I've been knitting a LOT recently, it's the most relaxing hobby for this time of the year. I can be found clacking needles in front of a roaring fire with half an eye on the television and the other on which row I'm on.
It gives your brain a real work out though and I find that I get the munchies...it doesn't take long for my hungry brain to imagine steaming cups of coffee and some tasty, chocolatey muffins!
I have fallen in love with this particular free knitting pattern, it's called the Swirled Ski Cap from the Craft Yarn Council and it is surprisingly easy and soooo pretty.
It's basically a knitted parallelogram that when sewn up, gives this beautiful, buttercream swirl which can be topped off with a fun pom pom. I haven knitted it twice so far experimenting with different yarns and colours. This is my favourite combination, it matches a cowl I knitted late last year, I added the pink blanket stitch to the cowl to make them a matching set. They both stylish and extremely warm for these wintry days.
Makes 24 -26
440g Pumpkin or Butternut Squash, cooked until tender and mashed
4 Large eggs
375g Caster sugar
375ml Vegetable oil
345g Plain flour
2 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp Baking powder
1 tsp Ground cinnamon
1 tsp Salt
300g Dark chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6 line two 12 hole muffin trays with paper cases.
Place the cooked and cooled mashed pumpkin/butternut squash into a large mixing bowl.
Add the the eggs, sugar and the vegetable oil to the pumpkin/ butternut squash.
Give the mixture a really good stir to combine the eggs and sugar with the squash.
Weigh out the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, ground cinnamon and the salt in a separate bowl, mix together.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined -be gentle here - too much stirring at this stage means your muffins will be tough and chewy.
Add the chocolate chips and fold into the mixture.
This is the best tip I have ever got when it comes to dividing muffin batter, use an ice-cream scoop -the best scoop is the one you see in restaurants for scooping potatoes - the muffins are all evenly sized and you will get the most from your batter.
Three quarter fill each paper case and place the two trays in the preheated oven, swap half way through. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the muffins are golden and risen in the middle.
They should spring back when gently pressed in the middle, if they don't give them another 3-4 minutes in the oven. Cool on a wire rack.
Recipe adapted from Marg from the Food.com