Summer berry muffins with a crisp and crumbly topping

Aoife Noonan: A delicious morning-time treat that can be adapted to go with the seasons

Summer berry breakfast muffins. Photograph: Harry Weir Photography

Summer berry breakfast muffins. Photograph: Harry Weir Photography

 

Often, I opt for a savoury breakfast, and it is a surprise to many that I sometimes prefer savoury over sweet, mood and circumstances depending.

As a child, my mornings before school mostly featured little glasses of juice and bowls of Coco Pops, with the odd slice of toast making an appearance. As I got older, it was Special K. I became quite addicted to those crunchy little clusters and pops of sweet dried berry.

Nowadays, I find it difficult to start my day with a sweet breakfast, as I tend to hit a slump mid-morning if I am not fuelled up adequately. There are, however, a few exceptions. A lazy croissant and coffee at the weekend, my breakfast cookies that I wrote about a few months ago, and these berry muffins.

There is something comforting about berries baked into a cake batter. When baked they burst and stain the cake or muffin, resulting in little spots of bright fuchsia in every bite. Calling them breakfast muffins, seems to make them more acceptable to eat in the morning, and I’m here for it.

These lovely little summer berry muffins can be adapted, of course, to autumn fruit muffins, or winter fruit muffins, or any fruit of choice, really. Raspberries and blueberries are my preferred fruit in the warmer months, and I love using figs and blackberries when the weather gets slightly cooler. In winter, chopped apples and pears with a sprinkle of cinnamon are the perfect addition.

The best part though, is the topping. Crisp and crumbly, the topping is made up of only three ingredients; light brown sugar, oats and almonds, mixed together into a delicious and crunchy sprinkle. They bake together on top of the muffin into a sort of granola crumble, adding a slight sweet crunch and gorgeous nuttiness. The brown sugar melts and almost caramelises into the muffin, creating a gorgeous crusty layer. The oats, again, are another nod to breakfast, and almonds are a great all-rounder, but hazelnuts, pecans or walnuts are also delicious.

I like to bake my muffins in little squares of parchment paper, as more often than not I don’t happen to have muffin cases in the cupboard, and the parchment works perfectly. The baked muffins will stay fresh for a day or two and they freeze incredibly well. This recipe makes six, double it if you want a perfect dozen.

Recipe: Summer berry breakfast muffins

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