I’ve been making a lot of muffins lately. Largely in part because of my newfound obsession with making bento boxes for myself and J. They are a surprisingly exciting way to lower the cost of daily lunches while exercising portion control (all those with weight-loss/financial New Year resolutions). Muffins freeze extremely well and thaw effortlessly. They also come in a myriad of combinations ranging from dessert to savoury and when made at home are invariably lower in sugar and fat than the ones at your favourite coffeehouse chain.
But how do you make a perfect muffin? The short answer to this is don’t overthink them. Muffin-making really is supposed to be foolproof. If you are finding that your muffins are too heavy, leathery, or dry, it normally comes from some of the following common errors. Once those are eliminated I’m sure you’ll be -this- close to wanting to open your own Kaffee Klatch 🙂
1. Make sure that your ingredients are all at room temperature before you begin
2. Sift your dry ingredients
3. If the recipe calls for baking powder (most do), make sure it is still active. You can do this by dropping some vinegar on a test teaspoon. If it fizzles it’s still fresh 🙂
4. Combine your wet ingredients in a separate bowl from your dry ingredients (not including any ‘chunks’ e.g. chips, dried fruits or nuts). When combining the wet and dry ingredients, create a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the well, along with any chunks you may be using.
5. Combine quickly until all the dry ingredients are moistened. The mixture should still be largely lumpy.
1. Dont put the batter into a cold oven. Preheat!
2. Don’t overmix or try to smooth out lumps, you will end up with a leathery dough and/or large airholes
3. Don’t overfill the muffin tins. If you’re using a 12-cup tray fill each cup no more than 2/3
4. If you have empty cups don’t leave them empty as the muffins are more likely to burn/dry out. Fill any empty ones with water.
5. Don’t make muffin removal/cleanup any more of a hassle than it needs to be. Cupcake liners/silicone pans are lifesavers!
Ready to put these tips to the test? Here are some ideas to get you going!
TOP 3 MUFFIN RECIPES ON TRINIGOURMET.COM
1. Cinnamon-Apple Streusel Muffins (recipe)
These muffins are light, airy, and delicately sweet from the natural sugars of the apple chunks studded throughout. The light streusel topping is equally subtle and far from overpowering.
This recipe is one of many to be found in mom’s homemade scrapbooks. Light and moist, it is not a sweet muffin. The only sweetness comes from the raisins and carrots, so it is quite healthy in that respect.
3. “Almond-Peach Muffins (recipe)
Light, moist, and not too sweet they make an effortlessly glam complement to an afternoon tea 🙂