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More Nigella recipes

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.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

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.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

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 28 Others have said

  • In all the years I have been baking from Nigella's cookbooks ( I have 6 at least) , I can't believe I've never made these! So moist, light and delicious. I used 1/2 chocolate chips and 1/2 dried cherries and cashew milk (as it is what I had on hand). My family loved them! I only baked them for 15 minutes as everyone's oven is different. They were perfect!

    Posted by Cyren on 27th December 2019
  • I felt like these muffins had a texture closer to a scone, than a muffin. The cooking time was off to me too. I’ve never cooked muffins at 400° F before. The bottoms were definitely browned. I would try 350° next time. I also felt that 175g of cranberries was excessive. The muffins ended up being too sweet with that amount, considering the extra sugar sprinkled on the top of the muffins. I may make these muffins again, but not without some tweaking.

    Posted by Stephaniejeanj on 9th December 2019
  • These muffins sound great for Christmas morning (or any morning).

    Posted by Marionp1 on 1st December 2019
  • My granddaughters and I made these tasty muffins yesterday and they were delightful! We then made another batch this morning and took them to a few of our neighbors for a Sunday morning treat before church. Thanks for providing both metric and US measurements.

    Posted by Lugemom on 1st December 2019
  • Love love love!

    Posted by ghilsongreener on 1st December 2019
  • I make these every year for the Christmas Morning visit from the folks...delicious and light enough not to spoil dinner!

    Posted by mrscmcfeely on 1st December 2019
  • These are perfect for morning!

    Posted by megsnipper on 1st December 2019
  • 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
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