Store bought lunchbox treats are almost always way too large and often end up being the only thing your kid will eat in their lunchbox. We try to cook from scratch wherever possible and we make these delicious muffins with the kids using a mini muffin tin. Once they have cooled the kids individually wrap them in cling wrap and then put them all in a freezer bag in the freezer.
You can literally make enough for 2 terms in one session. Chuck one in the lunchbox direct from the freezer and it will defrost by recess – or for your morning tea. It will be just enough to satisfy your kids’ treat cravings, without putting them off the rest of their food.
Basic Muffin Recipe (based on Stephanie Alexander’s Cook’s Companion)
1. Spray 2 mini muffin tins with spray oil and preheat oven to 180C.
2. Mix 220g self-raising flour, 110g sugar & a pinch of salt in a large bowl.
3. Lightly whisk ¾ cup milk, juice of ¼ lemon, 1 egg, ¾ cup vegetable oil in a separate bowl.
4. Quickly and very roughly mix the liquid into the dry mix, using a metal spoon. Do not overmix.
5. Use a teaspoon to spoon into tins and pop in the oven. Start checking at about 10 minutes. Cook until well browned.
This is the basic recipe. I vary this in many ways.
* Try substituting the milk and lemon juice with buttermilk, or plain greek yoghurt. I use whatever I have in the fridge!
* Swap the veg oil for 200g coconut oil.
* Add cinnamon or other spices into the dry mixture
* At step 4, add 2 mashed bananas / a cup of frozen berries / frozen mango pieces & coconut flakes / roast pumpkin + cumin / ½ grated raw zucchini & ½ cup ricotta / ½ cup cheddar cheese & 2 rashers finely chopped and fried bacon / grated carrot & sultanas / choc chips etc etc etc etc…
* Add a topping to make it more fun. Try pepitas, coconut flakes, chia seeds, crumbled feta on the savoury, any kind of nuts or sesame seeds, or anything you have in the cupboard!
The great thing about these muffins is that as they’re mini, no matter what you put in them they will satisfy a treat craving for kids (and you) without ruining their appetite for the other lovingly prepared items in their lunchbox. But of course, go for your life and cook them in bigger muffin tins for a bigger treat…