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Baking the perfect muffin

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You don't need to know the muffin man to enjoy fabulous muffins! Muffins are quick and easy to make and can be enjoyed any time of day — with meals or on their own. Here’s how to make the perfect muffin every time:

Preparing muffin pans

  • Grease muffin cups or use muffin cup liners.
  • To create those perfectly rounded muffin tops you see in bakeries, grease only the bottoms and halfway up the sides of the muffin cup.
  • Do not grease any muffin cup that will not be used. The grease will burn onto the pan. Instead, fill empty cups with 2 to 3 tablespoons of water to keep the pan from warping.

Preparing the batter

  • Start with ingredients at room temperature.
  • To make fluffier muffins, substitute buttermilk or yogurt for the milk in the recipe and add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to the dry ingredients for each cup of buttermilk or yogurt used.
  • Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl using a whisk and then make a well in the center using the back of a wooden spoon. Whisk the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl, pour into the well of the dry ingredients and gently mix together.
  • Do not overmix the batter; overmixing produces a tough texture. To combine the wet and dry ingredients, use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon and gently stir just until the dry ingredients are moist. Do not try to smooth out the batter; it should have some lumps.
  • For uniform muffins, use a measuring cup or ice-cream scoop to fill the muffin cups.
  • Do not fill muffin cups more than three-quarters full.

Ways to add extra nutrition

  • Add dried or fresh fruit or heart-healthy nuts after mixing the wet and dry ingredients. Just give the batter one more gentle stir after the addition.
  • Replace half the regular flour with whole-wheat pastry flour.

Baking

  • Muffins are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Set muffin pan on wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes before removing muffins from cups.
  • To remove warm muffins from the pan, run a dinner knife around the edges, then under the bottom and tilt it out of the pan.

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