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Make me a muffin -- a Chowhound Challenge

  • m

Hello all Chowhound Home Bakers:

I'm having a small muffin crisis. I'm looking for some really good muffin recipes, and my criteria are below. I'm sure the hounds out there have some fine muffin recipes squirrelled away, and I want them.

A good muffin, (in my opinion)

-is full-flavored (not necessarily super-sweet, but sweet is good in a muffin) NOT BLAND
-has good, moist, but not gooey texture
- can have a topping (streusel, or glaze, etc), or not
-can be high-fat, mid-fat, or low-fat -- I don't care, as long as it's really fully flavored. I'm only going to eat one of these muffins a day, with my morning coffee, so I want it to be good and I am not so concerned about fat or calorie content
-can be made with white or whole wheat flour, or combination, or bran, oatmeal, etc, I don't care AS LONG as it's good!
-can have fruit, or not
-can involve jam/preserves, or not
-standard muffin size preferred (preferablly not Giant or Mini-muffins, but if the recipe is really fantastic I will adapt it)

As you can see -- I'm just basically looking for a good, intensely flavored, deliciously-textured muffin. I'm set on scone recipes, so no need to share those. I have what I've come to consider the finest blueberry muffin recipe in existence (a very high-fat, rather labor-intensive streusel-topped blueberry muffin from Fine Cooking magazine) so I'm not actively looking for a blueberry muffin recipe anymore. However, if you have one that you have tried and tested and consider to be really extraordinary, please share.

My all-time favorite muffin, alas, now lost to antiquity, was made by the office cafeteria at the company I worked at during my college summer job. It was a really intensely-flavored, sweet, moist-in-the-middle but crispy on the outside orange muffin. It was so very good, even with the bad black office coffee that I used to drink by the quart then. Yummy. Orange muffins are still my favorite -- and seem to be the holy grail of muffin flavors. I've found pretty good orange muffins again, but none to compare to that one. A full-flavored orange muffin is really hard to make, apparently. Extra points to anyone who provides me with an excellent orange muffin recipe.

BUT, I'm opening this challenge up to the fine bakers out there on the Home Cooking board. If you have a really good muffin recipe (and if it's fussy and hard to make I don't mind -- flavor is key), and are willing to share, I will take it from the board and test it. After a few submissions I will decide if there is a winner, and I will email that person a Cooking.com gift certificate. Yes, I'm willing to pay for fantastic muffin recipe.

I eagerly await the entries....

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  1. I suspect you could recreate those wonderful orange muffins with a standard commercial white muffin mix, a little zest and sub OJ for the water...says she who used to make such muffins for a living. Everyone poopoos the mix, but it makes a great muffin.

    1. What a great challenge! I tend to focus on the healthful, as my children like muffins and it's a way to sneak good stuff into them.

      Here's my latest:
      This is based on an Eating Well recipe for Apple Bran Muffins.

      1/2 c. raisins, dried cranberries or a combination of the two
      1 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
      2 1/2 t baking powder
      1/2 t salt
      1/2 t ground cinnamon
      1/3 c wheat germ
      1/3 c flaxmeal
      1 large egg, lightly beaten
      1/2 c lowfat or soy milk
      1/2 c pumpkin butter
      1/3 c packed light brown sugar
      1/4 c canola oil
      2 T molasses
      1 c finely diced peeled fresh or dried apple, or a combination

      Preheat oven to 375. Spray a standard 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.

      Mix well in a large bowl the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, wheat germ and flaxmeal.

      Whisk well in a medium bowl the egg, milk, pumpkin butter, brown sugar, oil and molasses.

      Add wet ingredients to the dry and add the fruit. Mix with as few strokes as possible until dry ingredients are moistened and the fruit is distributed. A bit of flour showing is ok.

      Divide evenly among the muffin cups. Bake on center rack about 20 minutes or until the tops spring back when lightly touched. Let cool in pan for five minutes, then place on a rack to cool a bit more.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Buttercup

        Looks very good -- i will definitely give it a try.

        Question about 2 ingredients:

        What is flaxmeal?

