Muffins are generally easy to make, but there can be a big difference between a muffin and a perfect muffin. Here are a few tips for making the perfect muffins:
- Preheat the oven. The longer your muffin batter sits before baking, the denser it will become. The muffins will not puff up as well if they have been sitting for a long time before baking. Before preheating the oven, make sure the oven rack is in the center of your oven. If it is too high or too low, the muffins will not bake evenly, and the tops or bottoms may burn before the muffins are fully baked in the center.
- Consider adding to the recipe. 1/2 to 1 cup of chopped dried fruit or nuts can add a delicious surprise in your muffins. Just add to the recipe, and mix as usual.
- Do not overmix the muffins. If you overmix the muffins, they will become dense and crumbly, not light and airy. Usually, muffin batter is still a little lumpy when it is perfectly mixed. Never use an electric beater, because it will overmix the batter. Keep mixing to a minimum if you want the muffins to have the perfect texture.
- Prepare the muffin tins. Grease the muffin tins, and/or use paper liners. Make sure to grease the sides as well as the bottom; nothing can be more discouraging than having to ruin your muffins just to get them out of the pan. Paper liners can help keep your muffins fresh longer. Fill them only about 2/3 full with the muffin batter, or they will overflow as the batter expands. Make sure to fill each muffin cup equally, or some will finish baking before others.
- Bake according to the directions. Watch the muffins carefully through the oven door, but do not open the oven until you think the muffins are done. Opening the door frequently can cause the muffins to sink. Smaller muffins will take much less to bake than jumbo-sized muffins, so adjust baking time depending on the size of the muffin pan you are using. The perfect muffin should be light golden brown at the edges, and fully cooked in the center. If you're not sure if the center is done, insert a toothpick; if it comes out clean, the muffin is fully cooked.
- Allow the muffins time to cool. If you have used paper liners and want to remove them, wait until the muffins have cooled completely, because they will be easier to pull off. Leave the muffins in the pan for about 5 minutes before removing them; removing them sooner will affect the muffin's texture. When they are ready, place the muffins on a cooling rack. If you let them cool completely in the pan, they may be difficult to remove.
Muffins are always a hit, and they're easy to make. Next time you make them, keep these tips in mind to ensure that the muffins turn out perfectly.