Thursday, July 14, 2005

Queen of Muffins

I am the queen of muffins and breads. There's a secret to awesome muffins, did you know that? The secret is not to mix the ingredients any longer than to barely moisten. Uh huh. Otherwise the gluten has a chance to do its thing and the muffins get rubbery. I've experimented with making muffins like those you get in the restaurants. I have several great recipes, but you can use one simple basic recipe and work from there.

I was blown away when the silicone pans came out--bought one for bundt and a couple others. They rock. Do use vegetable spray on those and on non-stick pans, and make sure you get the top of the pan so that the batter oozing over doesn't stick. I like them full so they have a cap on top. Don't use paper liners! You loose those scrumptious crusty sides.

Important: Preheat oven to 400.

Sift all your dry ingredients. I learned that from my aunt who has always made the best cookies in the world. Presifted flour or no, sift it all together to add air. You'll notice the difference, guaranteed.

Whisk the wet ingredients, then quickly add the dry, and stir with a spatula only to moisten evenly. Any lumps will bake out.

I keep a shaker of cinnamon and sugar handy. I always sprinkle the tops, but you can also sprinkle the tin after you've sprayed it and before you pour in the batter.

Spray your spoon or measuring cup, so that the batter slides right off.

How many muffins you get from this recipe depends on the size--regular, you'd get 12--big ones like the bakery, you'll get 8.

Sift dry ingredients:
2 cups flour
3/4 c sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Liquid ingredients:
1/2 c virgin olive oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 c milk
2 large eggs

Fold in additional ingredients quickly, spoon into tins and bake 20 minutes until golden. Let cool 15 minutes. Allow silicone pans to cool completely before turning out muffins.

Here are my favorites additives:
* 2 mashed bananas, walnuts and cinnamon

* all the above plus craisins and chocolate chips

* mandarin oranges, orange juice instead of milk, orange peel, and sprinkle lemonade mix on top

* cranberries and walnuts - I keep cranberries in the freezer, then quickly cook a cup at a time in the microwave.

I often have so many muffins and small loaves of bread in the freezer that I take a basket to church on Sunday morning. My pumpkin bread recipe is to die for. I'll share that later. I use my grandma's banana bread recipe, and it's a hit as well.

Let me know if you make some yummy muffins!
Posted by Cheryl St.John Jul 14, 2005 3:51 pm

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