Tips for Better Muffins
I’m not a big cupcake fan. They are too sweet and I don’t like gobs of frosting. I love muffins, though. Did you know that the most popular muffins at bake sales are Chocolate Chip, Blueberry, Banana-Nut,Lemon, Bran, Cranberry and Poppyseed?
What is the difference between a cupcake and a muffin? Muffins are to quickbreads what cupcakes are to cake. It’s in the mixing. Muffin batter is gently stirred and stays lumpy, and cupcake batter is creamed for a long time (muffins and quickbreads have dry ingredients and wet ingredients, which are gently stirred together at the last minute creating a lumpy batter just before baking. Cupcakes and cake ingredients are creamed together to make a smooth, creamy batter (plus there’s frosting).
Some people joke that when you throw both a cupcake and a muffin against the wall, the cupcake makes a poof sound, and the muffin sounds like a thud. Or, that when your wife is younger your call her cupcake. When she’s older with a double chin, you call her muffin. Muffins simply overflow the intended shape . . . sort of like a double chin.
*Add-in flavor combination guidlines:
- Spice: Add 2 tsp cinnamon or
1 tsp grated nutmeg. Or, ½ tsp cardamom, 1/8 tsp ground cloves and 1 tsp
& Citrus or Chocolate: Toss 1 C fruit w 1 TBL flour and add to batter:
blueberries, raspberries, blackberries,
apples or pears (finely diced) + 1 tsp lemon or orange zest (for a stronger lemony
flavor add zest to liquid ingredients and let rest for 10 minutes); OR cranberries or finely diced rhubarb
plus 1 tsp orange zest. Be sure to stir up from the bottom to lift
fruit from settling in the bottom of the batter. Tossing the dry fruit
with 1TBL flour helps prevent the fruit from sinking to the bottom of the
muffin. If using chocolate chips or chunks add ½ cup.
Fruit & Nuts: To the wet ingredients add
1 C of either: raisins, currants, dried cherries, dried cranberries,
chopped dates, or chopped prunes. If dried fruit is too hard, soften first
in hot water for 10 to 15 min, then drain. Chopped nuts go well with dried
fruit. Use up to 1 C per batch.
& Savory: Add 1 C grated cheddar
cheese and 1 tsp of you favorite herbs to the dry ingredients.
10 Tips to Making the Best Muffins and Quickbreads Ever
temperature ingredients (like eggs and milk) make better muffins.
gentle. Use a flexible spatula to gently fold ingredients together. Don’t
ground spices. Use the freshest spices possible.
should be stiff enough to hold a spoon upright; if it is too runny, gently
fold in a few extra tablespoons of flour.
the entire muffin tin, not just the indentations. Often, the muffins
expand over the sides.
muffin tins three-quarters full; the tops are the best part.
- Slide a
baking sheet under the muffin tin to help prevent the bottoms from getting
too dark in the oven. This also helps with cleanup in case there is
- Take care
not to over-bake.
muffins to cool in the pan at least 10 minutes before removing them,
especially if they contain soft fresh fruit.
can be frozen. Best fresh, but you can freeze the batter (without
add-ins), then thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bake the muffins
fresh in the morning.