"Kusina" = Kitchen; "Manang" = older sister

A Filipina's unabashed chronicle of her adaptations in the American kitchen. Includes step-by-step photos on how to make pan de sal, ensaymada, pan de coco, siopao, hopia, pandelimon, pianono, atsara, crema de fruta,etc., and if you are lucky, you will find videos too!

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Friday, April 03, 2009

Basic Muffin Recipe

I have always been intrigued by the muffins I see in stores -- the ones with high domes/peaks....I have always wondered how that is achieved, whether that depends on the recipe or the oven temperature or the placement of pan in the oven. Well, I started the quest for the answer by using a basic muffin recipe. I finally learned the secret to making nice domes of muffins: preheating the oven to high heat, which creates an effect akin to "golpe de gulat" as we would refer to it in the Philippines. As soon as the muffin pan is placed inside the oven, the temp is dropped down to the right temp (which will not burn the muffins's exterior and leave the center underbaked). Next thing I will experiment on is whether I could do the same trick with my favorite blueberry muffin recipe.

I did use the King Arthur recipe just to experience for myself whether the trick they taught there was for real, which it was. But Wena also has an almost the same recipe, only with more oil, which also helps with prolonging shelf life and accounts for the tenderness, although we probably can experiment adding mashed sweet potato or regular potato, or some sweet sticky rice flour or tapioca flour to see how these affect the tenderness. I knew at some point in my childhood life, my Tatay experimented with adding grated kamoteng-kahoy (cassava) that he harvested from our backyard, into his basic muffin recipe which he used for his version of cheese cupcakes (which was basically muffins with grated cheese on top), and I liked the outcome better than the original; more moist and tender.

The beauty of having a basic recipe is the many variations you can try, as suggested by KAF. I found the plain one not sweet enough, and was thinking of maybe experimenting with adding colored sugar crystals on top at the last minutes of baking, aside from using chocolate chips, or sweet fruits, nuts.

For purposes of keeping the recipe easy to find here, I am copying and pasting here the recipe from KAF.
2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil or softened butter (optional)*
2 large eggs

*If you leave the oil out, you can reduce the calories in your muffins by about 30%; the flavor will still be excellent, but muffins won't be quite as tender, and won't keep as well should you happen to have any left over.

(I added blueberries in half of my batter; I just sprinkled them with some flour to help them be uniformly distributed.)
Preheat your oven to 500°F.

Blend together the dry ingredients as long and as vigorously as you want. If you use a little whole wheat flour in your mixture, it's easy to tell when everything is thoroughly mixed.

Beat the liquid ingredients together -- milk, oil or butter, and eggs -- until they are light. If you have a 2-cup liquid measure (one with a lip above the 2-cup mark) it makes mixing the liquid ingredients very easy. Most eggbeaters will fit right in the cup, so you can use it both as a measure, and as a small mixing bowl.

Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Take a fork or wire whisk and blend the two for 20 seconds -- no more! The secret to light and tender muffins lies in this final blending. It's OK if you've left some lumps that look as if they want more stirring; they really don't. So, no matter how hard it is, resist the impulse.

Fill cups of a lightly greased muffin tin two-thirds to three-quarters full. Place muffins in the oven and immediately drop temperature to 400°F*. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until muffins test done. Yield: 12 muffins, 24 mini-muffins, or six "crown" muffins.

*When you put muffins in a very hot oven and immediately drop the temperature, you help create the high peaks that make them so appealing.

Nutrition information per serving (1 muffin, 63 g): 161 cal, 6 g fat, 4 g protein, 16 g complex carbohydrates, 8 g sugar, 1 g fiber, 47 mg cholesterol, 217 mg sodium, 66 mg potassium, 1 mg iron, 124 mg calcium, 72 mg phosphorus.
More tips can be found at KAF's basic muffin recipe page.
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  1. Thanks for a great tip about achieving that high muffin top! 8-)

  2. Manang,
    Great tips. You really are a pro! Love the way you go into detail. Must be your dad's legacy back home.
    I always baked muffins but never with that kind of "crown". Now I'll give it a try. I giggled when you mentioned golpe de gulat.
    sharon (not sarah, by the way)

  3. now i will have to test this myself too what with my obsession with making the best muffin:)


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