Cheese muffins are one of the first things I learned to bake by myself. Of course, they weren’t anything like these – they were just simple plain muffins with a bit of paprika and some cheddar cheese. To be perfectly honest, I would probably be about 100 stone lighter today if I hadn’t learned to make them! Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration but I do think it was the beginning of a slippery slope. Hindsight is a wonderful thing!
You may have been tempted to scroll past when you saw Stilton in the recipe title or I may have grabbed your attention with it. Either way – lover or hater – I wrote this recipe for you.
Stilton is a very Marmite kind of cheese – you love it or you hate it. For me, it’s the most accessible of the blue cheeses – I have tried others like Gorgonzola, Dolcelatte and Saint Agur and I don’t like them – even for me, who is a bit of a cheese monster, they are too strong and too smelly!
When it comes to cheese, taste is not the only factor in whether we like something or not. We recently bought some taleggio to try in a risotto because I had never tried it and was curious. If you’ve never had it before, taleggio is (to put it mildly) a bit smelly. Within a few minutes of the packaging being opened, it had stunk out the whole house and it wasn’t a nice smell!
I think the Taleggio experience (as it shall henceforth be known) shows anything it’s that it is perfectly possible to be put off something before you’ve even tasted it. But I do ask you to give these muffins a chance – I promise they won’t stink the house out with the smell of Stilton – in fact it’s just a nice cheesy bready kind of smell -almost like when you make a cheese toastie!
Isn’t it funny how your tastes change as you get older – not just in terms of things that you get to like as an adult that you couldn’t stand as a kid (which, funnily enough, was me with Stilton) but how your preferences for sweet versus savoury change.
I was sugar obsessed as a kid. Some people are the same and stay like that into adulthood. Some find their tastes change and they suddenly find themselves lusting after sausage rolls and bread, cheese and pasties and. well as you might be able to guess I’m definitely one of the latter – I still love a nice bit of cake but I get far more excited about savoury foods and snacks nowadays.
These muffins were originally imagined as bacon, stilton and maple syrup muffins. I was hoping to get some of that savoury/sweet contrast that works so well going on. However- on literally the first try – I found that just half a tablespoon of maple syrup across 12 muffins completely took over, drowning out both bacon and stilton (neither of which are wishy washy flavours) and giving what was supposed to be a savoury muffin a decidedly sweet taste.
It didn’t seem like there was much point in bothering with any less maple syrup than that and unfortunately, despite a few attempts with other sweet elements including honey and caramelised onions, I never found an ingredient that worked without completely taking over so that idea got rubbished fairly quickly and I went back to the drawing board..
I’m quite stubborn so I trekked on. These muffins are the (eventual) result and I think they are pretty good. If you are on the fence or dubious about Stilton be bold and give these a go – they may well surprise you.
I have done a couple of things to maximise flavour – which I think is hugely important. Originally, I cooked the bacon off and then, in a separate pan, cooked the onion but then I realised I was missing a trick. Is all that flavour in the bacon pan just going to waste? No, let’s cook the onion in there when the bacon is finished so it picks all of that up to add even more flavour to the muffins.
One of my latest purchases is my new griddle pan and I’m absolutely obsessed with it. Previously I had a really cheap one that we picked up and it was ok but it’s another of those things that it’s definitely worth spending a little bit more on. It just cooks out all the fat, water and whatever else they put in meat to bulk it out (let’s not pull at that thread) and leaves you with a lovely meaty end result.
Anyway, as always please let me know what you thought – especially if I’ve managed to convert you from a hater – in the comments section or by using the Contact me form. I’d love to hear from you! Enjoy! DDxPrint