Let's play a little guessing game...You usually see them (or smell them) as soon as you step into a coffee house, cafe, bakery...or my house. They are flavorful, hearty and come in a variety of different flavors. They tend to have a crisp top with a piping hot inside that is light and fluffy. They are so tasty that even Seinfeld had a show about their "tops." Give up yet? I'm talking about muffins, of course!
If you love to eat muffins like I do, buying them from the grocery store, coffee house, bakery or cafe just isn't quite the same as baking them from scratch at home. Whether you use premixes or create the dough from scratch, muffins are so simple to bake in the comfort of your own home.
In order to get the perfect muffins each and every time, there are a few easy steps to follow, as well as tips that should never be over looked, in order to have delicious, picture-perfect muffins.
- Preheating: Always place the muffin tins in a preheated oven. Preheating the oven will make the batter less dense and the heat will make the batter puff up to have a nice dome top. The oven temperature must be correctly set to ensure that the muffins are baked evenly from top to bottom.
- Measuring: All of the ingredients need to be measured carefully and leveled off with a knife.
- Mixing: Muffin batter should never be over mixed. Usually the wet ingredients are combined with the dry ingredients during the last step of preparation. The mixtures are mixed just until they are combined. In terms of the clumps and lumps? Leave them!
- Adding: If you plan on adding fruit or nuts into the batter, dust them with flour first so that they do not sink while baking.
- Folding: As soon as the batter is combined, lightly fold in your extra flavor ingredients (i.e. blueberries, chocolate chips, walnuts, etc.). The folding will allow more air into the batter and it will also evenly distribute the extra goodies.
- Pouring: It is always best to grease the muffins tins before pouring the batter. If you prefer to use muffin cups, then spraying is not necessary. Simply pour the batter into the cups 3/4 of the way full for great-looking muffin tops.
- Watching: Muffins are very sensitive and will sink if you keep pulling them out of the oven to test for doneness. Simply look through the oven door and watch for the muffins to turn a nice golden brown on the top. Once the tops are golden brown, remove the muffin tin from the oven and use the toothpick test to make sure that they are cooked all the way through.
- Cooling: It is very important to allow the muffins to rest in the muffin tins for approximately 5 minutes once they are removed from the oven. If they do not rest, it might prove difficult to remove them from the muffin tins. After resting in the muffin tins, remove the muffins and place them on a wire rack to cool slightly and serve warm.