I have to admit, these are the first savoury muffins I’ve ever made. I don’t know why, but “savoury” and “muffin” just didn’t go together in my mind. It seemed wrong! Muffins are supposed to be sweet… and chocolatey… and covered in icing… right?
Well, I guess I didn’t have a baby to introduce solids to before, and didn’t realise how strongly I would feel about avoiding sugar in her diet as much as possible! (see my recent rant about that here)
So, since Baby K has begun eating finger foods, I’ve found that mini muffins are the PERFECT size for her tiny palms to clutch onto. She expertly smashes them against her face and most of it does make it to her mouth! Very entertaining to watch.
As well as for baby-led weaning, these particular muffins are brilliant if you’re trying to “sneak” spinach into an older child’s diet too. I was actually trying to use up lots of ice-cubes of frozen spinach puree in my freezer when I googled “spinach muffins.” I found a recipe on a forum and, of course, have adapted it, and voila!
Unfortunately, I’ve discovered that these don’t freeze well. Or rather, they don’t defrost well! I’ve tried taking them out and letting them come to room temperature naturally, and also zapped them in the microwave; both times, the muffins begin to harden pretty quickly. They go from soft and spongey, to tough-like-stale-bread after a few minutes; not at all like the banana and date muffins I made that defrost perfectly.
The solution? Freeze the batter instead. If you’re making this for a baby, you should definitely do this, because baby won’t eat 20 muffins straight out of the oven! I would portion out the batter into mini muffin liners, and freeze. Then, take out when you want to give your baby one and bake.
See this post for details on where I got my mini muffin tin and liners from.
(makes approximately 20 mini muffins)
¼ onion, chopped
1tsp unsalted butter
175g plain flour
1¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp red chilli powder
125g cheddar cheese, grated
100ml full fat milk
2tbsp spinach purée*
*I made up a big batch of spinach purée by wilting one bunch of washed and picked spinach leaves in a pan (no water needed; the spinach cooks quickly in its own water that it releases). I then blended the purée and froze it in an ice cube tray to use when needed. For this recipe, I used one cube, which works out to approximately 2tbsp. However, you could simply use two handfuls of baby spinach leaves instead.
First of all, heat the butter in a small saucepan, and add the onion. Fry lightly for a few minutes till soft, then stir in the spinach. If you are using already wilted spinach, turn off the heat at this point. If the spinach is fresh, allow it to wilt then set the mixture aside to cool.
Pour the milk and egg into a small bowl and whisk to combine.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and red chilli powder, then stir in the cheese too. Slowly pour in the milk and egg mixture, whisking as you go. Use an electric whisk as you’ll find the mixture gets quite thick and would be difficult to stir by hand. If you don’t have an electric whisk, try using a food processor.
Finally, stir in the spinach.
Pour the mix into your muffin tin (see this post for where I got my tin and cases from), and bake for approximately 20 mins. The muffins should bounce back when lightly prodded, and should be beginning to lightly colour when done.
Serve warm or cold.