After the success of my green Pavlova for St Chad’s day earlier this month, I risked another green bake with these matcha muffins, flavoured with hazelnut and chocolate.
Instead of regular sugar I used my sample of Tate & Lyle’s Light at Heart, a blend of sugar and stevia, which is twice as sweet as sugar. Tate & Lyle say that therefore you can use half the quantity compared to regular sugar, and therefore have half the calories. I was little dubious about this, as surely if you halve the sugar in a cake you then need to add some more flour or your solid to liquid ratio will be skewed? I can see that you will get fewer calories when adding Light at Heart to drinks or on cereal, but surely in a cake, if you take half the sugar out you need to put more of something else in, or you just end up with less cake (which is bad) with the same calories by weight? (This seems to be bourne out by Suelle in this post).
In the end I made my standard muffin recipe, halving the sugar, but replacing it with extra flour. These were a great success, just the right amount of sweetness, and the texture was spot on.
If you need to cut down on sugar, or add it to cereal or hot drinks then the light at heart seems to be a good, but expensive (at £2.49 for 450g it is about 5 times the price of regular sugar) substitution.
My muffins were flavoured with matcha (from Teapigs), Cooks & Co hazelnut oil and my old baking favourite Hotel Chocolat’s Liquid Chocolate. These were delicious with the flavours working really well together. I am especially impressed with the hazelnut oil, which gave a delicious nutty taste, I am looking forward to using it some more!
Using a mix of plain and spelt flour makes the muffins more “cakey” and short. I find that increasing the ratio of spelt anymore makes any baked goods too crumbly, although baking with eggs might help with this? If you do not have soy milk then use normal milk.
Recipe: Vegan Chocolate, Hazelnut & Matcha Muffins
100g / 3.5oz plain flour*
100g / 3.5oz spelt flour*
30g / 1oz sugar – I used Tate & Lyle Light at Heart*
1 heaped tsp baking powder
1 heaped tsp matcha
2 tbs Liquid Chocolate – or finely grated plain chocolate.
60oz / 2oz hazelnut oil
180g / 6oz milk – soy or diary if you are not vegan
Whisk the oil and milk with a fork. Mix the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and fold together (the batter should be lumpy and mixing should take no more than 15 folds). Dollop the mixture into your usual muffin pan, sprinkle each muffin with a some chocolate flakes. Bake at GM5/190C/375F for 20 – 25 mins until risen.
* If using regular sugar then add 60g / 2oz of sugar and 90g / 3oz of each of the flours.
Thank you to Hotel Chocolat, Teapigs, Cooks & Co and Tate and Lyle for the samples to make these muffins.
And a huge thanks to my friend Judit for the beautiful plate in the photos, which belonged to her late mother, I am hugely enjoying using them!