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A lot of people I know feel that summer hasn’t arrived until they’ve had a bowl of fresh strawberries with cream.  But for me it has to be raspberries – a handful of freshly-picked raspberries, juicy and warm from the sun.  What could be better?

Raspberry

Maybe not quite so healthy, but still impressively good, is the combination of raspberries and a generous quantity of chocolate.  Stir them into a dark chocolate brownie mix and bake, or use them with whipped cream to sandwich together the two layers of a rich, moist chocolate sponge cake.  It doesn’t even have to be dark chocolate – white chocolate and raspberries are a perfect partnership too.

The raspberries bushes in my garden appeared out of nowhere last year, probably with the help of a local bird.  They’re growing in a space by the side of the pond – not where I would have chosen to put them, but they’re healthy and producing lots of berries, so they can stay.  The raspberries are small, ripe and ready to eat.  On a good day, if I can get to them before the birds or the children do, we’ll have enough to eat with meringues after tea, or to add to tasty raspberry and white chocolate muffins.  They make a good addition to a school lunch box for an end of term treat, and when the holidays start (and the weather improves), they’ll be packed up for day’s out and picnics.

Raspberry and white chocolate muffins

I’m adding this recipe to Ren Behan’s Simple and in Season challenge, hosted this month by Fleur over at Homemade by Fleur.  I’ve really enjoyed taking part in this blog challenge over the last couple of months.  It not only gets me thinking about new ways to used the produce from the garden, but I’ve discovered some great recipes and fantastic blogs through it too.

 

Raspberry & White Chocolate Muffins

300g plain flour

1tsp baking powder

150g soft light brown sugar

2 large eggs

100g unsalted butter, melted

Juice of 1 orange

150g white chocolate, cut into rough chunks

150g fresh raspberries, washed and dried

Preheat the oven to 200oC, 400oF, Gas 6.  Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper muffin cases.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl.  Add the sugar and stir to mix everything together well.

Stir in the eggs, one at a time, then the melted butter and orange juice.  Sprinkle the chocolate chunks and raspberries over the top of the mixture and fold them in gently.  Try not to over mix, or break up the raspberries too much.

Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases – filling each one to about ¾ full.  Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.  Cool the muffins on a wire rack, put the kettle on and enjoy a freshly baked muffin with a nice cup of coffee!

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