December 6, 2011


I was sorting through some old magazines the other day and came across a nice idea for a Christmas present.

The magazine was actually issued last spring but the idea is perfect for Christmas.

muffin mix1  muffin mix3

Basically, you put all the dry ingredients for a batch of spiced muffins in a jar, with instructions, and parcel it up prettily with a  wooden spoon to give as a gift.

muffin mix2

I decided to give this to a couple of my friends who love to bake but don’t always have the time – the part that usually takes most of the time in making muffins is gathering together and weighing out all the ingredients.  With this gift they just tip all the contents into a bowl, add egg, milk and melted butter and bake.

To make it even easier to bake I also included 12 muffin cases and 2 six-hole muffin tins which were only 99p each from the local factory shop.  Everything fits neatly into a gift bag with the perfect Christmas design on it.

The recipe uses “tropical dried fruit mixture” which I couldn’t find locally, so I used a luxury dried fruit mixture and added some dried mango, pineapple, papaya, apricots and a little glacé ginger.

muffin mix9bI got my Kilner jars from the local hardware shop for £2.25 each and the ingredients just fitted in if I pressed them down a bit.

muffin mix4  muffin mix6 muffin mix7 muffin mix8

I thought it was wise to test the recipe by baking a batch myself, just to make sure it worked and tastes ok.

(Excuse for baking number 24b !!)

It was indeed very quick and easy and they tasted deliciously spicy, exactly right for Christmas.

muffin mix9 muffin mix9aI’m sure if someone gave me a muffin kit as easy to bake as this for Christmas I would love it, so I hope my friends do too !!

(I am 99.9% sure none of them read this blog !!)

I looked at the BBC Good Food website and sure enough, although it actually appeared in a Spring magazine, you can see it here, presented as a Christmas recipe !!  I have noticed before that a lot of the Good Food magazine recipes are regularly recycled and will turn up in books and magazines time and again, often using the same picture.



300g self-raising flour

2tsp baking powder

2tsp ground cinnamon

2tsp mixed spice

100g chopped pecans or walnuts

140g tropical dried fruit mixture

100g light muscovado sugar


Layer all the ingredients in the order listed in a 1 litre glass or plastic preserving jar.

Write the following instructions on a gift tag:

“Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°fan/gas mark 5.  Put the muffin cases in the tins.  Tip the contents into a large mixing bowl.  Make a well in the centre and add two beaten eggs, 300ml milk and 100g melted butter.  Mix quickly until just combined.  Divide between the muffin cases and bake for 18-20 minutes.  Best eaten within 24 hours and use within one month.”

Attach the label and wooden spoon to the jar with pretty ribbon or raffia.


  1. What a fantastic idea, Jean! There are one or two people I always struggle to find an appropriate gift for and this idea would work perfectly! I might even send myself one!

  2. This is a lovely gift idea. I love the tropical dried fruit mixture too, gives a burst of sunshine in cold weather.

  3. Brilliant idea, I am impressed. Happy Birthday. Diane

  4. I'm going to 'steal' this idea, Jean, but I suspect that's why you've passed it on to us!