Baking Together: Blueberry Muffins with a Touch of Citrus

In case you’re new to our blog: Our posts about baking are not only about the recipes, but also very much about the process of baking together with our son who’s autistic, non-verbal, and has develomental differences. I feel that baking is a great activity for us to enjoy together, and I hope that sharing about this can inspire others to try baking with their kids, regardless of differing abilites. Of course, you’re still very welcome even if you’ve ‘only’ come here for the recipe (you’ll find all the ingredients in a bullet list further down), and being accompanied by children during the baking process is not a compulsory requirement!

It’s been quite a long time since I last wrote a post on here about baking. It’s not that we haven’t been baking, I just haven’t got around to posting about it, or I haven’t felt sure about posting because we’ve only made someting once, and I know that recipes from ‘proper chefs’ and big recipe sites etc are normally tried and tested many times before being published.

But you know, we’re just a mum and son mucking about in the kitchen, and I want to share what we do and what works for us (so that others can give it a go too), not do things specifically for the sake of blogging. If we bake something and like it, I want to share it right away, not do repeat baking sessions for the sake of checking an refining the recipe. And after all, if you’re using different brands of ingredients or have a different cooker etc, there will still be variations in end results.

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So, with that said, I’d like to share about our blueberry muffins that we made a couple of days ago! We added a touch of citrus to them, which I think turned out very well. I honestly can’t remember when we last made muffins before this, which I’m a little embarrassed to say, as it really felt like the best way to spend some time on a rainy summer day, baking these blueberry muffins, and then enjoying a few of them with a cuppa. Very cosy! And I’m not that good at creating cosy moments on a regular basis, so this felt like a win, especially as Penguin really liked the muffins too, which was not a given as he’s a very selective eater (as many autistics are).

Now, onto the list of ingredients:

  • c. 180 g of Stork/margarine/butter
  • c. 180 g of sugar (we used granulated, but caster sugar should be good too)
  • 2 eggs
  • the zest and juice of about 1/2 a large lemon and 1/2 a lime
  • c. 180 g flour
  • c. 1.5-2 tsp baking powder (we used one heavily heaped teaspoon, which I estimate to be 1.5-2 normal tsp measurments)
  • c. 2 tablespoons of orange juice (optional)
  • c. 2 cups of blueberries (we used frozen ones, but if you’ve got the chance to go into a forest and pick your own, do so!)

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One of the reasons why I really like baking with Penguin, is that it means practising some very important life skills. With his neurodevelopmental differences (autistic, developmental delays, non-verbal etc.), he will most likely be relying on others to help him with everyday things for the rest of his life. But he’s always learning and developing skills, just not at the same rate as most kids do.

So, I try to build up a gradually increasing independence in the activities we do, such as in this case, baking. This can be another source for my uncertainty regarding recipes, as I try to let Penguin do the measuring of ingredients, and I don’t want to correct him unnessecarily as that could make him loose confidence in what he’s doing. Hence, all the measurments above, other than the eggs (which however can vary in size naturally, of course) are approximate. The orange juice is something we decided to add towards the end, as the mixture seemed a little to thick. If you’re happy with the thickness of your mixture without the orange juice, feel free to leave it out.

Get baking!

Firstly, we put the required amount of butter (we used Stork) into a large bowl. We then added the suggar, and mixed it in thoroughly before adding the eggs, and mixing thoroughly again.

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Next we grated zest of lemon and lime into the mix (and this is great for practising motor skills! It requires bilateral coordination, as well as applying the right amount of pressure etc. Penguin gives it a go to practise, but I still do the majority of any kind of grating needed in our cooking or baking.). We then cut the lemon and lime into wedges, to make squeezing easier, and added their juice into the bowl.

We then added the flour and the baking powder, and gave everything a good mix. As it was quite thick, we decided to add some orange juice. After that, it was just the blueberries left to stir into the mix.

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We put dollops of the mix into paper cups, and Penguin worked hard at this, getting slightly frustrated when spilling some, but overall it went really well! I wish we’d had the metal muffins tray we used to have though, as that would have provided support for the paper cups. As it was, we just placed the paper cups on our regular baking tray, which was okay, but some mix escaped out of a few of the cups during the baking process and that could have been avoided with a muffins tray (or by using double paper cups, for increased stability).

