Muffin Baking Tips

Here are a few tips to help make your muffins perfect:

* Get some new baking powder and baking soda -- these get stale and don't do as good a job puffing up your baked goods when they are older than six months. Label each box with the date you buy it and write on it "replace in 6 months."

* You can make muffins the old-fashioned way, using arm power and a wooden spoon, or you can use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.

* The best muffin tins are the nonstick ones or well-seasoned cast-iron ones, if you have them. If you have ever tried to scrub baked-on muffin or cupcake batter off the old-style aluminum kind, you will appreciate being able to sponge off the newer nonstick kind.

* Do not overmix the batter. Stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened. The batter should still be lumpy. The lumps will dissolve during baking.

* Careful, brief stirring will produce a muffin with a high, rounded crown. Overmixed batter will produce a flat-topped muffin.

* Use level measures. Scrape off excess flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda with the flat blade of a knife.

* Bake muffins on the middle oven shelf to prevent the bottom or top from over-browning.

* Preheating the oven tin before ladling in the batter is said to produce higher muffins.

* For ease, grease muffin tins with a vegetable oil spray or use paper liners.

* Low-fat muffins will stick to paper liners while warm, but will peel right off when the muffins cool. If you want to eat the muffins while warm, coat the liners with vegetable-oil spray.

* Mix muffin batter by hand, not with an electric mixer.

* Add-ins such as nuts and fruit should be tossed with the dry ingredients before the wet ingredients are added. Coating the pieces with flour prevents them from sinking to the bottom of the muffins.

* To adapt a regular muffin recipe for mini-muffin tins, simply bake the mini muffins less. Mini muffins bake in 15 to 20 minutes, while regular muffins bake in 20 to 30 minutes.

* Muffins are done when the top springs back when gently touched with a finger.

*Muffins freeze beautifully. Thaw them at room temperature.

Recipes from Razzle Dazzle Recipes