“Perfect” Muffins

I normally would never ever put “perfect” in front of any of my recipes.  Personally, I just don’t think anyone could call their recipe “perfect”.  BUT, this is not my recipe :-)  These muffins come from Pam Anderson’s “The Perfect Recipe” and the book is fabulous.  She describes in detail how she came up with her methods and why they work.  Almost like Alton Brown’s show “Good Eats” only in book form.

I’ve tried lots and lots of muffins.  These are the first ones I’ve made that create a perfect dome top without the need for streusal or something extra.  This method is much easier than the regular muffin method of “stir until just combined” for me since it uses an electric mixer.

Basic Muffin Recipe
yields 24  regular-sized muffins (this recipe does work when cut in half or you can freeze them)

3 cups AP flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
10 Tbs. butter, room temp.
1 cup minus 1Tbs. sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt

1.  Make sure your oven rack is in the lower-middle position.  Grease your muffin/12-cupcake pan with vegetable oil or spray.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
1.  In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder,  baking soda and salt.
2.  In large bowl, use an electric mixer on medium-high to beat butter and sugar for 2 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time.
3.  Add yogurt and dry ingredients a little at a time and alternate between the yogurt and flour mixture.  So, beat in about 1/3 of your yogurt into the butter mixture.  Beat in 1/2 of the dry ingredients.  Add 1/3 of the yogurt.  Add dry.  Add the rest of the yogurt.
4.   Fill each cup so the batter is even with the top.  Bake 18-20 minutes.

Flavor Ideas:

Cranberry Orange Muffins: add 1 tsp. orange zest to dry ingredients; Fold in 1 cup dried cranberries (or 1 1/2 cup chopped fresh cranberries) and 3/4 cup toasted walnuts at the end

Lemon Blueberry: add 1 tsp. lemon zest to dry ingredients;  1 1/2 cup fresh blueberries folded in at end

Carrot Raisin: Add 1 tsp. to dry ingredients; 1 1/2 cups of grated carrot and 3/4 cup raisins folded in at the end

Mocha Chip: Add 3 Tbs. instant coffee into the yogurt; 1 cup chocolate chips folded in at the end.

Banana Walnut Muffins
yield 24 regular sized muffins (cupcake size)

3/4 cup walnuts, chopped (toasted 3-4 minutes in skillet or oven at 350 degrees)
3 cups flour
1 Tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
10 Tbs. butter, room temp.
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 1/2 cup finely diced bananas (3 small)

1.  Spray your muffin/12-cupcake pan with oil.  Preheat oven 375 degrees.
2.  Follow instructions of making muffins per the above method.

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