Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Big Beautiful Muffins

I've been looking for a good base muffin recipe that is easy to adapt to any flavor. And I finally found one, this one, in The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book. When I made these earlier this week, I made them into lemon poppy seed muffins that were so yummy that my 21-month old son kept getting more off the cooling rack for him and daddy to share. I will definitely be making these again as the lemon poppy seed, but also with other flavors!

Big Beautiful Muffins

3 cups (15 oz.) all purpose flour
1 cup (7 oz.) sugar
1 Tbl baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 cup whole or low-fat plain yogurt (I used nonfat)
2 large eggs
8 Tbl (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled (if you use salted, decrease the added salt to 1/4 tsp)
mix-ins, optional and as desired (See below for some ideas)

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 375 *F. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin. (The cookbook said that the muffins get fluffier tops and better coloring when baked with out muffin liners in a greased muffin tin.)
2. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt in a large bowl. In medium bowl, whisk the yogurt and eggs together until sooth. Gently fod the yogurt mixture into flour mixture with rubber spatula until just combined. Fold in melted butter.
3. Using a greased 1/3-cup measure, portion the batter into each muffin cup. (I was worried about how full the cups were, but they baked fine and were still easy to remove from the tin.) Bake until golden brown and toothpick inserted comes out with just a few crumbs attached, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating pan half-way through baking. (I cooked mine for 25 minutes, but I feel like they were a little over-baked. So next time I will check them at 20 minutes.)
4. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then flip out onto a wire rack, and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

***Batter can be made ahead of time and stored in either the fridge or the freezer. For the fridge, store it in a covered container up to 24 hours. For the freezer, portion the batter into the muffin tin and place tin in freezer to flash-freeze. Once frozen, remove from tin and store in a freezer container. To bake, return to muffin tin and let sit 30 minutes with preheating the oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

Variation Ideas

Mix 1 tsp grated lemon zest into yogurt mixture. Gently toss 1-1/2 cups fresh/frozen blueberries in 1 Tbl flour and gently fold into the finished batter.

Substitute an equal amount of brown sugar for the white sugar. Add 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg to the flour mixture. Fold 1-1/2 cups finely chopped banana and 1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts into finished batter.

Lemon-Poppy Seed
Mix 3 Tbl poppy seeds into flour mixture and 1 Tbl grated lemon zest into yogurt mixture. While muffins are baking, cook 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat until it turns into a light syrup, about 3 minutes. Brush syrup over warm baked muffins and serve.

Add 1 tsp orange zest to yogurt mixture. Fold in 1-1.2 cups coarsely chopped fresh or frozen cranberries and 3/4 cup toasted chopped walnuts into finished batter.

1 comment:

  1. I was curious to see how these muffins fared in other homes; I see your family loved them :) There's no kids in my house. I usually adore America's Test Kitchen, but personally found these muffins boring. I've made all of the 7 variations as well, most of them twice, but I thought that the muffins never rose above mediocre. I guess I think of a muffin as about the same nutritionally as cake, so it has to taste really good. I do like some of the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking muffins quite a lot; they just seem to have more interesting spices. And the Cook's Country Morning Glory Muffins recipe is great! Although I must say, all of the muffins were good with lots of butter ;)


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