        Where/how do I get/make pumpkin butter?

        1. re: Mrs. Smith

          Trader Joe's has pumpkin butter, I believe, if you have one near you.

          1. re: Mrs. Smith

            Flaxmeal is ground whole flax seed. I use Bob's Red Mill brand, available at Trader Joe's and some supermarkets. You could also buy whole flax seed and grind your own.

            I got the pumpkin butter at Trader Joe's. I think you could successfully sub canned pumpkin puree and add some spices. The pumpkin butter is slightly thinner than the puree (thicker than applesauce, though), so a little water or apple juice woud be a good addition.

            1. re: Mrs. Smith

              I bought mine {flaxseed meal} at the Orowheat Outlet store

          2. I have been baking muffins recently (weekly) and find the recipe for basic muffins, with variations, in the Joy of Cooking(revised edition)to be excellent. I substitute whole wheat pastry flour for 1/2 of the flour. The recipe has suggestions for varying amounts of fat. I have made blueberry, apple, lemon poppy seed. The carrot muffin recipe is excellent too.
            I recently bought the King Arthur bread bakers companion (something like that) but haven't used it yet. The recipes look similar.

            1. I have a recipe for cranberry-buckwheat muffins from the bert greene grains cookebook that I think meets your criteria.

              1. You might like Pomegranate Ginger Muffins. The recipe's in the link below.

                Link: http://homecooking.about.com/library/...

                1 Reply
                1. re: creepygirl

                  Hey I just noticed this!!! I posted a topic asking for ideas what to do with the bounty I have. Thanks I'm trying these!

                2. What's up with saying you have the best blueberry muffin recipe in the history of the world and not sharing? I need a great blueberry muffin recipe. Please share.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: muffin

                    I would love to share! I get gently reproved (and removed by the moderators!) when I infringe on copyrights.

                    I don't have the mag with me now -- but it was from one of last year's Fine Cooking issues. I think 2004, anyway, maybe late 2003. I'll check later when I'm near my kitchen. I will try to paraphrase properly -- it's a very good recipe indeed (a bit indulgent on the butter and sugar side, but, hey, if you're only going to have one per day...:)

                    1. re: Mrs. Smith
                      Caitlin McGrath

                      Mrs. Smith, Chowhound allows you to post a recipe from a copyrighted source if you paraphrase the instructions (verbatim ingredient lists are fine).

                    2. re: muffin

                      Hello Muffin,

                      I've got the "best" blueberry muffin recipe. It's at least the best blueberry muffin recipe to me -- and this might say something about my tastes :) It even says in the Fine Cooking mag it comes from (it's the July 2002 edition) that this is a muffin that's more like a dessert or an afternoon snack. That's the kind of muffin I like with my morning coffee or tea :) If I could find a orange muffin recipe this good, I would be set!

                      Blueberry Muffins with Cinnamon Crumble

                      12 regular or 6 large muffins

                      For the crumble:
                      1/2 cup all purpose flour
                      1/4 cup packed brown sugar
                      Scant 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
                      2 ounces (1/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

                      For the Muffins:
                      Butter and flour for the muffin fins, or paper muffin liners
                      6 3/4 ounces (1.5 cups) all purpose flour
                      2 ounces (1/2 cup) cake flour
                      1 teaspoon baking soda
                      1/2 teaspoon baking powder
                      1/2 teaspoon salt
                      3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
                      1/2 teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg
                      4 ounces (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
                      1 cup sugar
                      2 large eggs
                      1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
                      1 cup buttermilk
                      1 cup fresh blueberried, picked over, or wild frozen Maine blueberries (IQF-"individually quick frozen" is best)

