Muffins provide either a breakfast or snack option that takes only a short time to make. These single-serving quick breads require no yeast, instead depending on baking powder or soda to rise and provide texture. Properly baked muffins are moist, yet firm, so they don’t crumble and fall apart.
Overmixing ruins the texture of muffins and may also prevent them from rising properly. Mix the dry and wet ingredients separately. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, mixing them just enough so that everything is moistened but not creamed together. If you are using heavy ingredients, such as cooked oatmeal, beat the ingredients in an electric mixer or blender before adding the dry ingredients. This whips air into the heavier ingredients so that the muffins don’t turn out heavy or tough.
Nearly anything can be added to a muffin, including sweet and savory items. Add canned fruits or shredded zucchini to the wet ingredients. Fold in dry or semi-dry ingredients after the wet and dry ingredients are mixed together. Fresh or frozen berries, bacon, dried fruits and chocolate chips are a few dry ingredients that work well in muffins. There’s no need to thaw frozen fruits before adding them to the muffin batter.
Bake muffins in well-greased muffin tins or paper liners; otherwise the muffins stick to the pan and are almost impossible to remove in one piece. Fill the muffin-tin cups no more than two-thirds full with batter, otherwise the cups overflow during the cooking process. If you don’t have enough batter to fill all the cups, fill the empty cups one-third full with water. This prevents the pan from scorching or buckling in the oven and also ensures that the muffins cook evenly. Leave the middle cups empty when you don’t have enough batter to fill the tin, and only fill the outer cups. Distributing the batter around the edges of a partially filled pan helps the pan heat evenly so that the muffins all cook at the same rate.
Once cooled, store your baked muffins in an airtight container. Keep them at room temperature for up to three days or store them in the fridge for a week. Savory muffins that include meat products should only be stored in the fridge. Muffins also freeze well if wrapped in plastic freezer wrap. Store them in the freezer for up to three months. Thaw the muffins at room temperature before serving, or reheat them in the microwave at 30-second intervals until they are as warm as desired.
References and ResourcesSouthern Utah University: Quick Breads
"The Complete Tightwad Gazette"; Amy Dacyzyn; 1998