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.
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.
An American muffin is a different affair altogether and these are the subject of this
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Muffins are best eaten as soon as possible after they have been baked although
they will keep for a day or so.
Here are our top 10 muffin recipes plus lots more muffin recipes below.