                      Paraphrase: Heat oven to 350. Make the crumble by combining flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Add butter and work in with fingertips or pastry belnder until uniform and moist. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside
                      Make Muffins: Butter and flour 12 regular or 6 large muffin tins or line with cupcake liner. Sift together both flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a small bowl. In an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 mins. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after you add each one. Scrape sides and add vanilla. On low, add flour mixture in three additions, alternating between buttermilk in two additions. Gently fold in the berries with a spatula. Spoon into the muffin cups until they are almost full.
                      Scatter a good amount of crumbel over the batter in the muffin cups. There may be more than you need.
                      Bake until the tops are golden and springy to the touch. Also, use a cake tester, which should come out clean. 20-25 minutes for regular muffins, 30 to 35 for large. Cool in the muffin tin for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature

                      1. re: Mrs. Smith

                        I highly recommend you make the golden grand marnier cake in 'The Cake Bible' as cupcakes and call them muffins. If you don't have The Cake Bible
                        (by Rose Levy Beranbaum) and cant find the recipe on the web I can post it for you.

                        1. re: muffin

                          Good idea! I will try that. I've got the Cake Bible and have been baking from it for years. I never thought to convert a cake recipe into a muffin (but why not, I just want a little cake for breakfast anyway). That is a great idea. I will officially add this idea to the contest :)

                        2. re: Mrs. Smith

                          Oh – my – goodness! I made these for breakfast this morning and they were the lightest, fluffiest muffins I’ve ever eaten in my life. I couldn’t believe a muffin could be that good. I asked my guests if they wanted butter or jam or anything on them and they said absolutely not; they don’t need a thing. And they don’t. I only had small muffin tins, so I ended up making 16, and three of us ate 9 of them. It was only by force of will that we stopped at that many. I’ve got the rest in the freezer and am eager to see how they’ll reheat. Can hardly wait. Thank you, Mrs. Smith—wherever you are.

                          1. re: JoanN

                            I made these over the weekend and they are just fabulous. As Joan says, incredibly light.

                      2. if you have been reading Fine Cooking for a while, you may remember "Doughnut Muffins" -- these are awesome. Even better, you can make the dough the night before and bake in the morning. Here's a link. I hope you like!

                        Link: http://www.taunton.com/finecooking/pa...

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: melissa

                          Boo hoo, that link is no longer good. But is this the same recipe? I'm up for anything with the word doughnut in its title...

                        2. The best muffin I've ever had, listed below. 1/2 of what the recipe called for I used whole wheat pasty flour. I also didn't have any butter and used butter flavored crisco and raw sugar instead of refined. Don't overcook. They were moist and rich and full of flavor. We literally didn't keep them around for 3 days (there were two of us and 8 of them).

                          Good luck.

                          Link: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: krissywats

                            I'll vouch for these - they are GREAT muffins!

                            1. re: content

                              Well thanks for vouching. My muffin submission would've won this long gone by muffin challenge if it'd been seen through to the end. So ill just proclaim myself the winner!

                              Where the heck is Mrs. Smith, anyway? Good lord that was almost two years ago.

                              At some point I ended up removing the coconut, adding chocolate chips and peanut butter to this recipe to create my fav muffin ever.

                              1. re: krissywats

                                How much peanut butter and chocolate chips? :)

                                1. re: content

                                  Oh lord - I have no idea. Let me find where I've written that down and I'll get back to you.

                                2. re: krissywats

                                  I vouch also (1.5 years later)! They're delicious. I love the texture - denser than a lot of muffins, and the coconut seals the deal.

                                  1. re: sabrina0

                                    People seem to be love or hate with coconut. I'm in the love category. And this is a wonderful recipe with coconut and pumpkin, just made last weekend. I ended up making one loaf, 12 muffins, and still had a little batter left that I spread thinly in an 8 x 8 pan just to see what happened. Liked the texture of that a bit less but the loaf and muffins were devine.
                                    Added chocolate chips to half of the muffins. Yum.

                            2. I make Moist & Chocolatey Zucchini Muffins (see link below).

                              Note: Instead of walnuts, I use roasted pecan halves on top of the muffins. Additionally, I add 1/3 cup more chocolate chips to the batter *and* top the muffins with a few chocolate chips before baking (12-15 mins).

                              Link: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Funwithfood

                                Here's my version of zuke muffins, no chocolate, but carrots and apple.
                                I posted this on another thread calling for muffins and someone put a link to this thread so here it is again.

