For the longest time none of the muffins I made ever looked like the ones sold by a baker or handed to me by the local barista at Starbucks. Mine were the Ugly Betty of baked goods. Growing up, as well, I didn’t live in a house of positive muffin role models; we used to buy the Quaker muffin mix where all that was needed was water, like sea monkeys, and voila….a runt, mini-me version of a muffin would emerge.
I’ve since come across a muffin recipe in the March 2006 issue of Fine Cooking that makes bountifully large, delicious muffins every time. I’ve included it below with a few minor tweaks of my own.
3 1/3 cups all purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
10 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and then cooled slightly
1 cup milk – let it sit on the counter for 30 minutes beforehand to warm up
1 cup creme fraiche – you can usually find this in small glass jars in the dairy section of the grocery store
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, with rack in the centre of the oven.
1. In a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
2. In another bowl, whisk together the sugar, butter, milk, creme fraiche, eggs and egg yolk until well mixed.
3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and fold gently with a rubber spatula just until the dry ingredients are mostly moistened. It’s okay if the batter looks lumpy. You’re doing it right if there a still a few remaining bits of dry flour. **Note: this step is what separates the real muffins from the runts. Make sure you don’t overmix the batter.
4. Add fruit or berries of your choice (roughly 1 cup) or chocolate chips (1/2 cup or so) and gently stir mixture for another few strokes.
5. Lightly oil a 12-cup muffin tin with oil or use cooking spray. Line with paper baking cups.
6. Using two spoons for lifting, gently fill each muffin cup. Don’t be stingey here. The batter should form mounds higher than the rim of the cup by about 3/4 inch.
7. Bake until golden brown, 30-35 minutes. A good way to test if they’re done is to gently press on the muffin top – when they’re done they spring back.
8. Let the tin cool for about 15 minutes before removing the muffins.