Muffin to write home about.
It seems a bit odd to be writing about muffins. I mean, it’s quite hard to get excited about them isn’t it? They are one of those things where you don’t mind grabbing a packet or two from the supermarket when you are doing the weekly shop. A good standby to have waiting in the wings just in case you have people dropping by and nothing in the way of homemade cake to tempt them. They last for ages in the cake caddy. They are tasty. They are filling. And they are usually cheap as chips to buy. You can get four luscious and plump muffins for a pound at most of the well-known supermarkets. That’s a bargain. A lazy, lazy bargain. The thing is, for just a few pennies you can make your own muffins at home in next to no time. They are so quick and easy to mix and bake using store cupboard ingredients that most of us baking enthusiasts would have to hand already. And the basic recipe is so wonderfully versatile you can practically add whatever you like to the mixture and turn it into many, many variations on the same theme. It would be a shame not to try making them for yourself at least once. Just for the experience. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. But even if they don’t live up to expectations at least you will be able to say that you’ve been there, bun that.
I’ve had a big ole muffin pan for a while now that I haven’t had much cause to use. I’m sure that you will have heard the old saying that everything is bigger over in the United States. And the one American state that tends to claim ownership for having the biggest of anything and everything would be Texas. I think this tin produces muffins that are roughly double the size of the regular U.K. cupcake/muffin tins so it will come as little surprise that these humongous tins are sometimes also known as Texas muffin pans. I think because of the sheer size you would struggle to find paper muffin liners big enough anywhere on the high street. Not without paying through the nose for them at any rate. I think the best idea would be to give each cup a liberal coating of homemade cake release paste. That’s what I chose to do. The basic recipe is for vanilla muffins. Now I tend to favour Nielsen-Massey pure vanilla extract when I bake so the amount stated in the recipe is for that type of vanilla extract. If you are using a stronger vanilla essence or flavouring please be advised that you might not need to use quite so much. I’ve also added chocolate chunks too. Because who doesn’t like chocolate? Crazy people that’s who. And besides, how mouth-watering do they look studded with all those chunks of milk chocolate? Mmmm. Stud muffins.
When I am making cupcakes or muffins I mostly use an ice cream scoop to dollop the mixture into each cup. I think we have Nigella to thank for that particular tip. Though across in America they have been making cupcakes and cookies using that self-same method for some time. They just didn’t think to let us in on the secret. In the olden days we Brits had to faff and fart around with two spoons. Picking up mixture with the first spoon and scraping it into the paper cases with the second, all the while trying to guesstimate exactly how much mix you needed to deposit into each cavity to stand a chance of getting twelve random and unequal cakes. And even then the mixture was much more likely to be slarted up the sides of the paper cases, spattered on the tin or splotched all over the work surface. Pretty much everywhere else excepting where you wanted it to be. The scoop and drop method is a quicker and more reliable way of making sure that each muffin turns out to be more or less the same size. The one I use is a quarter cup measure. That’s 60ml in English money. If you do buy one, try to get the type that is spring-loaded. The mechanism has a slide that runs around the inside of the scoop to help release the batter more easily. Using the ice cream scoop means you can deposit an even sized mound of mixture neatly into each cup. It’s a top tip. A muffin top tip, if you will.
A tin to bake it in.
As I mentioned earlier, this recipe is really intended for a six cup Texas muffin tin. I think I got mine fairly cheaply from the Aldi or some such. It can’t have cost more than about four quid or else I wouldn’t have bought one myself. What am I, made of money? If you don’t have access to a jumbo muffin tin – worry not. To check that this would work equally well in a normal sized muffin tin I decided to split the mixture and baked some muffins in both size of tin. Because I’m good like that. For the jumbo muffins you will need two ice cream scoops of mix in each cup. This will leave you with six deliciously monstrous muffins. For the normal sized tin, one scoop in each muffin case will leave you with approximately a dozen muffins. Still delicious but looking positively dainty by comparison. You’ll just need to remember that the smaller muffins will need much less baking time than the jumbo variety. Next time you see that packet of supermarket muffins, do yourself a favour and leave them where they are. Give these jumbo choc-chunk muffins a try instead. When it comes to treating your loved ones, surely home-baked is better than shop bought any day of the week. Or as I like to say to my nearest and dearest, you deserve muffin but the best. Now here’s that recipe… Enjoy.
Jumbo Choc-Chunk Muffins.
- 200g Milk Chocolate Chunks.
- 360g Self Raising Flour.
- ½ tsp Salt.
- 2 Large Eggs.
- 200g Granulated Sugar.
- 170g Greek Yoghurt.
- 60ml Whole Milk.
- 120ml Vegetable Oil.
- 1 tbsp Vanilla Extract.
- Place a shelf one position up from centre. Preheat the oven to Gas mark 6. Grease and flour a 6 cup jumbo muffin tray.
- Place the chocolate chunks, flour and salt in a large bowl. Using a hand whisk, mix together until the flour is aerated and the chocolate chunks are well coated. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl and using the same hand whisk, mix together the eggs, sugar, yoghurt, milk, oil and vanilla extract until smooth and fully combined.
- Make a well in the centre of the flour.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the flour.
- Stir together using a wooden spoon until just barely combined. Take care not to over mix. If you over mix the muffins will be tough and rubbery.
- Divide the mixture equally between the prepared muffin tray cups. About two level scoops of a large ice cream scoop.
- Bake the muffins for 6 minutes, then turn down the heat to Gas mark 5 and bake for a further 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of each muffin comes out clean. Be careful not to over bake.
- Allow to cool in the tin for at least 10 minutes then loosen around the edges and carefully turn out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
- As I mentioned earlier, this amount of mixture will also make approximately 12 normal sized muffins. Just line a 12 cup muffin tray with paper muffin cases. Use 1 dollop from an ice cream scoop for each muffin. When it comes to cooking, bake for 6 minutes on Gas Mark 6 then reduce the temperature to Gas Mark 5 and bake for a for a further 12 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of each cake comes out clean.