Baking Muffins

Cupcake, Chocolate, Muffin, Cake

They are as nourishing as they are good to eat. They are quicker and easier to make than cookies and usually contain much less sugar and fat. We usually eat them for breakfast but like them with any meal. They work well for snacks and desserts also. Extras can be frozen and heated in the microwave for hot muffins anytime. Raccoon Poop

Today we will make muffins using the”muffin method”. (Just as there are two significant makeup approaches for quick breads, there are two methods for muffins-the muffin method and the creaming method.) In the muffin method, the fluids and the dry ingredients are mixed separately and then stirred together until just combined. We’ll include tips and instructions to create the perfect muffin and a few streusel and topping recipes to crown your creations with.

To make muffins using the muffin method, pick a favorite muffin recipe that does not call for the creaming of sugar into the fat. (Look for a recipe that calls for oil or melted butter.)

We like the spray oils from an aerosol can to reach the corners of the tins. Be sure to cover the top edges where the cakes will flow when baking. (you may use paper liners but since the batter adheres marginally to the paper, you’ll have less volume to the muffins.)

Set the oven to preheat. Temperature is one of the secrets to those nicely domed muffins that you find in the better bake stores. Commercial ovens use precise heat settings and timers. In the kitchen, we can approximate those results by:

O Making sure the oven is completely heated before baking. We like to allow the oven sit at full temperature for at least ten minutes before baking so the heat is well-absorbed into the construction of the oven.
O Closing the door as soon as possible to keep the heat trapped.

O Setting the temperature at a higher initial setting and lowering the temperature afterwards. The higher heat creates a burst of steam that lifts the batter.

O Placing the muffins in the top third of the oven where it will be hotter and more constant.

Always measure flour precisely with a scale if you have one. Muffin recipes are sensitive to the proportion of milk. Too much flour and the muffin won’t rise properly and will be dry. Too little flour and the muffin will flow over the edges of the muffin cup rather than dome nicely. If you will need to fine tune your favorite recipe, change the flour by a tablespoon or two.

To create cake-like muffins, use a lower protein flour-cake or pastry flour. Greater protein all purpose or bread flours will make a muffin that is chewier and more bread-like.

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl to be certain that the baking powder and other ingredients are well blended. Set aside.

Whisk the egg in a separate bowl with a French whip or fork. Insert the additional fluids and whisk again. (Some recipes will instruct you to stir the sugar and salt to the liquids, rather than add them into the dry ingredients, to be certain that they dissolve completely and are equally dispersed. We like to do this with all muffin recipes that are not creamed.)

Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Add the liquid all at once. Stir with a spatula until mixed well and moistened-some lumps will remain. Do not over stir-stirring too much will develop the gluten in the flour and the muffin will not be tender and crumbly. To avoid over stirring, we favor a spatula to an electric mixer.

If you are using fruit in your biscuits, fold them gently at the end of your mixing with a minimal number of folds. Fruit crushes easily in the thick batter and the juice will stain the batter.

Fill the muffin tins with a large spoon or ice cream scoop. Be sure the muffin tins are evenly filled so that they bake evenly. Most recipes direct that the muffin tins be stuffed 2/3’s full to allow room for expansion. If your batter reaches the right consistency, you can fill the tins for a nice dome on the muffins.

Bake the muffins until they’re a light golden brown. The muffin top should spring back when gently pressed with the finger and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. Over-baked muffins will be tough and dry. Under baked muffins may be moist and heavy.

It is easy to tear apart hot muffins trying to lift them from the tins. Instead, let the muffins sit for a few minutes and you should be able to easily lift them out intact. Set them on wire racks to continue cooling.

Muffins are best served hot and don’t keep well beyond the first day. Freeze any extras.

Now for those streusel recipes which we promised:

1/2 cup walnut pieces

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon cold butter

  1. Chop the walnuts into small pieces.
  2. Stir the walnuts, brown sugar, and cinnamon together.
  3. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry knife or two table knives.
  4. Spoon the streusel mixture over the muffin batter equally before baking.

Cinnamon-Sugar Topping

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon good quality cinnamon

6 tbsp butter, melted

Mix the cinnamon and sugar together in a bowl. When you remove the muffins from the tins, dip the still hot muffins in the butter and then roll the tops in the cinnamon sugar mixture.

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