                                So happy to see this thread as I'm/we're on a muffin kick too. I made these and they were a hit. Ventured into the web, looked up all sorts of "these" {zuke} kind of muffins and made my own version of many entries by simply combining. My husband took 2 to work yesterday and gave one to a cohort. The friend said you're wife should go into business. Is it the yogurt?

                                "Garden fulla zuchinni crunch muffins"
                                18-20 minutes
                                12-ish minutes on "bake" cycle of convection oven

                                1/2 c oil {I used Crisco}
                                2 eggs
                                1/2 c br sugar
                                1/2 c sugar
                                1 T molassas
                                1 t almond flavoring
                                Mix to cream, until fully combined.
                                When mixed, add:
                                **1 T shredded apple {I used Black Arkansas}
                                **1 3/4 c shredded zuchinni
                                **1/2 c shredded carrots
                                2 T Greek yogurt {plain}
                                Mix just to combine.

                                In bowl sift these dry ingredients together:
                                2 c flour
                                3/4 t salt
                                1 t Argo baking powder
                                1/2 t soda
                                1/8 t ground clove
                                1/2 t ground allspice
                                1/4 t grated nutmeg
                                1 t cinnamon

                                Add to sugar egg mixture until just blended.
                                Fill muffin tins either with paper cups or buttered without paper cups, 1/2 way full.

                                In little bowl mix 1/4 c butter [half stick] 1/2 c flour 1/4 cup dark br sugar and squish with fingers.
                                When all muffin cups are filled with batter, sprinkle "crunch" mix over tops. <1/2 T each muffin.
                                Bake until golden on top and toothpick comes out clean in center.
                                **No need to peel any of these, just wash them first.Don't overbake...Enjoy

                              2. c
                                Caitlin McGrath

                                I like these moist, well-flavored pumpkin miffins, which are also fairly low in fat (I adapted a recipe from epicurious). They're good made with all white flour, all whole wheat pastry flour, or a combination. You can also adjust the amount of sugar by a bit to your taste. You can make anywhere from one to two dozen muffins (in regular muffin tins) depending on the size you like.

                                Pumpkin Muffins

                                Sift together and set aside:

                                3 cups flour
                                2 teaspoons each ground cinnamon and nutmeg
                                1 teaspoon each ground ginger, cloves, and allspice
                                1 teaspoon baking soda
                                1/2 teaspoon baking powder
                                1/2 teaspoon salt

                                Beat together in a large bowl:

                                3 large eggs
                                3/4-1 cup brown sugar
                                3/4-1 cup sugar
                                2 cups pureed pumpkin
                                1/2 cup vegetable oil of your choice
                                1/2 cup buttermilk

                                Beat in dry ingredients just until blended (it will be thinner than most muffin batters). Pour into greased muffin tins, and bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes (depending on size) until a tester comes out clean. Turn out onto a rack to cool.

                                Optional: when muffins are cool, swirl tops in a glaze made from powdered sugar and lemon juice (not necessary, but a very nice complement).

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                  Extra delicious muffins! Love all the spices and with my medium sized muffin tins the recipe made 23 muffins. I used 2 cups all purpose flour and 1 cup WW pastry flour. Didn't have buttermilk so subbed a bit more than 1/2 cup of yogurt and 1/4 cup milk. Made one dozen plain and 11 with chopped pecans. Will definitely be making these again! Thanks Caitlin!

                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                    I just made these muffins.... EXCELLENT... this 7 year old post is so worth it!
                                    I did sub Molasses for the brown sugar... because I didn't have any brown sugar, and used kefir for the buttermilk.....perfect!

                                  2. Well, I'm afraid these muffins may violate an unwritten rule of your contest--the directions specifically indicate not to freeze them (and I assume you're planning them with that one a day consumption rate?). Regardless, I'll post with a thought or two on the no freezing thing at the end.

