Thursday, May 20, 2010
Do You Know The Muffin Man?
Yeah, me either. Look, muffins aren't hard--unless, I guess, you don't have a muffin pan; in which case, you now know how to make a coffee cake. Sometimes it is nice to be able to shake up breakfast with something that didn't come out of a box, especially on the weekends (which is also about the time I generally realize that I forgot to pick up milk for cereal anyways).
I give you the "PDQ muffin recipe" from the King Arthur Flour Co. This won't make you EVERY kind of muffin imaginable but it will come pretty close. I use this one for berry muffins and dried fruit muffins.
2 cups AP flour plus 2 tbs flour to toss your berries or fruit in
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs baking powder
1 1/2 cups fresh berries or dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, chopped apricots)
1 cup sour cream, buttermilk, yogurt, soured milk (anything that has some acid to react with the baking powder, essentially)
1/4 cup melted butter
* optional-zest of one lemon, lime or orange
Tossing the berries in flour keeps them suspended in the muffin, instead of stuck at the bottom--it provides a kind of friction within the batter.
Get your oven preheated to a rip-roaring 400, Mable. Hot and fast makes a better muffin.
Prepare your pans by spraying them. If you are using papers, lightly spray them too.
Before you start mixing these babies together, you should also decide if you want to top them with anything. You want to decide that FIRST because once a muffin is mixed up, it needs to hit the oven fast. So, see if you have a little white sanding sugar or raw sugar. Or mix up a bit of strussel topping--softened butter, sugar, flour and oatmeal all mashed together with your fingers. Don't worry so much about measurements here because if you make too much, you just put the rest in an airtight container and put in the fridge for the next batch.
Ok, in the mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, salt, zest if you are using, and baking powder. To this, add in the milk (buttermilk, sourcream, whatever you are using). Next goes the melted butter and eggs. Mix until just blended in, then fold in the fruit. Don't over mix your muffins--I can't say this enough, really. The more you mix, the "tougher" your muffins get and less likely they are to properly peak up in the oven (yeah, all technical terms here, you betcha).
With a scoop, drop in enough batter to fill the pan 3/4 of the way, then sprinkle on your topping. Pop the pan into the oven for 15-20 minutes. Sometimes, fresh fruit muffins will take a little longer to bake but basically, you want them golden brown and a toothpick or skinny knife should come out with out any batter on it.
That's all there is to it.This recipe makes 12 "regular" sized muffins or 8 large muffins. IF you weren't kidding about not having a muffin pan, pour all the batter into a tube, bundt or 9x9 pan and bake up for a yummy coffee cake.