Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Muffins. Yum.

I'm making muffins after work tomorrow. They're extremely yummy, and it's the best muffin recipe I've ever found. I recently rediscovered it, and I'm looking forward to trying it again. They're just the right blend of solid and fluffy, and it's a quick, easy recipe to make. And, I now have a muffin-top pan that I'm dying to try. I might divide the batter evenly between the muffin-top pan and my mini-muffin pan to capture the full muffin spectrum. Here's the recipe. Give it a try if you get the chance.

Chocolate Chip Muffins
10 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 cup minus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups plain lowfat or nonfat yogurt
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°. Blend flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing between. Beat in half of dry ingredients. Beat in 1/2 cup of yogurt, then beat in half of remaining flour, then another 1/2 cup of yogurt, then the rest of the dry ingredients, then the rest of the yogurt. Fold in 1 cup of chocolate chips.

Grease a 12-cup muffin pan, then divide batter evenly between muffin cups. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until tops begin to brown around the edges and a toothpick comes out clean.

A few variations:

  • For Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins, substitute 1/3 cup of Dutch-process cocoa for 1/3 cup of the flour.
  • For Cinnamon Chip Muffins, substitute cinnamon chips for chocolate chips, and add 1 tsp ground cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg to the flour mixture.
  • For Lemon Blueberry Muffins, add 1 tsp grated lemon zest to butter/sugar mixture (before adding eggs), omit chocolate chips, and add 1 1/2 cups blueberries to finished batter. It helps to toss the blueberries with 1 tbsp flour before adding them to the batter. Also, frozen blueberries bake fine and are easier to work with.
  • For Banana Walnut Muffins, omit chocolate chips, add 1/2 tsp nutmeg to the flour mixture, substitute 1 cup packed brown sugar for granulated sugar, and fold 1 1/2 cups finely diced bananas (or, about 3 small or 2 medium bananas) and 3/4 cups chopped walnuts into batter.

And, some notes:

  • My usual substitution of butter-flavored Crisco in baked goods didn't work out so well here. Actual butter, not light butter, seems to work best. And, I use cooking spray to grease the muffin pan; I am lazy, and it works fine.
  • Fight the urge to use paper muffin cups. Cleanup is easier, but the muffins turn out better and look much nicer. You'll be glad you took the extra time to clean.
  • That being said, why do so many muffin pans have a little ridge around the top of the muffin cup? It makes the muffins harder to get out, and it's difficult to clean.
  • I make this in our KitchenAid stand mixer. This recipe is much easier with a KitchenAid than with a hand-held electric mixer. And did I mention all of the lazy?
  • The complex step wherein you alternate adding dry ingredients and yogurt seems silly, but it's really not. You can experiment, but I already did and this works best. If you add the dry ingredients all at once, then the yogurt, you have to do too much mixing to work the flour in. This keeps the muffins from rising as much as they should. And if you add the yogurt all at once, then the flour, the dough comes out a bit stickier and the muffins turn out flatter and harder than normal. I think the yogurt dissolves the sugar.

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