We baked our muffins at 180 C for about 15 mins. We have a fan assisted electric oven, and for non fan assisted you should probably go for about 200 degrees, and for a gas oven, gas mark 5 should be good. Check on your muffins after about 10 mins. The exakt time needed will vary quite a bit depending on how much mixture you’ve put in each cup, so if some ended up smaller, you might like to get them out and leave the larger ones in for a bit longer.

All in all, our muffins might not be the best looking ones I’ve ever seen, but they were fun to make and taste great to eat! As for sensory stimulation, which is an important aspect of life and learning for us, baking is of course an inherently sensory rich activity, and the citrus elements of this recipe added a nice bit of extra stimulation for our sense of smell (a.k.a the olfactory sense).

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I hope you feel encouraged to get baking now, especially so if you too have a child who is a ‘different learner’. I’d say it can take a fair bit of effort and patience to do these things, and you need to have a pretty high tolerance for mess if you’ve got a Penguin in the kitchen, but it’s oh so worth it!

Thank you so much for reading, and please feel free to share your own thoughts, experiences, questions etc in the comments below! And for more regular interactions, come join us on social media:

Take care now, and enjoy your muffins! x

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Homebaked Blueberry Muffins with a Touch of Citrus! Baking Together is a great Sensory Learning Activity, helping to build Independence, Life Skills etc in Kids. These skills are important for our boy who's Autistic and has Developmental Delays and Learning Differences. For more Recipes, Learning Activities etc, visit us at http://sensationallearningwithpenguin.com #bakingwithkids #blueberrymuffins #autism #homeschooling

 

Linking up with: Blissful Domestication

 

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

25 thoughts on “Baking Together: Blueberry Muffins with a Touch of Citrus

  1. Baking is good for all children, and is a real life skill. It is something I try to do a lot of with my son, but it is challenging. More baking posts please as it does remind me that I am not alone in needing to build slowly on the parts of the process my son can do. And now I see your spiced apple cake recipe! Apple cake is my favourite!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, this is lovely to hear, and I too appreciate knowing that we’re not alone in working on these life skills, taking ‘baby steps’.
      I think it’s great when learning can be done through making things, baking things etc, as you get an intrinsic reward. The satisfaction of having made something is a good feeling, isn’t it? xx

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  2. Oh, I do love muffins! And blueberry muffins is a recipe that we use often. I totally agree with you that baking is a fab activity for children to get involved with. My two have been helping me in the kitchen since they were really young.
    Penguin’s muffins look delightful! 🙂

    Thanks so much for joining in with #MMBC Malin. x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. These sound yummy. Baking is such a wonderful way to bond with all children. And the fact that they can be involved in the experience throughout, from the raw ingredients to the actual eating is great! #KidsandKreativity

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think baking with your kids is such an important thing to do. Not only does it help them develop and practice a wide range of skills, but also if you let yourself be at peace with the mess it’s a really fun thing to do. Not to mention ending up with a yummy treat at the end! These look amazing by the way! Thanks for linking up to #KidsandKreativity, hope to see you next time.

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  5. Baking is such a great bonding activity. Sadly I know many mums who won’t bake with their children as they don’t like the mess. But the mess does get less as children become more experienced and the joy of eating something you have helped to create is definitely worth a messy kitchen!

    Your muffins sound delicious and it’s great that Penguin enjoyed them too :o)

    #MMBC

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Catherine, and I couldn’t agree more! My mum did loads of baking when I was a child, but only got me involved in parts of it and I think that was because she felt it was too much trouble to have me ‘help’ with the whole process. Same thing with cooking, laundry etc, I didn’t learn any of those life skills from my parents. Also, I think I might have felt a little closer to them if they’d got me more involved in those everyday things? So yes, I think your spot on about it being great for bonding! xx

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  6. That’s the lovely thing about baking with your children – the fun is in the actual bake. The end result doesn’t have to be perfect, it’s about putting some character into it! And you’re right, it is such a great way to spend a rainy afternoon. Even better that you get to sit and sample them afterwards with a big cup of tea!! #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The muffins look great, presentation isn’t as importance as taste. Baking is an art that should pass onto to youngest generation…… the most important ingredient in cooking and baking is amore. Love always make things look better and tastier. Muffin with blueberries, citrus and a nice cuppa, while sitting on the sofa and watching a family movie. Only rule no crumbs on the sofa ………. (Words from my partner!) Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. These look lovely. I really enjoy baking with my little girl, although very little of the cake mixture ever makes it into the cases! #kcacols

    Like

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