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How to make American style muffins plus lots of recipes


What are Muffins?

First of all, there is need for clarification as to the difference between English muffins and American muffins.


English Muffins

An English muffin is made with a yeast based dough whose flavour and texture is more like a bread. They are generally about 20cm/4-inches in diameter and although they can be served with jams or conserves, they are often just split open, sometimes toasted and buttered.  Recipe for  English Muffins.

American Muffins

An American muffin is a different affair altogether and these are the subject of this editorial.


American muffins are individual cakes, similar to a cupcake but larger (sometimes three times the size) with a more open moist texture. They can have various ingredients added including fresh fruit, nuts and sweet spices but can also be savoury.


Once baked, the mixture should have doubled in height, and the muffin should feel  light for its size and have a symmetrical and domed top which is bumpy.


Muffins were traditionally served plain and warm for breakfast,  however today they are often eaten at teatime (or any time) and can be decorated with icings.


How to make American muffins


General instructions for making American muffins


Muffins were traditionally baked directly in a muffin tin which is similar to a patty tin only with larger and deeper holes, however today they are also often baked in paper cases.


Many traditional US muffin recipes use plain flour (all purpose) and the raising agent baking soda, the consequence of which meant an acid needed to be added to ensure the baking soda was activated. This was often in the form of buttermilk, sour cream or yoghurt which added a certain twang to the flavour. However the advent of self raising flour or double action baking powder  has done away with the absolute need to use these ingredients.


Basic American Muffin Mix

These quantities are enough to make about 6 large (7.5cm/3-inch diameter) or 12 small muffins which are not too sweet.  Quantities can be doubled or trebled as required.


225g/8oz  Self Raising Flour

(if using plain flour add 2 teasp Baking Powder)

˝  teasp Salt

125g/5oz  Sugar

2  Medium Eggs

150ml/5fl.oz. Milk

2 tbsp Vegetable Oil or melted Butter



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Additional ingredients can be added to this basic mixture to create flavoured muffins such as fruit, spices or cheese and more textured muffins can be made with the additions of ingredients such as oats and bran. Also, other flours such as wholemeal can be used to replace part or all of the self raising flour however be sure to add baking powder.


Mixing the Muffin ingredients

                  How to make Muffins video

One of the keys to making perfect muffins is in the mixing. The ingredients should be mixed together as quickly as possible - just a few strokes - and should be  "folded" together rather than beaten as with other cake recipes.


For this reason, the wet ingredients are usually mixed together separately before being added to the dry ingredients which have also been mixed together beforehand. Additions such as fruit, and nuts are regarded as dry ingredients.


The fat content is regarded as a wet ingredients so, if using butter or any other form of solid fat, it should be mixed with the other wet ingredients. It can either be melted or  creamed together the sugar before adding the remaining wet ingredients. Using a good quality vegetable oil  instead of butter works extremely well when making muffins and has the added bonus that it doesn't have to be creamed or melted.


Don't aim for a completely smooth batter as this takes too long to achieve during which time the gluten in the flour will be over-worked and won't produce the correct texture.  The mixture should still have a few globs left in it when it is transferred to the tin/cases.



How much mixture to put in the muffin paper case or tin

Whether you are using paper cases or tins, fill the case or hole about 2/3rds full.


At what oven temperature should muffins be cooked ?

Bake at temperatures between 190C, 375F, Gas Mark 5 and 200C, 400C, Gas Mark 6 depending on your oven. If you have a fan assisted oven, you should reduce the temperature according to the manufacturers instructions.


For how long should muffins be cooked?

Bake large muffins for 25 minutes and smaller ones for 20 minutes.  A wooden toothpick inserted into the centre of the muffins should come out relatively clean. Leaving the cooked muffins in the tin for a couple of minutes makes their removal easier.


Decorating Muffins - How to decorate Muffins

Before you decorate your muffins, it is important to allow them to cool completely by removing them from the baking sheet or tin, and placing on a wire rack. Once cool, the options are endless, but here are just a couple of ideas for decorating muffins:-


Light Glacé icing or frosting

Simply mix icing sugar (confectioners Sugar) with a very little water until the mixture is smooth but not too runny, then drizzle thinly over the tops of the muffins. Flavourings can be added to the icing mixture such as lemon, orange or coffee, as can colourings and you can sprinkle the icing with chocolate vermicelli, hundreds and thousands or small sweets before it sets on the muffin. Click here for lots of Glace Icing Recipes


Butter cream (butter icing)

Mix up your favourite butter cream flavour and spread or pipe on the tops of the muffins. Click here for lots of Butter Cream recipes. As with the simple icing above, further decorations can be pressed into the butter icing.


Storing Muffins

Muffins are best eaten as soon as possible after they have been baked although they will keep for a day or so.


Top 10 Muffin Recipes

Here are our top 10 muffin recipes plus lots more muffin recipes below.


More Muffin Recipes

Apple Sultana Muffins     Veg  CD  CBF 35mins  (Gluten Free)

Banana and Prune Muffins    Veg CD CBF 40mins

Berry Mint Muffins     Veg CD CBF 60mins

Blueberry Nut Muffins     Veg CD CBF 40mins

Cheese and Chive Muffins     Veg  CD  CBF  35mins

Date and Marigold Muffins    Veg CD CBF 40mins

Fresh Herb Muffins    Veg  HT  CD  CBF   35mins

Vegan Mincemeat Muffins    Veg CD CBF 40mins plus cooling



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