                                    Ok, first the story behind them. My mom sent me to big box bookstore to find a cranberry muffin recipe. Not any one in particular, just to check some out. So, I sat down in the cookbook section and looked in a bunch of books for one that I thought might be good. This is one of the ones I copied out, and it has become a family favorite every since. I have no idea what cookbook I got it out of, and the directions are well paraphrased, because there was no way I was going to copy stuff down verbatim!

                                    Cranberry Apple muffins

                                    Preheat oven to 350F. Makes 12 muffins (grease tins).

                                    1c AP flour
                                    1/2c ww flour, oat brain or AP flour
                                    1 tsp baking soda
                                    1/4 tsp. salt
                                    2 large eggs
                                    3/4 cup packed brown sugar
                                    1/4 cup vegetable oil
                                    1 tsp. vanilla
                                    3/4 cup diced unpeeled tart apple (roughly 1/2-3/4 of a medium sized apple)
                                    3/4 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
                                    1/2 cup chopped walnuts

                                    Mix 1st 5 ingredients in large bowl.
                                    Mix eggs, sugar, oil, vanilla. Stir in apples, cranberries, walnuts. Pour all of this into dry ingredients, stir until just mixed. Pour into greased tins, bake 20-25 min. DO NOT FREEZE.

                                    My guess is that you aren't supposed to freeze because of the nuts, but that's just a guess. I've never tried freezing them, with or without nuts (I love nuts, so hate the idea of leaving them out.) I love cranberries, but don't really like orange in baked goods (sorry, I know you're looking for the perfect orange muffin, and maybe if I had had them, I wouldn't be opposed!), so was pleased to find a cranberry recipe that didn't have an orange counterpart. It's a fairly 'hearty' muffin (not at all delicate with fine crumb type thing). I've only ever made them with the ww flour, never the AP or oat bran additions. I love these muffins.


                                    P.S. Just let me know when you need my address for my gift certificate!

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: Smokey

                                      These look good. I notice they call for oil instead of butter. Does anyone have a preference? I will often find I don't have enough butter left on Sunday am for my favorite muffin recipe. Last week I made some with veg oil instead, and they were good, and stayed moist for a long time. Thoughts anyone?

                                      1. re: mohotta

                                        I've never made them with butter, only with oil, so can't comment. My guess is that using melted butter in the recipe instead would work fine. Some people definitely prefer butter because of flavor or oil because of transfats issues. In a muffin recipe like this, it's pretty forgiving, so I think you could go either way and it would be fine.

                                    2. Found Oatmeal apple muffins recipe on the internet. The texture is really good, the apple flavor isn't really there, I might try a different apple (I used fuji's) and trying small cubes instead of grating, but overall these were good. Next time, I'd toast the nuts first to give them more flavor.

                                      Link: http://www.recipezaar.com/84869

                                        1. This is for Mrs. Smith. While looking for a pumpkin muffin recipe I saw your plea for a really good orange muffin recipe, and I wanted to let you know that I haveone that is fantastic. I found it years ago in The Brooklyn Cookbook (as I recall) and it is made by first quartering and food processing a whole orange, rind and all, which gives it the most incredible orange taste you can ever imagine. I have been meanung to use it as a base for orange blueberry muffins, as I think the combo would be fantastic, but have yet to do so. If you would like the recipe, I will happily post it for you if you would like.

                                          10 Replies
                                          1. re: monstagrrrl

                                            I haven't seen Mrs. Smith around (though it would be great if I was wrong). But know that I'd love your recipe, when you get the chance to post it. Thanks!

                                            1. re: rose water

                                              I haven't seen Mrs. Smith in a long time either. She was an infrequent poster even before the 'upgrade' (she had had a chowpup recently), and I don't think I've seen her post-upgrade at all. <sniff>

