A Long Hiatus

I'm unsure how to start this post, as it has been a really long time. I do want to say sorry for not posting since April, but I think I really needed a break to try and do other things in my life, but don't worry, I have still been baking! I think I'm really just starting to get back into it now (which is great because exams are coming up!) but for a while I had so many other stressful things that it was difficult to fit this in as well. Just to give you a snapshot of what has happened: moved flats with my current flatmates and we now have an amazing brand new place just around the corner. I changed jobs from nannying and working at Compass (two jobs was really starting to become a pain!) and now I'm working for a commercial real estate company in the research department as well as still doing my studies. I've taken on more responsibility with AFS by becoming a pseudo committee member and ambassador for the Wellington region. I gave up umpiring for the year because I just couldn't commit to it and I didn't want to let people down and I'm considering whether I'll go back next year or not. Just general life stuff like turning 20 and no longer being a teenager, yay! So I have a few photos here, as well as heaps of new recipes, but the recipe that I want to share today is one that I have made many time but unfortunately they all seem to disappear from our place before I can get any decent pictures! So sorry for the not-so-good one, I'll keep trying to get a better one before they all get eaten by the boys!

I made this just before leaving Compass - S'Mores Cake!

Madeira Cake with lemon frosting made for my friend's workplace.

Today's recipe... Muffins! See the variation for these chocolate and oreo muffins below the recipe.

Bakery Style Muffins

3 cups plain flour
1T baking powder
1/2t baking soda
1/2t salt
150g butter, softened
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1t vanilla essence
1 1/2 cups plain or vanilla yoghurt
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

1 cup any sort of frozen berries

Preheat the oven to 200°C and either line two muffin tins with paper liners or grease them really well. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix well. With the mixer on a low speed, add the dry ingredients in around 3-5 batches, alternating with the yoghurt each time. Add the chocolate and the berries and mix through with a wooden spoon. Be careful not to overmix here, not only so the muffins aren't hard as a rock but also so that the berries don't colour the mixture too much. Scoop the batter into the lined muffin tins, making sure to fill them all the way to the top do that they dome like bakery muffins. Bake for 5 minutes in a 200°C oven, then reduce the temperature to 190°C and bake for a further 15 minutes or until browned on top and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 2 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. These muffins taste amazing, a testament to that fact is that 24 only last about 3 days in our 4 person flat! Yum!

Use only 2 1/2 cups of flour and add 3/4 cup of cocoa powder, whisk it in with the dry ingredients at the beginning. Also substitute 1 cup of oreo crumbs for the frozen berries for an extra surprise!

These are the traditional muffins with this recipe but they look a little burnt because the oven in our old place burnt stuff all the time... They look much better made in our new oven in our new flat!

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