Weekend Breakfast With Alison Curtis

Little Baker Week Five: Top Tips For Lemon Blueberry Muffins!

Little Baker supporting Children's Health Ireland (CHI) at Crumlin, Temple Street, Tallaght, and Con...
Mark Linehan
Mark Linehan

11:16 AM - 17 Feb 2024

Little Baker Week Five: Top Ti...

Weekend Breakfast With Alison Curtis

Little Baker Week Five: Top Tips For Lemon Blueberry Muffins!

Mark Linehan
Mark Linehan

11:16 AM - 17 Feb 2024

Little Baker supporting Children's Health Ireland (CHI) at Crumlin, Temple Street, Tallaght, and Connolly.

  • The Great Irish Bake takes place on March 22nd, but you can host your own event on any day you like!
  • Register for your own Great Irish Bake or make a donation to help raise funds for Children's Health Foundation at ie/greatirishbake

Every week Chef Shane Smith (@chefshanesmith) will take us through the BEST recipes to make and Top Tips for new Little Bakers to learn.

This week it's LEMON BLUEBERRY MUFFINS – nom! (Scroll down even further for our tips on meringues, scones, cupcakes and cookies.


Top tips when Making Muffins

  • Use room temperature ingredients to result in the best lighter muffins
  • Test your baking powder is still active
  • Preheat your oven
  • Avoid overmixing the batter. Overmixed batter results in heavy muffins
  • Add oil to your muffin mixture to keep them soft for longer
  • Whisk the wet ingredients before adding to the dry so they will blend quicker and causes less overmixing.
  • Embrace lumps, muffin dough needs a rough texture to remain fluffy.
  • Don’t underfill the muffin cases. General rule is to fill ¾ full
  • Toll your fresh blueberries/ fruit in a little flour to stop them for sinking
  • Sprinkle granulated sugar on top to give an added crunch before baking
  • Test the muffins are done by sticking in a toothpick


Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Makes: 6-8

Prep time: 20 mins

Baking: 20 mins


  • 200g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 145g caster sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • Zest 1/2 small lemon
  • 80ml veg oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 100ml milk
  • 225g fresh blueberries


  • Preheat oven to 200C/180C fan.
  • Add your milk, oil, egg, zest and sugar to a bowl and mix.
  • Add in the sieved flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Fold through but don’t over mix.
  • Add the blueberries and fold through.
  • Divide between 8-9 muffin cases and you can sprinkle granulated sugar on top if desired.
  • Bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes.





Week 4: Top tips when Making Scones

  • Use good quality ingredients.
  • Don't soften your butter. Cold butter makes scones rise higher.
  • Cut your butter into cubes, this helps with mixing.
  • Measure your ingredients
  • Avoid using a food processor to mix scones, making them by hand leads to better results.
  • Add just enough buttermilk or milk to make the dough stick together.
  • Its ok to knead the scone dough. Kneading it strengthens the gluten so your scone wont crumble when baked. If you do knead the dough, you must allow the scones to rest at room temperature for 20 minutes before baking.
  • Dip your cutter in flour and cut straight down and don’t twist, this stop the scones from going lobsided when baking.
  • Insure your scone is about 2” in height.
  • When egg washing the scones before baking – only egg wash the top and not the sides. Egg washing the sides stops them from rising as well.
  • Make sure your oven is fully preheated before baking the scones.
  • Scones need a hot oven so bake at 200C/180C fan.
  • Allow them to cool slightly before adding jam, butter or cream.

