Whenever I run out of breakfast items such as bread and cereal I turn to making either crepes, pan cakes or muffins. Making plain muffins is one baking recipe which is easy to master. All you need are a few inexpensive ingredients and less than an hour of preparation and baking time. I also tend to favor plain muffins over those with additions such as fruit and spices because when they are ready, each person is free to add their own extra flavors of spreads, jams, creams or preserves as they please. This in my opinion is better than having a whole batch of muffins with the same flavor.
I started baking regularly during my early teenage years. One of my young aunts and I would occasionally spent Saturday afternoons baking to our hearts content. We would bake all kinds of items but usually pound cakes, chocolate cakes and muffins always made the list. We would start off by exhausting the mortar of the food processor by mixing batches upon batches of butter and then placing each batch into the oven and filling the air in the kitchen with the sweet and warm aroma of freshly baked goods. And then when we were done, everyone in the household would feast on the goodies with their evening tea. There was always more than enough to share and Mom would donate some of the remainders to a church bake sale the next Sunday morning.
After so many years of baking muffins I have the recipe down to a tee; I mix the ingredients intuitively without thinking much about the measurements. Once you repeat this recipe a couple of times, you too will be able to execute it without much though.
Recipe: Plain Muffins
Prep Time: 10 minutes Baking Time: 30 minutes Yields: 9 muffins
2 cups of all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons of baking powder
¼ teaspoon of salt 2 large eggs (if small or medium, use 3)
1/3 cup of white sugar (you may add a few extra tablespoons
if more sweetness is desired) ½ stick of butter 1 cup of milk
2 tablespoons of water ½ tablespoon of oil (for greasing the baking pan).
-Preheat oven to 350°F
-Grease wells of baking pan using oil. -Sift flour into a bowl. Sprinkle in baking powder and salt. Mix these dry ingredients.
-Dice butter and melt. I tend to place it on the stove to catch some of the heat as the oven underneath is getting preheated. Some people place it in a cup and microwave it. When the butter has melted, make sure to bring it back to room temperature before proceeding.
– Beat eggs into the mixing bowl and add melted butter then sugar. Beat mixture for 30 seconds. Lastly add milk and beat for a few more seconds.
-Add dry flour mixture to liquid mixture in the bowl by adding first cup and whisk gently then add the rest of the flour. Beat by hand for 1 minute until butter is smooth. Add the water and mix for another 10 seconds. Careful not to overbeat the butter as this will result in hardened muffins
-Taste the butter, if you desire more sweetness, you may add more sugar, one tablespoon at a time and gently folding it into the butter. -Scoop about 1/3 to ½ of a cup of the butter into each of the greased wells in the pan. Do not completely fill the well as this will cause the butter to overflow when rising in the oven. -Place baking pan in the middle of the preheated oven and set timer to bake for 27 minutes.
-Test for readiness after 27 minutes by pocking one of the muffins with a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out clean there are no residue, the muffins are ready. If not bake for the remaining 3 minutes and test with the toothpick again. Muffins should also have a golden brown color when ready.
-Once the muffins have passed the toothpick test and look golden brown, remove baking pan from the oven and set on the counter for 5 minutes to cool. Remove muffins from pan by running a dinner knife around the edges of the wells. -Flavor with your favorite spread and enjoy for breakfast or as an evening treat with a hot or cold beverage. In the picture below, I flavored my muffin with grape jelly and butter and served it with a cup of black tea with milk.by