                                              1. re: rose water

                                                Hi rose water,
                                                I have been going through my recipes today, and happened upon that recipe you asked for, which I had been unable to locate due to the mess my recipe file was in. Happy to post it for you now. It is truly just about the most flavorful muffin recipe I have ever tasted, and it's drop-dead easy. I hope you enjoy it.
                                                Adele Horowitz's Mother's Muffins (adapted from The Brooklyn Cookbook)
                                                2 1/2 cups flour
                                                4 tsp. baking powder
                                                1/2 tsp salt
                                                1 stick (4 oz.) unsalted butter
                                                1 cup sugar
                                                3 eggs
                                                1 whole orange, including rind, seeds discarded, orange washed (be sure to buy a nice juicy thin-skinned orange for this, to ensure enough juice and to avoid too much pith, which could make it bitter))
                                                1/2 cup milk

                                                Sift flour, baking powder and salt. (I don't. I just whir them up in the food processor before adding the butter)In food processor, work butter into dry ingredients until they are at the "coarse meal" stage. Put into a bowl. In food processor, put in sugar, eggs and orange, whioch you have cut into pieces, and whirl till orange is in tiny bits. Add milk. Stir this into dry ingredients until just moist.Don't overmix. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes (the recipe actually says 45 minutes, but this has to be wrong) or till lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean. Let rest in muffin pan for a few minutes before turning out.

                                                For a coffe cake, pour into a greased 10" tube pan and bake for 45-660 minutes.

                                                1. re: monstagrrrl

                                                  Thanks! That sounds fantastic. I appreciate the recipe (and understand the organizational challenges...)

                                                  As for these being the most flavorful muffins you've had, I'm excited to see how these match up to Caitlin McGrath's spiced pumpkin muffins. At risk of fanning the flames of this already very competitive thread :) , I'd have to say that Caitlin McGrath's pumpkin muffins are really intensely flavorful. I made them the other day, and was really excited about them, and was totally impressed that even I could create such a thing (I'm a savory gal, and not a baker by any means). Hence the picture of the batter and all: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rose_wat...

                                                  I used 1/2 the batter for muffins, and baked half in a loaf pan for about an hour. The only other modification I made was to add a cup of walnuts.

                                                  Moist, spicy, and lovely. Thanks, Caitlin!

                                                  1. re: rose water

                                                    I love your pix rosewater, thanks for sharing.........and I love rose water, have the cutest really really old lovely bottle of the stuff

                                                  2. re: monstagrrrl

                                                    I just dug up this thread from the past recently, because I was wanting to make blueberry muffins and I've found most of the recipes I've tried kind of boring. So, I made this orange muffin recipe and added 2 cups of frozen blueberries. They turned out great.

                                                    I made a couple of other changes too - used 1-1/2 cups white whole wheat flour and 1 cup AP flour, added a little fresh-grated nutmeg, and substituted grapeseed oil for the butter (I'm sure they'd be great with the butter, but my husband has cholesterol issues).

                                                    I feel a muffin phase coming on ! I think I'm going to work my way through some of the other recipes in this thread.

                                                    1. re: chompy

                                                      I watched a blueberry muffin episode on CI and they said it was the best muffin of any kind ever period. I saved the episode and better write it down before it gets erased.........................LIKE MY PASSWORD PLUS APPEARANES GOT ERASED........................AAAAAAAAAAARGH............ok, I feel better now thanks for letting me vent that mishap out.............. :)

                                                        1. re: toveggiegirl

                                                          Here's another CI blueberry muffin recipe. These are my favorite.

                                                          Best Blueberry Muffins - Cook's Illustrated recipe from May/June 2009


                                                          These are really good. You make a quick blueberry jam from some of the blueberries and mix a teaspoon of the jam into the center of each muffin before baking.

                                                          1. re: Antilope

                                                            Oh thanks not sure if it got erased or not. Already made the blueberry jam as per their recipe it's in the fridge in a jar. I made it for a blueberry streusel cake to take to my singing rehearsal. Huge hit. When asked for the recipe couldn't give it, it's only in my mind. I must make these, oh Easter's coming!

                                              2. I like the C.I. basic muffin which is good plain or you can doctor up as: mocha chip, apricot almond, raspberry almond, cranberry walnut orange, lemon blueberry, lemon poppyseed, banana walnut. Here's the basic, if anyone wants a variation, just ask and I'll add it.

