how to keep your new years resolutions with a muffin reward

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It’s getting to the time when the resolutions of the new year are starting to waiver. Most people are back at work. The holidays seem like a distant memory. Old habits are creeping back in. But it doesn’t have to be like that. And I’ve found just the thing to help.

If this is sounding a little bit too ‘personal development’ for you. Don’t worry. Stonesoup will return to normal next week. In the mean time I’ve made you some new years muffins. So skip down to the bottom and enjoy.

It’s something called 6 Changes – a method developed by Leo Babauta of my favourite personal development blog Zen Habits. If there’s one thing Leo knows it’s how to change habits. The man has quit smoking, started excercising, run multiple marathons, got out of debt, quit his job and become self employed to name a few. And all this while fitting in time to have 6 children.

What Leo recommends is to choose 6 habits that you want to form or kick during the year. He then recommends the following process to implement these changes in your life – I’ve adapted it slightly, Leo’s a vegan and wouldn’t be into my buttery muffins – but we won’t hold that against him.

1. Choose your first habit
2. Publicly commit to starting or stopping this habit in 2 months
3. Choose a trigger for your habit. For habits that you want to break, you need to observe what the triggers are and assign a new habit to resolve that trigger. For more on kicking bad habits read HERE.
4. Break the habit into up to 8 baby steps, with a super easy step to start.
5. Do your first step for the first week. Then move on and repeat until you have completed 8 weeks.
6. Celebrate your new habit by making some muffins.
7. Start again with the next habit on your list.

The first habit that I’ve chosen is to read for an hour at lunch time to meet my goal of reading 26 books this year. I used to be a massive reader when I was little but these days I only tend to read when I’m on holidays – something I want to change. So in the spirit of the 6 changes method I’ve set up a page on stonesoup to chronicle my reading list for the year. I’ve decided to allow cookbooks as long as I read them cover to cover like a novel but expect to see all sorts of topics covered.

If you’d like to make some changes to your habits and life, I highly recommend reading Leo’s post – The Definitive Guide to Sticking to Your New Years Resolutions or checking out the 6 Changes website that he has set up as a one stop guide to habit change.

Just in case you’re thinking about starting a new habit of baking something new and delicious from scratch each week, I have my new favourite muffins from the boys at – you guessed it – Bourke Street Bakery.

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new years raspberry & dark chocolate muffins
makes 9

Adapted from my go-to baking book – Bourke Street Bakery – The Ultimate Baking Companion. If you like to bake or are thinking about getting into it and haven’t got yourself a copy I highly recommend heading over to fishpond.com.au to remedy the situation.

I’ve scaled the BSB recipe back to make 9 muffins, swapped the buttermilk for a combination of natural yoghurt and water and reduced the amount of dark chocolate slightly – because that’s all I had.

These muffins are not trying to be anything like your ‘health food’ store muffins made with vegetable oil and laced with fibre. They are unashamedly good time muffins. Super moist and lucsious with alternating bursts of tartness and richness from the raspberries and dark chocolate.

I’m not normally a fan of fruit & chocolate pairings but was pleasantly surprised how addictive they were when I made them for new years eve on Capt Crutts’ boat.

While the longish ingredient list makes these muffins look not-so-minimalist, they’re really quite simple. Just melt the butter and combine with the other liquid ingredients, stir through the dry ingredients and then fold through the flavourings. You don’t need a fancy stand mixer or food processor or even a whisk so from an equipment perspective they get a minimalist tick. I haven’t tried it but I’m sure that if you didn’t have a muffin tray or papers you could bake them in well greased tea cups and they’d still be lovely.

250g (9oz) plain flour
1 1/2t baking powder
200g (7oz) caster sugar
200g (7oz) unsalted butter
3/4C natural yoghurt
1/2C water
2 eggs
100g (3 1/2oz) dark chocolate, roughly chopped
150g (5oz) raspberries, fresh or frozen
2T raw granulated sugar or demerrera

Preheat oven to 190C (375F). For fan forced oven reduce temperature by 20C or 40F. Line 9 holes of a large muffin tray with papers.

Combine flour, baking powder and sugar in a large bowl and make a well in the centre

Melt butter then remove from the heat. Stir through yoghurt and water and then add eggs, stirring well afterwards.

Pour butter mixture into the well in the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Don’t stress if there are a few flour lumps. Fold through raspberries and chocolate and spoon into prepared muffin papers. Sprinkle with raw sugar.

Bake for 30 – 45 minutes or until muffins are lightly golden and feel firm and spring back when you push them gently on the top. Allow to cool in the tray. Especially good while still warm and the chocolate is all molten but will keep for up to a week in the fridge.

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Why not decide to develop the habit of reading each installment of stonesoup? Sign up for the email updates HERE and your first step of your first habit is done.

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{ 25 comments }

Mummy Zen January 14, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Such a good idea to share your reading list for the year on here and a great way to help the habit stick.

Oh and the muffins look delicious!

amy January 15, 2010 at 5:22 am

simply gorgeous muffins. i have not been making muffins much these days and yours make me feel like its soooo perfect for breakfast:)

Lucy January 15, 2010 at 6:18 am

These muffins look truly immense – I adore the flavours in them! Beautiful photos, delicious.

