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These muffins are cheesy in the best sense of the word! With their slight kick of pepper, they pair beautifully with your breakfast eggs, with a salad or soup, or even as a substitute for garlic bread with pasta. They’re a snap to put together, and can go from inspiration to ready-to-enjoy in less than 30 minutes.
Be sure to use an assertive sharp cheddar. The flavor of mild cheddar doesn’t shine through like extra-sharp does.
2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour*
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) extra-sharp grated cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 cup (1/2 stick, 2 ounces) butter
1 cup (8 ounces) milk
1 large egg
*To add fiber to your diet in delicious fashion, substitute 1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour + 1 cup (4 ounces) King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour for the 2 cups all-purpose flour.
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease the wells of a 12-cup muffin pan, or grease muffin papers and place them in the wells.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, peppers, and 1 cup of the grated cheese. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat together the butter and milk, stirring until the butter melts. Cool to comfortably warm (e.g., it doesn’t burn your finger when you test it), whisk in the egg, and pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir just till everything is thoroughly moistened. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling them nearly full. Sprinkle with the reserved cheese, then very lightly with paprika, if desired, for added color.
Bake the muffins for 16 to 18 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean. Remove them from the oven, cool them in the pan for 5 minutes, then serve and enjoy warm; or transfer from the pan to a rack to cool completely. Store muffins wrapped, at room temperature. They’re best enjoyed warm, so when you’re ready to serve, reheat briefly in the microwave (15 seconds or less), or in a preheated 350°F oven, lightly wrapped in foil, for about 10 minutes.
Yield: 12 muffins.