Saturday, March 26, 2011

Muffin Basics - Guest Post

Muffin Basics
by Jill Cooper
http://www.LivingOnADime.com

Muffins are very easy to make. Mix the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and hand stir lightly. Usually, you only need to stir them about 12-15 times. The batter will be very lumpy but that is the way it should be. Muffins are one thing you don't want to over-mix. Pour them into greased muffin cups about 2/3 full. If you don't have enough batter to fill all of the cups in the pan, you can fill the empty ones with water if you like. I do this sometimes but not always.
  • If you are adding nuts or fruit, mix them in with the dry ingredients before you add the liquids. This prevents them from all falling to the bottom of the muffin.
  • Your muffins should come out with rounded tops and a light fluffy texture. If they don't, there could be a couple of things you are doing wrong:
    • Flat heavy muffins with tunnels may mean your oven temperature is too low.
    • If the muffin has a lopsided or misshapen peak, the oven temperature could be too high.
    • Knobs and peaks on top and long tunnels can also be caused by over-mixing.

Here is a basic muffin mix recipe from Dining on A Dime:
Basic Muffins
2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
Mix ingredients together. Spoon into greased muffin cups, 2/3 full. Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes. Makes about 12-15 muffins.

Add these ingredients to a basic muffin mix to liven up your muffins:
  • Bacon or Ham - Reduce sugar to 2 Tbsp. and add 1/2 cup chopped bacon or ham
  • Blueberries - 1 cup
  • Cherries or cranberries - 2/3 cup of cherries or cranberries, mixed with 2 Tbsp. of sugar first
  • Dried fruit - 1/2 cup apricots, currants, peaches, figs, prunes, raisins or dates
  • Nuts - 1/3 cup chopped
  • Cheese - 1/2 cup grated cheese and 1/8 tsp. paprika
  • Cornmeal - 1 cup cornmeal and 1 cup flour
  • Whole wheat - 1 cup whole wheat flour and 1 cup flour. This is especially good with crumbled bacon.
    The sky is the limit with what you can add to a muffin if you only have a hand full of many different things. For example a little leftover corn would be good in a cornmeal muffin, a few chocolate chips would spruce up lots of different muffins, etc.
      -Jill

Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the authors of the Dining On A Dime Cookbook. Dining On A Dime will help you save money on groceries and get out of debt, by cooking quick and simple homemade meals. For free tips & recipes visit http://www.LivingOnADime.com

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