Muffin Madness

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I am not really clear when we started the tradition of making muffins for breakfast every Sunday morning. I know my kids were small. With the exception of an occasional coffeecake or batch of scones, muffins are Sunday morning breakfast. Perfect paired with a pot of coffee, some juice and/or fruit as we get ready to head out for church. I thought I’d share some of our favorite muffins as well as some of the things we’ve learned about baking muffins.

Picking & Preparing your tin

I've read the claim that muffins brown best if baked in shiny metal muffin tins. That may be true but I’ve never had a browning issue baking muffins in either my old cast iron muffin tin or my not-so-shiny, vintage Bake King tins. Tins should be greased rather heavily on the bottom for easy removal of muffins. Greasing the sides very lightly, or not at all, allows the batter to cling to the tins in rising, thus increasing volume. Fill your muffin tins 2/3 full of batter unless your recipe states otherwise. Your muffins will rise about the pan surface. Use an ice cream scoop to fill the cups in the muffin pan. This will measure your batter equally for each muffin. To keep muffins from burning around the edges, leave one muffin cup empty; fill 2/3 with cold water before baking. Generally cupcake papers are for just that……cupcakes. I will use them if I am taking muffins somewhere to share but for the most part, I belong to the camp that says a muffins has no paper.


If the ingredient proportions aren’t correct, your muffins will fail. If there is too much liquid, muffins may sink in the middle or too much fat can make them coarsely textured. Use dry measure cups for flour and other dry ingredients and liquid measures for milk and other liquids. Be sure to use measuring spoons for small amounts of wet or dry ingredients instead of *eyeballing*.


Mixing is very important in muffin making. A good muffin is *made* in the mixing. Combine the dry and liquid ingredients separately. The egg should be beaten enough to combine well with the liquid, then all liquids mixed thoroughly together. Under-blending of liquid ingredients produces a muffin with thicker cell walls and a less tender texture.

The liquid mixture is stirred with the combined dry ingredients only until the flour is moistened. It is essential to keep mixing to a minimum, no more than 25 to 30 strokes. Your mixing technique should be gentle. The batter should be lumpy not smooth. Over-mixing might result in peaked tops, a tough muffin and “tunnels.” A rubber spatula or wooden spoon is the perfect tool for gently mixing muffins.


Preheat the oven before starting to mix the ingredients. Muffins are usually baked on a high setting for a short period of time Check your recipe for the proper temperature setting and the required time. When baking time is up, insert a toothpick into the center of the muffin. If the toothpick comes out clean, they are done. If not, continue baking in 2 to 3 minute increments, checking each time with the toothpick until it comes out clean.


When muffins are done, remove them at once from the muffin tins so they don’t steam and soften. If they must stand in muffin tins, tip each one slightly in its cup so steam can evaporate.


Leftovers may be stored at room temperature, in a resealable plastic bag or an airtight container to retain moisture. Reheat and use within a day or so. Nut and fruit muffins are at their best if made the day before using. They should be cooled completely, wrapped tightly, and kept at room temperature. To freeze muffins, wrap in foil, heavy-duty plastic wrap or freezer-wrap and press all the air from package; freeze for up to 3 months (to thaw, let stand, wrapped, at room temperature for about 1½ hours).

Some of My Favorite Muffin Recipes:

Apple Cinnamon Muffins
(Printable Version)

1-1/2 c all-purpose flour
¾ c sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ c milk
1/3 c butter, melted
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 c finely chopped apple

Heat oven to 375°F. Combine, flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon in medium bowl. Add all remaining ingredients. Stir just until flour is moistened.
Spoon batter into greased 12-cup muffin pan. Bake for 18 to 23 minutes or until lightly browned. Let stand 5 minutes; remove from pan.

Nutmeg Streusel Muffins
(Printable Version)

1-1/3 c all-purpose flour
1 c firmly packed brown sugar
½ c cold butter
Muffin Ingredients:
2/3 c all-purpose flour
2/3 c buttermilk
1 egg
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1-1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt

Heat oven to 400°F. Combine 1 1/3 cups flour and brown sugar in large bowl; cut in butter with pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Reserve 1/2 cup for streusel topping. Add all muffin ingredients to remaining streusel mixture in same bowl; stir just until moistened. Spoon batter into greased or paper-lined 12-cup muffin pan. Sprinkle with reserved streusel topping. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until lightly browned. Let stand 5 minutes; remove from pan.

Mini Poppy Seed Muffins
(Printable Version)

1-1/3 c all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp poppy seeds
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
¾ c sugar
2/3 c butter, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp lemon extract
1/3 c lemon yogurt

Heat oven to 350°F. Place paper baking cups into mini muffin cup pans. Combine flour, poppy seed, baking powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Set aside. Combine sugar and butter in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add 1 egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and lemon extract; mix well. Reduce speed to low; alternately add flour mixture and yogurt, beating after each addition, just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared mini muffin cups. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until set and very lightly browned.

Prize Winning Blueberry Muffins
(Printable Version)

½ c sugar
¼ c butter, softened
1 c sour cream
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 egg
1-1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 c fresh or frozen (unthawed) blueberries
1 Tbsp sugar
½ tsp grated lemon zest

Heat oven to 375°F. Grease muffin pan cups or place paper baking cups into muffin pan cups; set aside. Combine 1/2 cup sugar and butter in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add sour cream, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon lemon zest and egg. Continue beating, scraping bowl often, until well mixed. Combine flour and baking soda in medium bowl. Stir flour mixture into sour cream mixture by hand just until moistened. Gently stir in blueberries. Spoon into prepared muffin pan cups. Combine 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest in small bowl. Sprinkle about 1/4 teaspoon mixture on top of each muffin. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool 5 minutes; remove from pan.

Oatmeal Pecan Muffins
(Printable Version)

1-1/3 c uncooked quick-cooking oats
1-1/4 c all-purpose flour
½ c sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1/3 c cold butter
1 c half & half
1 egg, slightly beaten
½ c chopped pecans

Heat oven to 400°F. Combine oats, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl; cut in butter with pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in fat free half & half and egg just until moistened. Gently stir in pecans. Spoon batter evenly into 12 paper-lined or greased muffin cups. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 5 minutes; remove from pan.

Sweet Cherry Muffins
(Printable Version)

1/2 c butter, at room temperature
1 c sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2-1/2 c chopped sweet cherries (frozen)
2 c all-purpose flour
1 c vanilla yogurt
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 c brown sugar
1 c sliced almonds
1/4 - 1/2 tsp nutmeg

Heat oven to 375°F. Grease 12 muffin cups, including area between cups. In a medium sized bowl, beat butter until creamy. Beat in sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla, baking powder and salt. Then add the cherries. Mix in half the flour, alternating with the yogurt, until completely mixed. In a small bowl mix together topping ingredients. Scoop batter into muffin tins, filling half way. Sprinkle on topping mixture. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Thanks to Jen, Lisa & Cole from Tempt Your Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, and Tuesdays at the Table.