Apple Muffins (with Hidden Berry Syrup)

I have a confession to make: I picked some berries because of their health and nutrition benefits and turned them into a syrup. Guess what? The syrup tasted vile. Absolutely unpalatable. How to remedy the situation?

The berries in this case were rowan tree berries, highbush cranberries and hawthorn berries. All of them have amazing health properties, from regulating your blood circulation to reducing muscle pain. Unfortunately they all taste like a bitter medicine (in fact, that’s exactly what they are). Not even cooking them for 30 minutes with sugar, lemon juice and apples managed to take away the bitter taste (and a rather unpleasant smell!). So, feel free to ignore the hidden berry syrup part of this recipe – these apple muffins are reassuringly delicious. I was baking with the Great British Bake Off in the background and once ready I ate 4 muffins in a row. That’s how good they are.

Makes 10 muffins


1 teaspoon mixed berry syrup

200 gr plain flour

90 ml milk

80 ml vegetable oil

100 gr sugar

1 egg

¼ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

2 small apples (cooking apples preferable), peeled and grated

10 silicone muffin moulds


To make the berry syrup:

200 grams of mixed berries (hawthorn, highbush cranberry, rowan)

juice of ½ lemon

1 apple, sliced, with peel

100 grams sugar

Cook the berries, lemon and apple for 5 minutes to release some juice on a medium heat. Cook for 20-30 minutes on a medium heat. The berries are ready when they have broken down. Strain everything through a sieve lined with a muslin cloth to get a clear liquid. Discard the seeds.

Bring the liquid back to the pan, add the sugar and cook for another 10 minutes to thicken.

To make the muffins:

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate, egg, milk, vegetable oil, grated apples, salt and the berry syrup together. Combine the ingredients well to ensure there are no lumps.

Pre-heat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius and pour the muffin mixture into silicone moulds. Bake for 15-18 minutes until cooked through.

Recommended Reading: The Walking, Foraging and Cooking Book