January 4, 2009

Swistle's Favorite Muffin Recipe

Dr. Maureen asked me a few days ago for a muffin recipe, and I remembered about it this morning while I was making muffins. I have a flexible recipe I use for a couple different kinds of muffins. It comes from one of those fundraising cookbooks where many people contribute recipes, and the contributor of this recipe says it originally came from the Shedd's Spread Country Crock Classic Muffin Recipes Book, but I've messed with it some to make it work for several varieties. Here's the "base" recipe:


Dry:
3-1/3 cups flour (regular, not self-rising)
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-6 teaspoons spices (optional)
1-1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Wet:
4 eggs
2 cups mashed stuff
2 sticks (1 cup) margarine or butter, melted
extract (optional)
1 cup nuts (optional)
1/2 to 1 cup dried fruit (optional)


You'll need two big bowls. I mix the dry ingredients in the big plastic bowl we use for big batches of popcorn. I mix the wet ingredients in the largest glass mixing bowl from a set of three mixing bowls.

You'll also need two 12-cup muffin tins, lined with muffin papers or else greased (and maybe floured? I don't know, because I always use muffin papers in spite of Alton Brown's "We're not making CUPCAKES" stinging in my ears). I also use a mini-muffin pan for any extra batter, and then I put three mini muffins per small ziploc and put them in the freezer to use as lunchbox snacks.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mix the dry stuff in the dry bowl and the wet stuff in the wet bowl, and then add the wet bowl to the dry bowl. You can also do it the other way around, which makes clean-up easier because then only one bowl is covered in muffin batter, and the other just needs the dust rinsed out. But if you want to do it that way, switch your bowls: use the bigger bowl for wet ingredients and the smaller one for dry.

Fill the muffin cups about 3/4ths full (or use a disher---Paul gave me this one as a gift and it IMPROVED THE QUALITY OF MY LIFE). Distribute extra batter evenly among the cups, or use it to fill the mini-muffin cups about 3/4ths full. Bake for 20-25 minutes (in my oven, 23 minutes is perfect); if you have mini muffins to bake, put them in when there are 13 minutes left on the timer. It takes me about 10 minutes to do the dishes, so I put the muffins in, then wash up, then put in the mini muffins.


Now! Variations! The kids' favorite, and so the one I make most often is chocolate chip. I've used chocolate chips and chocolate chunks successfully, but my current favorite is to use mini chocolate chips: it fools my dim children dear children into thinking there's more chocolate than there is, and it means even the mini muffins have a nice distribution of chocolate. (I keep the bag out so I can sprinkle a few more into the batter if needed when scraping the bowl at the end.)

When I make chocolate chip muffins, I use mashed banana and/or canned pumpkin for the "2 cups mashed stuff." The smaller (1-pie, I think it's 15 ounces) can of pumpkin is close enough to 2 cups (it's a little skimpy, so if a kid abandons half a banana at breakfast you can add that in too), or you can scoop 2 cups out of the larger-sized can and freeze the rest in 1- or 1/2-cup baggies/containers (if you use thawed frozen pumpkin later, put it in the microwave with the butter/margarine you're melting, to improve the texture/stirability of the pumpkin). Two bananas are roughly 1 cup, so you can use 4 bananas, or you can use 2 bananas and 1 cup pumpkin, or you can use 1 banana and 1-1/2 cups pumpkin, or you get the idea. I base it on how the bananas are doing that day, because it's such a good way to use up browning bananas---but I prefer the pumpkin for nutrition.

Where was I? Oh, yes! So for Chocolate Chip muffins, I use banana and/or pumpkin. For spices I use 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, which keeps the non-chocolate muffin material from being too bland, but isn't enough cinnamon to make them assert a cinnamon flavor. I use 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, and I don't use any nuts or fruit.

Another favorite is Pumpkin Spice muffins. In that case I generally use all pumpkin, but it's still fine to use all/some banana. For spices I use 3 teaspoons cinnamon, 2 teaspoons ginger, 1 teaspoon cloves---or you can use 5-6 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice. For extract I use 2 teaspoons of lemon extract, which is kind of expensive so you could cut it down to 1 teaspoon, but don't cut the lemon out entirely (because it's so good for the flavor, not because it's literally essential); you could use grated lemon zest (the colored part of the peel) instead, if you have that more readily available. I like to use walnuts or pecans (but the kids hate nuts so I don't often get to make them this way), and I don't use any dried fruit but the original recipe suggests golden raisins, and I suppose those would be okay.

32 comments:

Cherish said...

This is the recipe I never knew I needed. All the varieties sound so yummy! I've already gone and gotten the over-ripe bananas out of the freezer so I can make some when they thaw :) Thanks!

Erin said...

I love you for this.

MzEll said...

Fuffins!!! That word is a part of my vocabulary now! Thanks Henry!!

I'm so glad to have your recipe...when the boys are well I'll be making some yummy fuffins...

Marie Green said...

Mmmmmmm, muffins. I go in muffin phases- and it's time to fire up a new phase!

My go-to recipe is the recipe on the grapenut box, but substituting all bran for the grapenuts. And adding chocolate chips.

Jane said...

Alton Brown is such a little bitch. I have nothing to say about the muffins because I don't bake or if I do I buy a BOX from the damn store. But I'm impressed with you, honey. xo

fairydogmother said...

Ooh, I just might have to make pumpkin chocolate chip muffins today!

Also, I'm still laughing at Jane's spot-on Alton Brown comment!

Julie said...

Putting the mini muffins in snack bags for a snack later on is a great idea! Thanks!

St said...

I'm shopping for a mixer and since you bake I wondered if you might have one to recommend? I've never had one but would like to do more baking.

Michelle said...