Raspberry White Chocolate Scones

Serves: 8

Prep: 10 mins

Cooking: 20-25 minutes


  • 450g self-raising flour
  • 85g caster sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 120g butter
  • 1 medium egg
  • 220ml buttermilk
  • Egg wash - 1 egg whisked
  • 40g white chocolate chips
  • 80g frozen raspberries


  • 200g icing sugar
  • 30ml water


  • Preheat your oven to 200C/180C fan.
  • Line a baking tray with parchment, set aside.
  • Into a mixing bowl, add the flour, salt, caster sugar, baking powder, and butter.
  • With your fingertips, mix to form a sandy texture.
  • To this, add the chocolate chips and mix.
  • Make a well in the centre and add the buttermilk & egg.
  • Mix to form a dough.
  • Add the frozen raspberries and mix through.
  • Turn out onto a floured surface and shape into a circle roughly 2” in height.
  • Cut into 8 wedges and place each one on a tray or use a 2” round cutter to cut the scones.
  • Egg wash and place in the preheated oven and bake the wedges for 25 mins or the smaller round scones for 12-14minutes.
  • Remove and allow to cool.
  • To make the glaze, simply whisk the icing sugar and water together and drizzle this over the cooled scones and enjoy.


Week 3: Top Tips When Making Cupcakes

  1. Weigh your ingredients.
  2. Use the best quality ingredients for the best results.
  3. Ingredients should be at room temperature - the main reason being so they can combine and emulsify well. Otherwise, it could lead to poor texture in your cupcakes.
  4. Do not over mix the batter. When the batter is over-mixed, it leads to the development of gluten, which will make the cupcakes have a tough and chewy texture.
  5. Scrape down the bowl to ensure you are mixing all the butter into the batter
  6. Use an ice-cream scoop for evenly baked cupcakes, you will have the same amount of batter in the tins, leaving them to bake more evenly
  7. Do not overfill cupcake liners. Cupcake recipes will usually indicate how far to fill them. Half full, two-thirds full, three-quarters full are usually the most common amounts. This is important to note and follow.
  8. Bake cupcakes in the centre rack of the oven and do not open the oven during baking.
  9. Use a toothpick to test if your cupcakes are baked. Insert one into the centre and if it comes out clean, then it's baked!
  10. Remove cupcakes from the pan and place on a wire rack to cool. Because the tin is hot, if you leave them in the tin, they will continue to bake and as they do start to cool they can sweat in the tin.
  11. Cool the cupcakes completely before decorating.
  12. Pipe the buttercream using a piping bag and tip
  13. Store in an airtight container. If you're not serving straight away, keep the decorated cupcakes in an airtight container to keep them fresh.

Vanilla Cupcakes Recipe

Makes: 12

Prep: 30 mins

Bake: 20 mins


Cupcakes Ingredients

  • 155g butter
  • 155g caster sugar
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 155g self-raising flour
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence


Vanilla Buttercream Ingredients

  • 200g butter
  • 400g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence



  1. Preheat your oven to 180C/160C fan and line the cupcake tin with paper cases.
  2. Into your mixing bowl, add the butter, sugar & vanilla and mix for a few minutes until soft.
  3. Gradually add each egg, mixing between each addition.
  4. To this, add the sieved flour and mix well to combine.
  5. Divide the batter between the 12 cases and bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until cooked through.
  6. Once baked, remove and allow to cool on a wire rack.
  7. To make the buttercream, into a mixing bowl add the soft butter and mix for a few minutes until smooth.
  8. To this add the icing sugar, 1/3 at a time. Mixing well between each addition.
  9. Finally add the vanilla & milk, scrape the bowl and mix well.
  10. Spoon the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle and decorate all 12 cupcakes.
  11. To finish, scatter more sprinkles over the buttercream & enjoy.


Week 2: Top Tips when Making Meringues

  1. Weigh up your ingredients
  2. Crack your eggs on a flat surface instead of the side of a bowl as this will reduce the amount of small shells that can fall into the bowl.
  3. Use fresh eggs – the fresher the eggs the better the meringue
  4. Use room temperature egg whites
  5. Make sure your bowl and whisk are clean from dust or grease
  6. By adding a drop of vinegar, lemon juice or cream of tartare will stabiles the meringue.
  7. Adding cornflour will help give you a marshmallowy soft centre meringue.
  8. Try to use caster or icing sugar. Granulated sugar granules are too big.
  9. Add your sugar gradually to the whisking whites
  10. If you prefer a crispy meringue, bake until cooked, turn the oven off and allow the meringues to cool inside the oven.
  11. Slow and steady wins the race. Start on the slowest until the whites turn opaque, then speed up. Egg white contains chains of proteins that need to stretch slowly so they trap optimum air – too fast and you risk snapping some of the chains permanently, making an unstable foam that’s likely to collapse when you add the sugar.
  12. If some yolk falls into the egg white – make sure to remove it.
  13. Line your tray with greaseproof paper to prevent sticking
  14. Bake your meringues low and slow. 100C for 45-60mins