Nao January 15, 2010 at 6:43 am

For a girl who doesn’t like chocolate, i think they look scumpcious, Jul! I’m sold on the Bourke Street Bakery cook book. I think i should get myself one for a back up plan in case the wedding cake flops! Luv u xoxo

Alison January 15, 2010 at 7:06 am

I bought this cookbook for myself for Christmas and am loving it! I have so far baked these muffins twice. I used buttermilk for both batches. The first batch I mixed in some nectarines, plums and rhubarb that I had lightly roasted in the oven with sugar, and the second batch was banana and chocolate. Both truly delicious – it’s a great, easy recipe, and my batches made about 19 medium-sized muffins and they freeze very well. I’ve been eating them for breakfast every day at work!

jules January 15, 2010 at 7:11 am

thanks mummy zen
I think you’re right about habits sticking

thanks amy
trust me they are totally perfect for breakfast

thanks lucy

yay nao. highly recommend BSB – there are lots of non-chocolate things in there for you!

alison
thanks for sharing your idea – love the thought of plum & rhubarb

Erin January 15, 2010 at 8:28 am

Jules, I’m glad I started reading your blog when I did (though I can’t remember how I got onto it)… I’m enjoying watching you develop it. I received a book voucher for Christmas; I’m off to the shops today to get BSB!

Banana and chocolate sounds great, Alison. I’ve got some festering bananas that will be put to good use now. Nao, as you don’t like chocolate, have you tried Jules’ banana and almond cake: http://thestonesoup.com/blog/2007/02/going-bananas/ So delicious!

Katya Simkhovich January 15, 2010 at 10:18 am

Reading more this year was also one of my resolutions. At the end of the school year we receive a card on which we’re supposed to write the books we have read over the school year and I don’t want to be one of the many who can only right down the books that were required for class. Not only that, but I love to read and I agree, I used to read a lot more as a child.
As soon as I’m done with the book I’m reading now, The Fight Club, I’ll bake these muffins to reward myself. Chocolate and raspberry make a delicious reward.

Cooking Rookie January 15, 2010 at 11:07 am

What a beautiful recipe – I have to try this!

Johanna GGG January 15, 2010 at 9:44 pm

good luck with reading more – I try to read before I go to bed or I never read a book

those muffins look delicious – the pairing of raspberry and chocolate is a favourite of mine

Patricia Scarpin January 16, 2010 at 1:07 am

These look so tender, Jules – and moreish! Love raspberries and they are wonderful with chocolate. Beautiful!

Hayden Tompkins January 16, 2010 at 1:08 am

I’ve had so much sugar in the past 3 weeks, I need to get reacquainted with some vegetables. But I keep hearing about something called zucchini bread? Allegedly, it is very delicious.

That’s one way to sneak in some vegetables!

Jade @ No Longer 25 January 16, 2010 at 3:26 am

This sounds like something I could work with!

becoming minimalist January 16, 2010 at 11:26 am

i love the looks of this recipe and enjoy the content of your blog.
cooking is one area of my life that i have not applied minimalism too just yet… although i did apply it to my kitchen gadgets a long time ago.

Cooking Rookie January 16, 2010 at 5:41 pm

I just made a variation of your recipe – I tried to cut down on butter, and also substituted berries and chocolate with apples. It does not look as good as your, but still delicious! Thanks for the recipe!
Mine is at http://cookingrookie.blogspot.com/2010/01/apple-muffins.html

small home January 16, 2010 at 6:20 pm

Keeping a resolution is quite hard especially if you that is too big. Start simple so that you can make it!

Dina January 18, 2010 at 4:13 am

that looks like a yummy idea!

jules January 18, 2010 at 11:40 am

thanks erin
you’ll love bsb – excellent way to use up a book voucher. & thanks for reminding me about the banana & almond cake.

kataya
glad to hear there are other reading resolutions out there. what are you thinking of the fight club?

patricia
you’re right. these muffins are tender – I hadn’t thought of that as a descriptor myself. thanks

hayden
I know that feeling of sugar overload. Haven’t tried zucchini bread but have seen a few recipes and it looked something like carrot cake. am interested to hear if you find a good one though.

I think you’d love it jade

becoming minimalist. great to hear from a fellow minimalist! I still need to work on my kitchen gadgets but at least I’ve stopped accumulating more.

great idea to sub in apple cooking rookie. glad to have inspired you

small home
couldn’t agree with you more. starting small is definitely the way to go

thanks dina

thanks johanna & cooking rookie

drmiggy January 18, 2010 at 2:35 pm

These look like the kind of muffin that tastes bad for you but aren’t really “bad” at all. As long as you stop at one :-)

I make a healthy and sinfully moist buttermilk bran muffin that whips up in a few minutes. They are great for breakfast or pre-workout snacks. If you are interested:
http://www.drmiggy.com/2009/07/30/best-breakfast-bran-muffins-ever/

Love your blog, and congrats on quitting your job to write full time!

Karly January 19, 2010 at 5:25 am

I am a huge fan of dark chocolate and raspberries. They go so well together, I can’t wait to try these muffins! Great recipe!

jules January 19, 2010 at 4:27 pm

you’re right drmiggy. it’s all about stopping at 1. thx for sharing your bran muffins

hey karly
I have to give credit to the boys at bourke street bakery but it is a great recipe.

Dan @ Casual Kitchen January 20, 2010 at 7:14 am

Jules, I’m right there with you on reading more. I’m noticing my reading habits have been in secular decline for the past few years, and this year I plan to change it. Thanks for the kick.

Dan
Casual Kitchen

Lisa February 6, 2010 at 5:16 pm

This is a great recipe, I’ve made it before. Definitely a treat, but oh so worth it. Will have to try it with yoghurt next time !

Chanel February 26, 2010 at 1:47 pm

I just made these and oh boy, they were divine! They were so good I am actually contemplating buying the cookbook just based on this single recipe!
I would definitely put a bit more chocolate in next time, never hurts :)

HM February 25, 2012 at 8:04 pm

Just made them after discovering it over Pinterest a week ago, and they tasted heavenly :) Love the minimalism equipment-wise. Always looking out for recipes that don’t require a huge-ass food processor or electric hand blender! haha

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