More from your muffin

Just before the microwave started blaring, I grabbed the door handle and yanked. I could see the steam already beginning to fog up the window as the chocolate and sugar melted together, sliding down the crisp exterior of my recently discovered, dining hall favorite.

Before digging in (and possibly just as a way to stall and prevent any severe burns), I took a deep inhale, brining in the rich smell, practically tasting the moist deliciousness on my tongue despite the fact that the beauty still remained neatly wrapped.

Just to be clear, I have recently become muffin obsessed.

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My first batch of plain homemade muffins.

Muffins were not a substantial part of my childhood. The only two associations I have with muffins prior to this year involve one enormous chocolate, chocolate chip muffin that I devoured over the course of an entire day at summer camp when I was maybe 12, and the second is the fear of failing a drug test that seized me every time I ate one of my best friend’s mom’s lemon poppy seed muffins. For the record, I was between 8 and 10 every time I had one of these muffins and probably couldn’t tell you what a drug test entailed. All I knew was if I had one, I would fail it.

But about six months ago, as fall semester finals were fast approaching, I rediscovered the magic of the muffin.

It is the perfect combination of savory and sweet, as a bread based dessert often containing fruit or chocolate. A muffin is perfect for studying because you (well at least I) don’t feel bad nibbling on it for hours as I slog my way through chapter after chapter of material. Cookies, although extremely delicious, are very difficult for me to eat only part of. They just plain look sad when you break them in half.

Muffins are also acceptable any time of day. In terms of versatility, this gives them an enormous edge over say…the cookie. I just can’t do cookies before 11 a.m. That’s several hours of wakefulness where their existence is useless to me, while a muffin would be more than welcome.

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The batter just poured for the first attempt at chocolate chip muffins.

As this past fall semester reached a close, I went into a four week muffin deprivation, which, upon arrival back at college was quickly rectified with my first breakfast trip to the dining hall where I pocketed a chocolate, chocolate chip muffin for my mid-morning snack.

Last week I completed the most hectic, jam-packed semester of my college career (yay junior year) and moved completely back home for the first time in two years.

I was excited to see my high school friends again, terrified of reverting back into my 18-year old self, desperate to sleep form more than four hours a night…and more than a little depressed at the thought of no more muffins for four whole months.

But, why?

I study nutrition. I take cooking classes. I love to bake. I want to create my own recipes. I want to start up my food blog again.

Five good reasons why there should be no depression about lack of muffins.

And so, after comparisons of several recipes, several batches, rounds of taste tests (many thanks to my parents and brothers) and a few too many muffins I have developed my favorite basic muffin recipe.

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The first four batches I made. Per 6 muffins, plain contained 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1/2 cup of 1% milk, 2 tablespoons melted butter and 1 very large egg. The other three were all modified in one way from the plain recipe: sugar sprinkled on top, brown instead of white sugar and vegetable oil instead of butter.

Plain and simple, the recipe is below.

Servings: 6 small muffins

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  2. 2 tablespoons of white sugar
  3. 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  4. 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
  5. 1/2 cup of 1% milk
  6. 2 tablespoons of melted butter
  7. 1 large egg
  8. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  9. brown sugar to sprinkle on top (or substitute with favorite topping such as chocolate chips or blueberries)

Directions:

  1. set the oven to 400F
  2. sift together the flour, sugar and baking soda
  3. whisk together the milk, melted butter, egg and vanilla
  4. combine the dry and wet ingredients, whisk until smooth. Clumps in the batter will appear as clumps in the muffin (and nobody likes to find a pocket full of baking soda in their muffin), so be especially careful with this step
  5. spray the tray thouroughly with nonstick cooking spray/oil
  6. pour the batter into 6 small muffin compartments in a tray, filling each 2/3 to 7/8 of the way full depending on how much of a top you want
  7. sprinkle with brown sugar and/or favorite topping
  8. bake for about 18 minutes (tops should be beginning to turn a golden brown)
  9. remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before carefully removing muffins by running a knife around the edge

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For ways to spice up these muffins and more intricate recipes check out allrecipes.com, food.com, my snap story (follow jboewerth) over the next couple weeks and check back here for more updates on experimentation.

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