Top of the Muffin to you!

Now that the heat is mostly passed and the mornings are a bit more crisp and cool, I'm back into baking mode!  I hope my midwest/northern stated friends and relatives understand this.  Yes, I know, 60 isn't crisp and cool to you.  It's summer.  Compared to our 115 degree summers...60 is downright cold.

Deal with it.

Anyway, I've played with a number of different muffin recipes to find the one that works perfect for me.  I no longer have 20 different recipes for different flavors.  I have one recipe and can add whatever I want to make it a "flavor".  What is so fun about going this route is that I can make a dozen muffins and even make them all different! 

This weekend, I made blueberry muffins.  Next week, it may be orange cranberry.  After that, imagination is the limit!


So, here's the basic recipe.  It's not only the base of all other muffins, but it's done with common items in your kitchen, so it's easy to whip them up almost anytime!

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Either place cupcake/muffin liners in the muffin tin or grease it up well so that your muffins won't stick.  Set to the side while you mix up your muffin batter.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Set to the side.  In a separate large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar.  As soon as they're creamy, beat in the egg and vanilla and mix well.   Add your flour mixture to the creamed mixture alternately with milk. 

(Add some flour mixture, add some milk, add some flour mixture, add some milk.  I know, it seems tedious, but it comes together beautifully this way!)

Fill each muffin liner 2/3 full.  Bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until golden.  (I normally start checking mine with a toothpick at about 18 minutes.  When the toothpick, inserted in the middle, comes out clean...they are done!)  Cool for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Serve warm.  Makes 1 dozen muffins.

Now comes the fun part!  What kind of muffins to make?  Here's the general guidelines and some ideas of what I use.  Just gently fold in these ingredients at the very end.

  • Fresh Blueberries - 1 cup
  • Frozen Blueberries - 1 1/2 cups (Keep frozen so that they don't stain the batter when folding them in.)
  • Orange or Lemon Extract - 1 Tablespoons or 2 Tablespoons Lemon or Orange zest
  • Cranberries - 1 1/2 cups (Orange Cranberry are a favorite around here!)
  • Strawberries - 1 Cup diced or sliced (again, keep frozen ones frozen!)
  • Maple Bacon - 2 Tablespoons of pure maple syrup and 1 1/2 cups of bacon (crumbled)
  • Banana - 2 bananas peeled and smashed.
  • Chocolate Chunk - 1/3 cup cocoa powder (sifted) and 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate (coursely chopped)  I add approximately 3 extra Tablespoons of milk to the Chocolate Chunk to keep it moist.
Now, how about some crumbles on top?  This is a super easy streusel topping that can be put on top of any of your muffins because, well, because everything is better with crumbles on top!

Streusel Crumble Topping

1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cold butter

Put all ingredients in a bowl and cut in the butter until crumbly.  Add to the top of your muffin batter before backing.  Pat down into the raw batter a bit so that it sticks better after baking.  Sometimes, I'll add a bit of nutmeg (1/4 teaspoon) to this, also.

 
So, enjoy your morning muffins and let me know if you try some amazing combination that I have to check out!  I just can't think of any better way to start the day than a delicious muffin and a great cup of coffee (or tea, or hot chocolate).  Mmmmmm