As mentioned before, anytime we travel to another town or city in New Zealand I have a strong urge to visit the supermarkets, markets and specialist food shops to search out new and interesting products. As we hadn’t been away for a while, I decided to mooch around our local food establishments and suss out new products. In the baking aisle of one of the local supermarkets, I spotted caramel bits nestled among the dark, milk and white chocolate bits (drops) so I had to have a packet or three. I notice some American recipes use butterscotch baking chips, peanut butter chips, or mint baking chips – all of which sound quite yummy. While we can’t get these here in NZ, I could attempt to make some myself as there are plenty of recipes on-line. But for now, it’s chocolate or caramel baking bits.
Chocolate and apple are not flavours that jump out as being perfect partners. Chocolate coated ginger, chocolate coated apricots yes – but I’ve not seen chocolate coated dried apple though maybe I should try it. Judging by a trend in America – chocolate coated whole apples are all the rage. We coat whole apples in toffee but I’ve never come across chocolate coated whole apples (again, perhaps I should try it). Anyhow, I came home quite content from my foraging with a couple of packets of caramel bits and got ready to play in the kitchen.
Occasionally, when I purchase an exciting new ingredient, I am hesitant to use it. I guess I am afraid that once I have used it, I’ll need to buy it again. Murphy’s Law I won’t be able to remember where I purchased the ingredient from or it will no longer be stocked.
The oven was up to temperature cooking our dinner, and as we were short on baking, I had thought to make banana and chocolate muffins with the spotty bananas lurking in the fruit bowl. Alas, the Anster had been desperate for fruit this week and my baking bananas were gone. And so apple & caramel muffins were the go. I keep a couple of tins of diced apple in the pantry for situations where I want to turn out some baking quickly and with minimum fuss.
Apple & Caramel Muffins
75 g butter
300 g plain white flour (all-purpose)
4 t baking powder
½ t salt
100 g brown sugar
185 ml (¾ cup) milk
1 large egg
425 g can of diced apple
200 g (1 cup) caramel bits
Preheat oven 200ºC/395ºF. Line a 12-16 cup muffin tin with paper muffin cases.
Melt the butter and set aside to cool.
Sift the flour, baking powder & salt into a large bowl. Stir in sugar.
Add milk and egg to cooled butter and whisk until combined.
Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients along with apple and caramel bits. Fold together until just combined.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until cooked.
Makes 12-16 muffins.