~ A Plain, All-Purpose, No-Nonsense Muffin Recipe ~
Who bakes plain muffins and why? I do and here's why. I enjoy a lot of treats unembellished -- doughnuts, cake doughnuts, cream cakes, crumb cakes and coffeecakes to name a few. Heck, I even like plain cheesecake. That said, for those who prefer their muffins chocked-full of goodies (fresh or dried fruits, berries, nuts, chocolate- peanut butter- or cinnamon-chips and/or toffee bits), having a basic muffin batter recipe in your back pocket takes the guess and stress out of making all sorts of muffins exactly the way your family, friends and you like them -- simply by adding a cup or two of this or that and a pinch of spice and other things nice.
Similar to the low-key and friendly "welcome to my kitchen" ambiance of any of the aforementioned unembellished treats, a plain muffin is my own, personal, morning-comfort-food. I can't wait to open one up, use my fingers to pull it apart, eat it slowly, one lip-licking nibble at a time. Afterward, I can feel good about having eaten this small, sweet indulgence for the entire day. From start to finish, I can make ten simply-delicious, nothin'-muffins in 30 minutes or less.
From start-to-finish, 30-minutes or less, I promise:
4 tablespoons salted butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
For the dry ingredients:
2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
no-stick cooking spray, for preparing muffin cups
~ Step 1. Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly-spray the cups in standard-sized muffin tins (enough for 12 muffins) with no-stick spray and set aside. In a small bowl stir together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. Note: If you are using unsalted butter, increase the amount of salt to 1/2 teaspoon.
In a 1-cup measuring container, stir the milk and vanilla together. Set aside. In a medium bowl, melt the butter in the microwave and set aside to cool a bit, 1-5 minutes. Ready, set, go:
~Step 2. Add the sugar and the egg to the bowl of melted butter. Using an old-fashioned hand-crank mixer, combine until thick and smooth, about 30-45 seconds. Add the milk and blend again, until milk is thoroughly incorporated. Remove the mixer and add all of the dry ingredients. Using a large rubber spatula, incorporate dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Don't over mix. Batter will be slightly-lumping looking.
~ Step 4. Bake muffins, all at once, on center rack of preheated 350° oven, until puffed up, golden, and, a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 14-16 minutes.
~ Step 5. Remove from oven to cool, in pans, on a wire rack for 2-3 minutes, just long enough for them to shrink from sides of cups. Use a sharp paring knife to carefully and gently remove muffins from tins to cool on rack completely about 1 hour.
I just adore a simply-splendid nothin'-muffin in the mornin':
Special Equipment List: 1-cup measuring container; old-fashioned hand-crank mixer; large rubber spatula; 2 1/2" ice-cream scoop; standard-size muffin tins, enough for 10 muffins; 2 1/2" ice-cream scoop; cake tester or toothpick; wire cooling rack; sharp paring knife
Cook's Note: Feel free to add any combination of "your favorite things" to this muffin mixture -- chocolate chips and chopped, lightly-toasted walnuts are pictured here. That said, limit the grand total of all add-ins together to 1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cups. The new yield will be 12 muffins.
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2017)