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We give you here a basic muffin recipe, one which appears in our King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook. It should be a taking-off point; use it to create your own favorite muffins by adding fruits and flavorings, nuts and vegetables, or substituting various grains. Muffins, being so easy and quick to make, are wonderful for experimenting. For instant gratification, of both the tastebuds and the creative spirit, nothing beats a muffin!
King Arthur Flour's Basic Muffins
2 cups Round Table Pastry Flours or King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil or softened butter (optional)*
2 large eggs
*If you leave the oil out, you can reduce the calories in your muffins by about 30%; the flavor will still be excellent, but muffins won't be quite as tender, and won't keep as well should you happen to have any left over.
Preheat your oven to 500°F.
Blend together the dry ingredients as long and as vigorously as you want. If you use a little whole wheat flour in your mixture, it's easy to tell when everything is thoroughly mixed.
Beat the liquid ingredients together -- milk, oil or butter, and eggs -- until they are light. If you have a 2-cup liquid measure (one with a lip above the 2-cup mark) it makes mixing the liquid ingredients very easy. Most eggbeaters will fit right in the cup, so you can use it both as a measure, and as a small mixing bowl.
Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Take a fork or wire whisk and blend the two for 20 seconds -- no more! The secret to light and tender muffins lies in this final blending. It's OK if you've left some lumps that look as if they want more stirring; they really don't. So, no matter how hard it is, resist the impulse.
Fill cups of a lightly greased muffin tin two-thirds to three-quarters full. Place muffins in the oven and immediately drop temperature to 400°F*. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until muffins test done. Yield: 12 muffins, 24 mini-muffins, or six "crown" muffins.
*When you put muffins in a very hot oven and immediately drop the temperature, you help create the high peaks that make them so appealing.
Nutrition information per serving (1 muffin, 63 g): 161 cal, 6 g fat, 4 g protein, 16 g complex carbohydrates, 8 g sugar, 1 g fiber, 47 mg cholesterol, 217 mg sodium, 66 mg potassium, 1 mg iron, 124 mg calcium, 72 mg phosphorus.
Summer is berry time, and berry-studded muffins are a special treat. Simply add 1 1/2 cups of berries (or fruit -- peaches, apples, etc. -- finely chopped and well drained) to our basic muffin recipe. To make sure berries stay evenly distributed throughout the batter, add the berries to the dry ingredients and mix until coated before adding the liquid ingredients. This prevents them from sinking once the liquids are blended in.
Nutritional information per serving (1 muffin, 81 g): same as the Basic Muffin, except calories increase to 171, potassium increases to 82 mg, and vitamin C increases to 3 mg.
If you like the old-fashioned taste of oats, you'll love this easy variation. In the basic muffin recipe, instead of 2 cups of flour, substitute 1 cup of thick oat flakes (rolled oats), and 1 1/4 cups flour. If you like a heartier muffin, also substitute brown sugar for granulated. These muffins don't rise as high as the basic muffins, but they certainly taste wonderful!
Nutritional information per serving (1 muffin, 73 g): same as the Basic Muffin, except calories increase to 197, protein increases to 4 g, complex carbohydrates increase to 22 g, potassium increases to 95, calcium increases to 131, and phosphorus increases to 106.
This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. III, No. 6, July-August 1992 issue.