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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