Muffins, Muffins, and Muffins

I love breakfast food, just not at the traditional breakfast hour. Something in me simply can’t handle eggs and salty meat and syrupy pancakes early in the day. (Unless Joe takes me out to IHOP; then I find I can handle the waffle pretty well. With a side of fried ham. Maybe it’s just cooking that early in the day that I don’t like.)

Muffins are different, though. You can make them ahead of time, or just make the batter ahead of time and get them hot and fresh with no work in the morning. They’re sweet, but not too sweet. Filling, but not too heavy. Perfect with a cup of coffee, which is the only thing I really want in the morning.

BERRY SPECIAL MUFFINS

From my Mom’s recipe book, which says the recipe originally came from the Domino Sugar Package. I’ll be making these this week with frozen blackberries from the summer batch.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup vanilla or lemon yogurt
1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup berries
Crumb Topping (see below)

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In bowl, combine yogurt, milk, brown sugar, oil, and egg. In separate bowl, stir together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; fold in berries. Combine two mixtures, stirring only until dry ingredients are moistened. Spoon into well-greased or paper-lined muffin cups. Top with Crumb Topping. Bake 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from pan to cool.

Crumb Topping: Stir together 1/2 cup flour, 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar, dash cinnamon and 2 teaspoons softened butter until crumbly.

For cranberry muffins, increase sugar to 1/2 cup.

BLUEBERRY MUFFINS

Also from my Mom’s recipe book, attributed to The Mississippi Cookbook, 1972 edition.

Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 – 1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 cup fresh blueberries, or 3/4 cup drained canned or frozen blueberries

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease bottom of muffin pans.
Sift flour and baking powder. Add sugar. Mix and set aside. Beat egg. Stir in milk, oil, and lemon juice. Stir briefly into pre-sifted dry ingredients. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake 20 to 25 minutes.

Variation: Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 teaspoons salt.

MUFFIN BAKING TIPS:

  • Put your cold ingredients out and let them warm up to room temperature before mixing.
  • Don’t over mix. When you get to the step of adding dry ingredients to wet ingredients, stir just enough to mix the two groups together. It’s okay if things are a little lumpy.
  • Grease your muffin pans thoroughly, including a ring around the top of each muffin cup so that the puffed-up muffin top won’t stick and tear off.
  • Foil muffin cups hold up better – and peel off easier – than paper muffin cups.
  • Make your morning easier by doing everything but baking the muffins the night before. Make the batter, grease the pan, put the batter in the pan. Then wrap the muffin pan in plastic wrap and refrigerate. All you have to do in the morning is preheat the oven, remove the plastic wrap, and put those muffins in. Oh, and set the timer.
  • Be sure you let your butter soften to room temperature, if you want to have some to spread on the muffins, which are soft and fall to pieces when assaulted by insensitive butter cubes.