I love how you talk about baking the way I bake -- "if a child leaves behind a half eaten banana." I hate watste. and these sound SO good! The only concern for me is that we just went dairy free for Little Miss, so I'm still figuring out the substitutions. Yum - and I love the variations!

Swistle said...

St- I have the basic KitchenAid stand mixer. I've had it for about 16 years and I lurrrrrrrve it. When I worked in a bakery, they had the exact same mixer---but much MUCH larger!

Dr. Maureen said...

Ahhh. Thank you! Now if you could just come over to my house and watch me as I make them and tell me why my muffins are always flat or sticky or bland or whatever, because I think it is only half due to the recipe.

And now I have to go write something for the throngs of people you have sent my way. Assuming they click over. Which they may not.

Swistle said...

Dr. Maureen- It could be an OVEN problem. In one of my apartments, I replaced all my baking pans because I thought I was having a Cheap Baking Pan Problem, and then it turned out the oven was just Teh Suck so nothing was coming out right (cookies burned on the bottom, muffins weird and deflated-looking, plastic TV-dinner trays melting).

Dr. Maureen said...

It had better not be an oven problem because we bought it brand new two years ago. No, I think it is me. The blandness though has been the recipes I've been using.

Mama Bub said...

Great. Now I have no excuse not to back from a box. We're having chocolate chip muffins for breakfast tomorrow for sure.

Whimsy said...

I'm so excited to try this, especially for the pumpkin spice version!!! Thanks!

Ecchs said...

Hey Ms. Swis...is there a typo? Did you mean 2 tsp of Baking Powder, and 1/2 tsp. of baking soda? Or did you mean what you typed?

Swistle said...

Ecchs- I stand by it! Two teaspoons of baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder. I know! But I wonder if that's why these muffins come out so nice? I have another recipe I used to use a lot, and it calls for four teaspoons of baking powder and no baking soda---and those are really good the first day, but then get kind of dense and dry.

St said...

Thanks for the rec. it's so confusing! KitchenAid it is!

Kelsey said...

I'm getting a little stuck about the "mashed stuff" because Harper would eat it, but I really, really don't like banana, even in baked goods. I need to do/freeze a banana batch for her and then make some others we'll all eat.

About the pumpkin - how much do you taste it? I'm a little afraid of pumpkin. . .

Aren't you glad you don't have to make any fuffins for me?!

Swistle said...

Kelsey- I am not a fan of banana, either. Sometimes I deliberately make the chocolate-chip muffins with banana so I won't be tempted to eat them. I'd say I "don't taste" the pumpkin, but I'm SO ACCUSTOMED to the recipe, I can't tell if I taste it or not. But I once put a tablespoon of pumpkin in a smoothie and just about threw up from the taste, so I think the muffins must not have a strong pumpkiny flavor. Especially the spice ones, which taste like gingersnaps.

St said...

We made these today! The kids had a blast and they loved the muffins (about two parts banana, one part pumpkin +chocolate chips). Some of them stuck to the papers, any idea why?

Swistle said...

St- I've had them stick if I try to peel them when they're still hot. I carefully take a few out and let them cool a bit on a plate (like for 5 minutes?) and that makes them easier to peel. Did they still stick after they weren't hot?

Hotch Potchery said...

I can't even comprehend how one ever comes up with recipes....I need a course just on baking soda v baking powder.

Jenni said...

Oooh, I love me some muffins. Can't wait to try this one out.

Smiling Mama said...

I know this is totally off topic, but I just have to share that I found the Andes baking chips at my in-law's (well, their grocery store) over Christmas and bought some. Haven't tried your brownies yet BUT I put a little handful (maybe 1 TBSP) in my hot chocolate last night and they made it SO SO yummy and extra-indulgent!

St said...

No more sticking when cooled!

Dazy said...

These muffins are awfully mouth-watering! And would keep me busy in the kitchen, again. My cousins are going to visit our place next week. I think this would be just perfect for them.

Rolling Penguin said...

This recipe just rocked my world! I found the blog the usual way of clicking here to there and ended up here and boy am I glad. I like some of the others am not a big fan of banana baked goods but as I had two banana just past ripe and no pumpkin on hand I decided to try it and boy am I glad. These don't have the icky banana taste I dread. Thanks so much for sharing!

Doing my best said...

Is there some way that I'm just not smart enough to figure out to make these into blueberry muffins? I'm wondering if I could substitute the blueberries for some of the mashed stuff, but thinking that would mess with the consistency. Oh, maybe I would use the blueberries as some of the "dried fruit"? But then which mashed stuff would go well with blueberries? Hee, hee; my word verification is "nopee".

Swistle said...

Doing my best- Blueberry muffins are a consistent FAIL for me. I can't get them to come out right no matter what I try!

LadyT said...

This is such an old post it's embarassing; but when I discovered you earlier this year I read thru your archives and favorited this muffin recipe. I didnt have muffin pans so I figured once I got them I'd be back.....

Now here I am the week before Thanksgiving and I just bought my muffin pans yesterday with the idea of making cupcakes for dessert next week. I remembered your muffin recipe when I got home from the store.

I'm finally getting to my point ;)
I dont care for pumpkin or banana so I just made these using 1c sweet potato, 1c apple sauce. Added pecans and golden raisins. Used the lemon extract. Very good. Great for breakfast! I don't know how I've made it 3 years of marriage without doing muffins bc I dont 'do' breakfast and my husband 'does' leaving me perpetually feeling like a bad wife. He will now have breakfast for the next 7 days. And since we're trying to conceive I can imagine feeding our kids this weekly!

I already know which flavor I'm making next: cherry & white chocolate.

Just wanted you to know that this recipe is still helping people!

Thank you!

Swistle said...

LadyT- Cherry white chocolate?? YUM.