Muffins are often associated with breakfast and so the requirements are a little different than for a cake. To me, a good muffin needs to be crisp on top and almost crusty while on the inside should be a moist and light crumb. Lastly, it needs to not be a dessert. No frostings, not excessively sweet, and relatively shelf stable.
I agonized over whether or not to group all fruit muffins together. On the one hand, they tend to be similar and you often look for similar properties in this baked good regardless of the fruit being used. On the other hand, the different fruit will have different baking properties. (Pineapple would add acidity, dried fruit will act different from fresh fruit, etc.) In the end I decided that having a space to compare and contrast these properties and their effects on the muffin would be more interesting than just tweaking baking powder.
Why is this section so empty?
Look, I’ve only made one test in this category. It was a very successful delicious test but that doesn’t give me much to compare with. I will try to fill this in more as I go but give me a little break for now. Go look at the one test. Try it out. It’s well worth it I promise.
2 cups all-purpose flour 1 cup granulated sugar 1 Tbsp baking powder 1/4 tsp salt 1 cup whole milk 1 large egg 1/4 cup vegetable oil 1 Tbsp vanilla extract 1 cup cranberry sauce or pulp 1/4 cup crystalline sugar (optional)
I started by preheating the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In my standing mixer (though you can use a bowl and hand mixer easily here) I mixed together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
I got lazy and just tossed all the wet ingredients in next, sans egg shells (don’t be a smart ass). The cranberry sauce can be the pulp left over from making cranberry jelly, leftovers of your cranberry jam or store bought. I would recommend to use something with actual fruit bits in it for texture. I also would be hesitant to use something like cranberry relish here, I worry there is too much water, though maybe it would work, I haven’t tried.
Then turn on your mixer and get things thoroughly mixed but don’t overwork it. Get it so the batter looks the same throughout but don’t leave it running for an hour. You want to work it less if possible which will ensure less gluten development which means your muffins will be lighter. Think of gluten as binding power, we don’t want a lot of that in a muffin.
I divided these into 12 muffins. This meant that my muffin cups were full almost to the top and is why my muffins have that awesome dome on top. Don’t be afraid of overflowing your muffins, they’re going to be great.
I sprinkled some of that crystalline sugar for a fancy muffin effect. This is a personal choice, they’re great without this too.
I baked these for 22 minutes and even remembered to rotate the pan half way through.
I am in love with these muffins for a few reasons. Firstly, I hate waste and cranberry sauce never gets finished so this satisfies my obsession with using up all leftovers. Second, when they actually get a few minutes to cool before you try to eat them, they develop this crust on top that is incredible. I have rarely been able to achieve this in a homemade muffin. Lastly, they look so darn good! I mean look at those domes!