Can muffins be considered a breakfast food? Are they like a cupcake? Not when they are low fat mighty muffins!
Okay, muffins look like a cupcake. Some are made so sweet and moist they probably do fall under the category of a cupcake but are called a muffin as a selling point.
Differences Between Muffins and Cupcakes
A muffin is more like a quick bread baked in individual servings whereas a cupcake is just that - a little cake baked in cupcake form for individual servings. There are ways to differentiate a muffin from a cupcake, although it is true that the differences are slight.
A muffin has a coarser, somewhat drier texture and is not as sweet as a cupcake. A true muffin can be a breakfast food but a real cupcake should not. Also, muffin dough should be handled gently, stirring the batter with a wooden spoon and only enough to combine the ingredients. Cake ingredients, on the other hand, are usually beaten with an electric beater. Muffins are baked at a higher temperature for a shorter length of time due to the texture of the dough and to achieve the best results.
There are some common problems in turning out a good muffin. Following are some of the most common problems and ways to solve them.
- If a muffin turns out hard that means there is too much flour and not enough liquid in the batter. Or, the batter may have been stirred too long and too hard.
- If muffins are tough and soggy, with peaks in the center, the batter was probably over-mixed, which toughens it.
- A muffin that rises and then falls flat in the center does not have enough flour. Sometimes eggs are so large that they increase the ratio of liquid ingredients, so you may need to increase the flour by about 1/4 cup.
- If muffins are coarse-textured, it may mean not enough stirring and baking at too low a temperature.
A little trick we always use is to sprinkle the tops of the muffins with sugar. This is optional, but it will give the top of the muffins a delicious, appealing, sweet crunch when you bite into them.
Also, muffins are always best served warm. If you have any left over, individually wrap them, put them in freezer bags and freeze for up to three weeks. The double wrapping keeps them from becoming freezer burned or taking on the taste of other foods in your freezer. It also keeps them as fresh as when you removed them from the oven. Microwave 20 to 25 seconds (depending on your microwave strength) to serve warm.
Tips for Picture-Perfect Muffins
- When adding the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stir by hand only until combined. Do not overmix. Typical quick bread/muffin batter contains some lumps. If batter is overmixed, muffins will bake up tough and rubbery.
- Muffins are usually baked on the middle rack in a preheated oven. Avoid opening the oven door too often to check on them. Doing so can cause a rapid loss of oven heat and may affect the outcome of your muffins.
- Use a good quality muffin pan with cupcake liners.
- Bake muffins for a little less than the time called for in the recipe, then check for doneness. Do not overbake. Muffins are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
The following muffin recipes can be enjoyed for breakfast, a dessert or a snack. All are low in fat and under 200 calories each. They provide a good carbohydrate boost and when ingredients such as fruit and/or vegetables are added they pack an additional nutrition punch.
Master the art of making a good muffin and you'll never be wanting for a quick breakfast or snack again! (These can all be found in our Muffin Recipe Collection.)
Recommended Mighty Muffin Recipes
- Basic Muffins
- Applesauce Muffins
- Chocolate Muffins
- Double Chocolate Muffins
- Chocolate Chip Muffins
- Cappuccino Muffins
- Apple-Pumpkin Muffins
- Pumpkin Spice Muffins
- Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins
- Cranberry-Orange Muffins
- Blueberry Oat Muffins
- Lemon-Blueberry Muffins
- Sunshine Muffins
- Banana Nut Muffins
- Peach Poppy Seed Muffins
- Buttermilk Oatmeal Muffins
- Feather Light Muffins
- Spiced Mini Muffins
- Soybean Muffins
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