Monday, November 12, 2012

Muffin Mania

What's the point of blogging if you don't overshare every once in a while. When I split up with my husband, I found myself with no outlet for my unhealthy and overwhelming urge to nurture. The obvious solution was something that came to be known as Mini Muffin Mania! For a few weeks, my coworkers were inundated with nearly daily muffin deliveries. When I became unexpectedly unemployed, muffins seemed like the perfect outlet for my neurotic energy. Starting with a basic blueberry muffin recipe from my trusty Betty Crocker Cookbook and the internet, Muffin Mania is back with a vengeance.

Muffin Basics

I played around with a bunch of muffin recipes and finally hit on a basic recipe that I can use as a base for whatever flavor combinations I come up with.  But no matter what recipe you use, the basic process is the same. Mix the wet ingredients in one bowl and the dry ones in another. The additional ingredients get added to one of the mixtures, depending on whether they are wet or dry.
Wet Ingredients
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup sugar
  1. In a small bowl, whisk the egg and sugar together
  2. Add the vanilla, milk, and oil to the egg and sugar mixture and whisk well to make sure the sugar is dissolved
Dry Ingredients
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  1. Put everything together in a larger bowl and whisk it together

  • ½ cup tasty stuff
  1. If the add-ins are wet (like shredded apple or zucchini) mix them to the wet ingredients
  2. If they are really wet (like shredded apples) reduce the milk to ½ cup
  3. If the add-ins are dry or self-contained (like frozen blueberries or chocolate chips), mix them into the dry ingredients
  4. Coating them in the flour mixture will help keep them from sinking to the bottom of the muffins as they bake
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°
  2. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet stuff
  3. Mix the batter gently just until the dry ingredients are moistened
  4. Don't overmix the batter! That will make your muffins dense and tough
  5. Grease a muffin tin (I use non-stick spray) and divide the batter between the muffin cups
  6. Bake the muffins:
  7. For regular-sized muffins, bake 20-25 minutes
  8. For mini muffins, bake for 15-20 minutes
  9. For Texas-sized muffins, bake for 25-30 minutes

Apple Carrot Muffins

Notes: You can sprinkle the tops of these muffins with cinnamon sugar before baking for even more cinnamony goodness.

  • 1 medium apple, peeled and grated
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°
  2. In a small bowl, beat the egg and mix in the milk, oil, sugar, vanilla until the sugar dissolves. Add the shredded carrot and apple to the liquid mixture.
  3. In a larger bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
  4. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the liquid ingredients. Stir together just until everything is wet. Don't overmix it, the batter should be lumpy.
  5. Divide the batter evenly into a greased muffin pan.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Caramel Apple Donut Muffins

These muffins are insanely delicious. Be careful not to burn your fingers dredging the hot muffins in the butter and cinnamon sugar. I found that dipping them in the butter then dropping them into a large bowl with the cinnamon sugar and swirling them around go the most even coating.  

Muffin Batter
  • 1 ¾ cup flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup oil
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup milk

Apple Filling
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 large apple
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

Cinnamon Sugar Topping
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°

First, get the filling going:
  1. Melt the butter on medium heat
  2. Cube the apple and add to the butter once it gets foamy
  3. Sprinkle the sugar and the cinnamon over the apples and stir until everything is well mixed
  4. Cut back the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes

While the apples are cooking, put the batter together:
  1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon
  2. In a separate, large bowl, combine oil, sugar, egg and milk
  3. Add dry ingredients and stir only to combine

Now put it all together:
  1. Coat your muffin pan well with nonstick cooking spray
  2. Fill each muffin cup about a third of the way
  3. Add apples to the middle of the batter, making sure there's room around the edges
  4. Spoon batter into each muffin cup so it completely covers the apples
  5. Don't worry about making it cover completely, the batter will spread out as it bakes but try and cover as much of the apple as you can
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes
  7. Run a knife around the sides of the muffin and shake them out of the pan while still hot

Now the part that really makes them irresistible:
  1. Melt the butter in a bowl
  2. Mix the sugar with the cinnamon in another bowl
  3. Dip muffins in butter, then into the cinnamon sugar
  4. Let cool as long as you can resist them. 

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