Mini Strawberry Meringue Sandwich

Makes: 24 meringues/ 12 sandwiches

Prep: 20 mins

Bake: 45 mins



  • 200g egg white
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 200g icing sugar
  • ½ tsp white wine vinegar
  • 10g cornflour
  • Dash vanilla
  • 250ml cream
  • 10 medium strawberries



  • Preheat your oven to 120C/100C fan,
  • Line two baking trays with parchment.
  • Fit your stand mixer with the whisk attachment.
  • Place the room temperature egg whites & vinegar into the bowl.
  • Whisk until frothy but not stiff.
  • Gradually add the caster sugar, whisk until thick.
  • Add the icing sugar, cornflour and vanilla.
  • Whisk on full speed for 8 minutes or until thick and glossy.
  • Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a large round nozzle.
  • Pipe 12 x 2.5” rounds on each tray.
  • Place in the preheated oven and bake for 45minutes.
  • Once baked, turn the oven off and let them cool fully inside.
  • Whip the cream and cut the strawberries in half
  • To assemble, turn a meringue upside down and pipe some cream on top, place 3 strawberries around the cream and top with another meringue.
  • Serve straight away.


This week it's Cookies!!

Week 1: Top Tips when Making Chocolate Chip Cookies

  1. Weigh your ingredients
  2. Preheat your oven for even bakes
  3. Butter is best. You can use other fats like oil or margarine but the flavour will be noticeably different.
  4. If the recipe calls to melt the butter, make sure you allow your dough to rest before baking or else you will be left with a thin and crispy cookie.
  5. Eggs are critical for that fudginess. Without eggs, the cookie will be more like a shortbread. The eggs are binding the dough together while keeping the cookie tender
  6. Use a blend of brown and white sugar. Brown adds a caramel flavour and caster adds a crispness.
  7. If you like 'em thin and crispy, use more white sugar than brown. Use more brown sugar than white to get a rich, caramel-y flavour.
  8. Chop your own chocolate chunks to make your cookies more rich and dynamic.
  9. Sprinkle cookies with salt to create a more complex flavour.
  10. Avoid over-handling your cookies and don’t over mix the dough as you will have a tougher/firmer cookie
  11. Use an Ice-cream scoop to make even cookies that bake at the same time.
  12. Add cornstarch for a softer cookie
  13. Don’t over-bake. If in doubt, underbake!


Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Makes: 10

Prep: 20 mins

Bake 13-15mins


  • 150g butter
  • 100g soft brown sugar
  • 60g granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • Dash vanilla essence
  • 150g plain flour
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp bread soda
  • 200g dark chocolate bar, chopped
  • Sea salt to garnish


  • Preheat your oven to 200C/180C fan.
  • Line two baking trays with parchment and set aside.
  • Place the butter into a saucepan and melt over gentle heat.
  • Remove and allow to cool for 10 mins.
  • Into a bowl add the melted butter and both sugars, whisk to combine.
  • To this add the egg and vanilla and whisk for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add in the flour, raising agents and mix through with a wooden spoon or spatula.
  • Finally, add almost all the chopped chocolate chunks, keeping some back for the top of the cookies. Mix well.
  • Place the cookie dough into the fridge for 30 mins to firm up.
  • Once firm, roll into 10 balls and place 5 on each tray. These will spread during cooking, so allow room in between each one.
  • Flatten slightly with your hand and sprinkle on the reserved chocolate chunks on top.
  • Place in the preheated oven and bake for 13-15 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
  • Remove and while still hot, sprinkle sea salt on the melted chocolate.
  • Allow to cool to firm up and enjoy

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