Muffins…sweet ones are great for breakfast or brunch and savory ones are perfect partners with a salad, soup or stew meal. When I stand in line at the coffee shop to buy my morning cup of coffee, I am tempted to purchase a muffin because they look so good, but then I see the price and know I can make a dozen at home for about the price of one. Muffins are so easy to prepare – as the batter is a simple mixture of flour; a leavening agent like baking powder or baking soda; eggs; oil or melted butter; and a liquid such as milk.
Let me give you some tips about muffin recipes. While muffins are easy to make, there are some things you should know. First of all, muffin pans vary in size.
- A standard muffin pan cup is about 2 1/2 inches in diameter and holds from 1/4 to 1/3 cup of batter.
- There are giant or Texas-size muffin cups which hold slightly more than a half cup of batter.
- The mini muffin pan cups range from 1½ to 2 inches in diameter and hold 1 to 2 tablespoons of batter.
In addition, there is variation in pan sizes within each size category. For example, a standard muffin pan cup might be slightly bigger or smaller than 2 ½ inches in diameter, holding slightly more or less batter than stated above. That means when you are baking muffins at home, the baking times you see on a recipe may need to be adjusted somewhat.
- Muffins can be baked in either greased muffin pan cups or muffin papers that can be placed into the muffin pan cups and the dough placed inside. The muffin papers make cleanup really easy.
- Grease only the bottom and halfway up the sides of the muffin pan cup if you aren’t using muffin papers. This will allow the batter to rise up the sides of the pan properly, but not stick to the bottom of each cup.
- Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl; stir to combine. In another bowl, combine all the liquid ingredients such as eggs, oil or melted butter and milk; whisk together so eggs are well blended with the other ingredients.
- When combining dry ingredients with liquid ingredients, stir only until mixture is combined. The batter may still be lumpy. I like to use a wooden spoon to mix my batter because I have more control with that utensil. Overmixing will slow down the ability of the baking soda or baking powder to work. This will create tunnels or holes in the baked muffin and make the tops peaked instead of rounded.
- Adding ingredients like dried fruits or nuts to a muffin recipe can be done without affecting how they bake. A standard amount for a dozen muffins can range from 1/2 to 1 cup.
- Spoon batter into the muffin pan cups immediately after stirring. The leavening will begin to work as soon as the batter is made and you want that action to take place in the oven.
- Sometimes you do not have enough batter to fill all the muffin pan cups in the pan. If that happens, just place 2 to 3 tablespoons of water in the empty cups to keep the pan from warping during baking.
- Start checking at the low end of the baking time range to see if your muffins are done. Insert a toothpick in the center; if it comes out clean, the muffin is done.
- If you have trouble removing muffins from the muffin pan cups, place the muffin pan on a wet towel for 2 to 3 minutes. This helps release the muffins from the pan.
Want a change of pace for breakfast or something to go along with a salad for lunch or dinner? Bake up a batch of muffins for the family. It will bring them to the kitchen quickly and put smiles on their faces when they eat a “glorious muffin” Mom made.