6 tbsp Silk Coconut Milk (or any non-dairy milk of your choice)
- 1/3 cup Maple Syrup
- 1/3 cup apricot jam (homemade or store-brought)
- extra almond meal for topping
How to Make:
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Add all the ingredients for the coffee cake into the blender. Blend till smooth.
- Line a muffin tray with 11 cupcake liners. Divide the batter equally into each of the cases.
- Place the jam in a bowl and microwave for about 20 seconds just to warm up slightly.
- Measure out about 1 tsp of jam on top each muffin and swirl using a knife/chopstick/toothpick. Crumble a little almond meal on top.
- Bake for 22-26 minutes till the inside is cooked. Allow to cool before removing. Serve warm.
Zoe & Mia
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