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Muffins - Scones

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Any tart/sweet plum would do nicely, such as Santa Rose or mini Damson Plums,  in this simple scone, dusted with spiced sugar before baking. You can substitute peach or nectarine for the plums.

Yes, that old chestnut -that recipe that is everywhere and that they tell you you can bake a bit of it each day, ultimately holding the batter for 6 weeks. Ummm, no thank you. The notion of raw eggs handing around has no appeal not to mention, 6 weeks in a cold, wet environment tries the patience of even Clabber Girl's outstanding baking powder. But that stuff notwithstanding, you know –these are rather good.  Bake it the whole batch (double the recipe if you want), and freeze the muffins. These have been respun with a touch of honey and banana chunks. You could even use half peanut butter to replace the oil.

Rhubarb is a favorite food of mine but now it's finding mainstream fans. Blood oranges seem to be the kiwi of the 21st Century. Together, they are a perfect union. This is a new spin on something old but ambrosial: stewed rhubarb of oven compote. Rhubarb marries well with sweet blood oranges (who also do their best to tint the rhubarb a deep rose colour). A touch of brown and white sugar and pomegranate molasses (honey is a fine substitute) make this rustic and sophisticated all at once. Serve over ice-cream, pound cake, with scones, or on with yogurt or Scottish oatmeal for a sweet, tart banquet. I tend to slice two of the blood oranges called for and grind up the last one but just slicing all three is fine.

This is the most flavourful banana muffin I know. It also features huge, umbrella sprawled tops, and is flecked with toasted sweet walnuts throughout. I also sometimes, use part flax seeds and part walnuts. These freeze like a dream and look gourmet but homemade in taste. This makes 18 muffins so feel free to half the recipe.

  What I love about these rustic scones is they are they are very pure of taste – there's no chocolate chips, chunks of Snickers, no vanilla extra or hunks of candied ginger - there's just amazing taste and texture from the basic (but choice) ingredients. This is the real deal, old-fashioned baking, with a not-too-sweet, satisfying wholesome taste.

Big, beautiful crusty with both whipping cream and fresh buttermilk makes these scones extra rich and flaky. Then they get drizzled with warm caramel sauce. Incredible! (Save leftover caramel sauce for chocolate cake toppings or for ice-cream, or even on top of yogurt).

This is simply, the best banana muffin I have created since Lawsuit Muffins. The very hot oven insures the most gorgeous hued muffins ever. These feature nice big umbrella caps and a heavenly taste and texture. You can also replace the buttermilk with brewed coffee for a very sultry tasting banana muffin.

I like my muffins rustic no matter what and I see them as carriers for nutrition. So I don’t mind scaling back on fat to make a muffin that is ‘skinnier’ and a storehouse of nutritional goodies. But taste is the first criterion. This muffin has it all! You can try this using Splenda if you want to avoid the sugar. You can can also substitute ½ cup of the white flour for white spelt or kamut flour. It will make for a heavier muffin but benefits from the ancient grains.

I can't stop fiddling with cornbread and this one is over the top delicious. A little sweet milk for flavor, some sour cream and some buttermilk for the extra acid and th extra rise it affords. Stone ground cornmeal is best – the rest is like yellow sawdust. Make this in a graniteware pie pan to authenticate Americana corn bread baking or use a 10 inch cast iron skillet (The Lodge, America's best know cast iron cookware makers offer the best cast iron skillets(a square one is another good choice for cornbread). Nowadays The Lodge cast iron classics come pre-seasoned – for the prettiest cornbread ever, check out www.Lodgemfg.com)

Use barely ripe, fresh peaches make this muffin, which is as delicate as a coffeecake. Each crumb is absolutely sublime! A wonderful way to use August peaches.

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