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Christmas Morning Muffins

by . Featured in NIGELLA CHRISTMAS
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Introduction

I have never quite understood how people can go in for vast, rich breakfasts on Christmas morning. I am hardly a modest eater by anyone's standards, but even I can't quite accommodate a platterful of buttery scrambled eggs with smoked salmon before the gargantuan Christmas feast. And I speak as cook and eater on this one.

I do, however, see the need to make breakfast special in some way, and these muffins do that. What's more, if you measure out the dry ingredients the night before and put the muffin cases in the muffin tin, you don't need to do anything more labour intensive on Christmas morning itself than preheat your oven, whisk up a few runny ingredients in a jug and stir them into the waiting bowl. Then dollop the batter into the prepared muffin cases and all's sweet - and smelling of cinnamony, orange-scented Christmas.

I have never quite understood how people can go in for vast, rich breakfasts on Christmas morning. I am hardly a modest eater by anyone's standards, but even I can't quite accommodate a platterful of buttery scrambled eggs with smoked salmon before the gargantuan Christmas feast. And I speak as cook and eater on this one.

I do, however, see the need to make breakfast special in some way, and these muffins do that. What's more, if you measure out the dry ingredients the night before and put the muffin cases in the muffin tin, you don't need to do anything more labour intensive on Christmas morning itself than preheat your oven, whisk up a few runny ingredients in a jug and stir them into the waiting bowl. Then dollop the batter into the prepared muffin cases and all's sweet - and smelling of cinnamony, orange-scented Christmas.

Christmas Morning Muffins
Photo by Lis Parsons

Ingredients

Makes: 12

Metric Cups
  • 250 grams plain flour
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 100 grams caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (or good grating of fresh nutmeg)
  • 2 clementines (or satsumas)
  • approx. 125 millilitres full fat milk
  • 75 millilitres vegetable oil (or melted butter left to cool slightly)
  • 1 large egg
  • 175 grams dried cranberries
  • 3 teaspoons demerara sugar (for the topping)
  • 1⅔ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup superfine sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg (or good grating of fresh nutmeg)
  • 2 clementines (or satsumas)
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil (or melted butter left to cool slightly)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1½ cups dried cranberries
  • 3 teaspoons turbinado sugar (for the topping)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/gas mark 6/400ºF. Line a 12-bun muffin tin with muffin papers or (as I have here) silicone inserts.
  2. Measure the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, caster sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg into a large bowl; grate the zest of the clementine/satsuma over, and combine. If you are doing this in advance, leave the zesting till Christmas morning.
  3. Squeeze the juice of the clementines/satsumas into a measuring jug, and pour in the milk until it comes up to the 200ml mark / halfway between the ¾ cup and 1 cup marks.
  4. Add the oil (or slightly cooled, melted butter) and egg, and lightly beat until just combined.
  5. Pour this liquid mixture into the bowl of dried ingredients and stir until everything is more or less combined, remembering that a well-beaten mixture makes for heavy muffins: in other words a lumpy batter is a good thing here.
  6. Fold in the cranberries, then spoon the batter into the muffin cases and sprinkle the demerara sugar on top. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, by which time the air should be thick with the promise of good things and the good things themselves golden brown and ready to be eaten, either plain or broken up and smeared, as you go, with unsalted butter and marmalade.
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/gas mark 6/400ºF. Line a 12-bun muffin tin with muffin papers or (as I have here) silicone inserts.
  2. Measure the flour, baking powder, baking soda, superfine sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg into a large bowl; grate the zest of the clementine/satsuma over, and combine. If you are doing this in advance, leave the zesting till Christmas morning.
  3. Squeeze the juice of the clementines/satsumas into a measuring jug, and pour in the milk until it comes up to the 200ml mark / halfway between the ¾ cup and 1 cup marks.
  4. Add the oil (or slightly cooled, melted butter) and egg, and lightly beat until just combined.
  5. Pour this liquid mixture into the bowl of dried ingredients and stir until everything is more or less combined, remembering that a well-beaten mixture makes for heavy muffins: in other words a lumpy batter is a good thing here.
  6. Fold in the cranberries, then spoon the batter into the muffin cases and sprinkle the turbinado sugar on top. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, by which time the air should be thick with the promise of good things and the good things themselves golden brown and ready to be eaten, either plain or broken up and smeared, as you go, with unsalted butter and marmalade.

Additional Information

MAKE AHEAD:
Bake the muffins up to 3 days ahead. Cool and pack in an airtight container between layers of parchment paper. Pop into a warm oven for 5 minutes just before serving.

FREEZE AHEAD:
Make and then freeze the muffins in a rigid container for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature. Pop into a warm oven for 5 minutes just before serving.

MAKE AHEAD:
Bake the muffins up to 3 days ahead. Cool and pack in an airtight container between layers of parchment paper. Pop into a warm oven for 5 minutes just before serving.

FREEZE AHEAD:
Make and then freeze the muffins in a rigid container for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature. Pop into a warm oven for 5 minutes just before serving.

Tell us what you think

What 21 Others have said

  • Delicious! i used some whole wheat flour too and it it so good. I will be making these year-round.

    Posted by cyncar on 12th December 2018
  • These muffins are simply scrumptious! Now a part of our holiday morning each year!

    Posted by Wholygirl on 2nd December 2018
  • I've been making these muffins for over 10 years now and we absolutely love them along with our fresh coffee on Christmas morning and Bing Crosby playing low in the background. Just a blissful breakfast option. I have to say though on reading some of the other comments I'm tempted to play around with them just a tiny bit this year though I don't think they really need any improvement.

    Posted by Eliza-T on 1st December 2018
  • Have tried these in the past and they are fab. Will definitely be making again this year!

    Posted by chellymum on 1st December 2018
  • Yummy! Perfect for Christmas morning!

    Posted by RobyH on 13th December 2017
  • Did these for a quick breakfast for my family. Used orange as clemintines (Mandarines) and satsumas are not in season at this time of year here in Australia. The flavour was great and they lasted less then 24 hours in my fridge with a note we need more !!!!!

    Posted by KylieR72 on 11th December 2017
  • If you're vegan - I made these with 30ml soya milk and a heaped teaspoon of ground flax instead of the egg and soya milk instead of milk. Also added a handful of walnuts and they were wonderful!

    Posted by Backscratcher on 29th November 2017
  • These are so easy to make. Full of fruit and fill the house with a wonderful aroma. Has to be the best muffins ive ever made .

    Posted by Cathy63 on 10th November 2015
  • I've just recommended these as the perfect start to Christmas morning on the 'I Love Christmas' Facebook page. These festive beauties have been part of our family traditions for years. I love the Christmassy aroma and how light they are, leaving you with room for the rest of the days feasting!

    Posted by JennySpenny on 2nd August 2015
  • I've just made these with leftover fresh cranberry sauce. I strained the cranberries and used the sauce instead of orange juice and a mix of fresh and dried cranberries. Put a drizzle of orange icing over the top. Oh. My. Days. They are absolutely amazing. Some serious restraint is going to be needed today!

    Posted by Jane71 on 9th January 2015
  • These are quite simply a stunning way to start Christmas- they have now become a family tradition since I first did them from Nigella's cookery book 6 years ago. Light, delicious and fills the house with festive smells. The dry mix can be put together the night before to save time, and the rougher the mix the better the muffins so get the children involved!

    Posted by krowdrah on 23rd December 2014
  • @CanadianFoodLover, if you click on the tab next to "Ingredients" the one that says "Switch to Cup Measures", the system will change it for you! Hope that helps!

    Posted by Annezila on 10th December 2014
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