My Recipe Box

We're sorry...

This feature is a Flash-based application and currently only available on desktop.

For your tablet and phone cooking resources, check out our Mobile Apps

Bakery-Style Muffins Recipe: Create Your Own

Pair your favorite fruits, nuts, and flavorings with a master batter to create your own customized muffin recipe.

by Joanne Chang

from Fine Cooking
Issue 77

At my bakery, Flour, it took us more than two years to hit upon a blueberry muffin recipe that we're happy with: one that's tender and light but still sturdy enough to hold copious amounts of fresh fruit. But the endless tweaking was worth it, because this recipe has become our powerhouse. Not only does it make fabulous blueberry muffins, but it’s also adaptable enough to turn into apricot- almond muffins, pineapple-coconut muffins, and chocolate chip-raspberry muffins. Actually, the batter can take any number of flavor variations, so this one recipe is the base for all of our fruit muffins. This method shows you how to mix a master batter and then how to choose and fold in your choice of ingredients so that you can create your own favorite muffins.

Start the batter

Room temperature ingredients are key to this batter. It uses melted butter, and if the other wet ingredients are too cold, the butter will solidify and won’t blend in well. Also, thoroughly combining the wet ingredients together helps them mix evenly into the dry ingredients.
 
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil (or spray with cooking spray) the top of a standard 12-cup muffin tin (cups should be 2-3/4 inches across and about 1 inch deep) and line with paper or foil baking cups.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together 1 lb. (3-1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour, 4 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. baking soda, and 1/2 tsp. table salt; mix well.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together 1-1/3 cups granulated sugar, 5 oz. (10 Tbs.) melted and slightly cooled unsalted butter, 1 cup room temperature whole milk, 1 cup room temperature crème fraîche or sour cream, 2 large room temperature eggs, and 1 large room temperature egg yolk until well combined.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and fold gently with a rubber spatula just until the dry ingredients are mostly moistened (the batter will be lumpy)—there should still be quite a few streaks of dry flour.

Add your mix-ins

Add the fruit and other flavorings before the batter is fully mixed. This way, the wet ingredients, dry ingredients, and add-ins come together at the same time, so you avoid overmixing. This results in a more tender crumb—overmixing will make the muffins tough.

Sprinkle your choice of flavorings (see options below), 1-1/2 cups of mix-ins (see options below) and 3/4 cup of nuts (optional; see options below) onto the batter, and fold them in until just combined. (The batter will still be lumpy; don’t try to smooth it out.) Do not overmix.

Choose 1 or 2 flavorings

  • almond extract
    Almond extract: 1/2 tsp.
  • ground cinnamon
    Ground cinnamon: 3/4 tsp.
  • dried coconut
    Shredded or flaked sweetened dried coconut: 3/4 cup
  • crystallized ginger
    Finely chopped crystallized ginger: 1/3 cup
  • ground ginger
    Ground ginger: 3/4 tsp.
  • lemon zest
    Finely grated lemon zest: 2 tsp.
  • orange zest
    Finely grated orange zest: 2 tsp.
  • vanilla extract
    Vanilla extract: 1 tsp.

Choose 1 or 2 mix-ins, for 1-1/2 cups total

  • apricots
    Fresh apricots, coarsely chopped
  • bananas
    Bananas, thinly sliced
  • blueberries
    Blueberries, fresh or frozen (no need to thaw)
  • cranberries
    Cranberries, fresh or frozen (no need to thaw), coarsely chopped
  • apples
    Tart baking apples, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • peaches
    Peaches, coarsely chopped
  • pears
    Pears, coarsely chopped (no need to peel)
  • pineapple
    Pineapple, fresh (or canned, drained very well and patted dry), coarsely chopped
  • raspberries
    Raspberries, fresh or frozen (no need to thaw)
  • chocolate chips
    Chocolate chips

Choose one type of nuts (optional)

  • pecans
    Pecan pieces, toasted
  • almonds
    Sliced almonds, toasted
  • walnuts
    Walnut pieces, toasted
Bake the muffins.

The batter should mound higher than the rims of the cups by about 3/4 inch; this makes the batter bake up into those great big bakery-style muffin tops. The tops might meld together while baking, but that’s okay—once they’ve cooled, just cut them apart with a table knife.

Use an ice cream scoop if you have one with a “sweeper” in it; otherwise, use two spoons to spoon the batter into the muffin cups, distributing all of the batter evenly. The batter should mound higher than the rim of the cups by about 3/4 inch. Bake until the muffins are golden brown and spring back lightly when you press the middle, 30 to 35 minutes. (The muffin tops will probably meld together.) Let the tin cool on a rack for 15 to 20 minutes.

Make the glaze

A simple glaze adds sweetness and flavor, plus it helps keep the muffins moist. Glaze the muffins while they’re still slightly warm, which makes the glaze spread easier. Just don’t glaze the muffins while they’re still hot, or the glaze will melt right off.

Put 12-1/2 oz. (3 cups) confectioners’ sugar in a small mixing bowl. Add one glaze flavoring (see options below) OR 6 Tbs. water (for plain glaze), and whisk until smooth. The glaze should be thin enough that it will drip off of a spoon; if it’s more like a spreadable icing, thin it with water or the appropriate liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Choose a glaze flavoring (optional)

  • maple syrup
    Pure maple syrup: 1 cup
  • lemon juice
    Fresh lemon juice: 6 Tbs.
  • oranges
    Fresh orange juice: 6 Tbs.
  • pineapple
    Pineapple juice: 6 Tbs.
  • ground cinnamon
    Cinnamon: 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon plus 6 Tbs. water
  • ground ginger
    Ginger: 1/4 tsp. ground ginger plus 6 Tbs. water
Glaze the muffins

When the muffins have cooled down but are still slightly warm, use a table knife to separate the tops, and then invert the pan and pop out the muffins. Put the muffins on a rack over foil to catch any glaze that drips off. Dab the glaze on the muffins with a pastry brush, or spoon the glaze on and let it drip over the sides. It should leave a smooth, somewhat translucent coating. You may not need all of the glaze. Wait 20 to 30 minutes for the glaze to set; it won’t dry completely.

The muffins are best served on the day they’re made. If keeping longer, store in an airtight container.


Other Recipe Makers