Quick bread baking: basic muffin recipe
If you can move a big spoon around a mixing bowl, then you can make muffins. Making muffins from scratch is so easy, it is about the same amount of effort as using a store-bought mix, but with more delicious results.
Learning to make muffins will quickly add to the quality of your home cooking. You can whip up a dozen muffins to serve as quick-grab breakfast food as you go out the door or enhance a plain dinner into a hearty meal. Muffins also make good snacks anytime.
Need to know:
Obviously you will need a 12-space muffin pan. Cheapo ones are readily available at almost any grocery store or you can get a nicer one from a department store or gourmet shop.
Paper muffin cups. These small paper liners for the muffin pan are available at any grocery store. They might be near the cake mixes and decorating supplies because the cups are used to make cupcakes too. Instead of paper liners, you can use nothing and just grease the muffin pan with shortening, margarine, or butter. So, even if you don’t have paper cups, you can still make muffins.
When mixing the batter: Do NOT overwork it. Just stir until the dry ingredients are moist and the batter forms. Over-mixing the batter leads to tough muffins, and no one wants to get caught in a dark alley with those.
The first recipe is for the basic batter, and then the remaining ingredients for muffin variations are listed below.
Plain muffin batter recipe
2 cups all-purpose flour, or whole wheat flour
1/3 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup milk or buttermilk (Buttermilk makes the muffins really soft and yummy but milk is fine.)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Heat your oven to 400 degrees F. Grease muffin pan or place paper liners into cups. In a large mixing bowl, add all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon) and stir together. Then form a well in the middle of the dry ingredients, which means to clear away a space in the middle where you will pour the wet ingredients. Add the milk, egg, vanilla, and oil to the well. With a few strokes of the spoon, beat the egg into milk and oil before stirring into the flour mixture. This will help distribute the egg without over-mixing the batter. Now you can stir the wet and dry ingredients together. This will only take 10 to 15 strokes. Just make sure everything is moistened and there are no dry clumps.
At this point you will add the berries, nuts, or chocolate as desired from the suggestions below. Blend in with just 3 or 4 more strokes of the spoon.
Once you have added the final ingredient. Distribute the batter equally among the 12 cups on the muffin pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Muffins should be lightly golden brown.
Add 1 cup of frozen or fresh blueberries.
Apple walnut muffins:
Dice one medium or large apple into small pieces.
Finely chop or food process 1/2 cup of walnuts
Add both to batter as final step.
Chocolate chip muffins:
You might confuse these with cookies. They make wonderful breakfast muffins or snacks.
3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
Optional: 1/2 cup chopped peanuts or walnuts.
Add to batter as final step
Streusel topping recipe
You know that sweet crumbly crunchy stuff you get on expensive muffins at a bakery? This is how to make it. You can put the streusel topping on any of the muffin variations. You can skip the topping if you don’t want to take the extra time to make it. All muffin variations are excellent with or without the topping.
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 Tablespoons firm margarine or butter
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
With a fork or pastry cutter mix all the ingredients until crumbly mixture forms. Sprinkle the crumbles on the muffin batter after it is scooped into the muffin pan.
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