                                                3 c flour
                                                1 tbsp baking powder
                                                1/2 tsp baking soda
                                                1/2 tsp salt
                                                10 Tbsp butter, softened
                                                1 c minus 1 tbs granulated sugar
                                                2 large eggs
                                                1 1/2 plain low fat yogurt
                                                vegetable spray or additional butter for greasing tins

                                                Preheat oven at 375. Whisk flour, b powder, b soda, salt.

                                                Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy about 2 mins. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after addition. Beat in half dry, 1/3 yogurt, remaining dry, in two batches, alternation with yogurt.

                                                Put batter in greased tins. Bake 25-30 minutes until brown. Set on rack, 5 minutes, remove.

                                                To add cinnamon to top, dip muffins in warm butter and dip in mixture of 1/2 c. sugar, 2 tsp cinnamon (this is really good).

                                                1. My neighbour at the cottage makes the most amazing muffins. The recipe is at home but the secret ingredients are a whole orange (peel and everything) in the food processor and lots of dates, chopped finely. It is amazingly moist with an intense orange flavour. I will dig out the recipe if this one interests you.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Mila

                                                    Here the recipe:

                                                    Swamper's Muffins

                                                    1 1/2 cups flour
                                                    3/4 cup sugar
                                                    1 tsp baking soda
                                                    1 tsp baking powder
                                                    1/2 tsp salt
                                                    1 whole orange
                                                    1/2 cup orange juice
                                                    1 egg
                                                    1/2 cup melted butter
                                                    1/2 cup dates or raisins - I prefer the dates

                                                    Place all dry ingredients in a bowl and mix.
                                                    Cut orange in six pieces and grind all wet ingredients in a blender, including dates or raisins.
                                                    Mix wet with dry until blended.
                                                    Place in individual cups in a muffin tin and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
                                                    Makes 12 medium to large muffins.


                                                    1. re: Mila

                                                      yum, for me, no doubt at all, definitely DATES!

                                                  2. I love the muffins on the kellogs all bran box. I always add raisins.this is the one recipe I always come back too.

                                                    1. The muffin I've made for years and can't stop eating (yes, this is my criteria for good food) is a Moosewood (original recipe) banana bread recipe with chocolate chips added. The whole wheat flour and chocolate chips together are a nice balance of healthy and decadent. They have the perfect texture the first day but the tops get soggy as they are stored--and if they are over-cooked, they can turn out dry.

                                                      I used to make a terrific morning glory muffin with carrots, raisins, pecans and pineapple in large batches--but have no idea where the recipe is. Hmm. I remember it's written inside a cookbook flap and will look for it if you are interested?

                                                      1. my mom had a gorgeous banana bread recipe that was great as muffins, fluffy and not too sweet, it had marmalade in it. i can find the recipe if you'd like

                                                        1. banana bread/muffins, with Marmalade? recipe, yes, please!

                                                          8 Replies
                                                          1. re: morebubbles

                                                            ok i will phone my mom and ask, i will post it soon, keep looking

                                                            1. re: RiJaAr

                                                              ok, here goes, this makes a lot of muffins as its adapted from a bread recipe..so feel free to half it.

                                                              2 cups sugar
                                                              1 cup oil
                                                              6 ripe bananas
                                                              3/4 cup marmalade
                                                              4 eggs
                                                              2 cups white flour
                                                              1 cup whole wheat flour
                                                              1 cup bran
                                                              2 tsp baking soda
                                                              1/2 tsp salt
                                                              1/2 cup coconut

                                                              mix it all together in a bowl (it doesn't really matter which order) and pour ino muffin cups, bake for 30 minutes for muffins or 40-45 min for bread loaves, at 375 F.
                                                              works even better if you take bananas that are turning brown and freeze them first, they get black and mushy, and it really brings out the banana flavor

                                                              1. re: RiJaAr

                                                                this would be good with a few walnuts or maybe pecans added too

                                                                1. re: RiJaAr

                                                                  These sound really good ... I'm not a big fan of coconut (and not much of a baker although I can follow a recipe), any ideas for using something other than coconut?

                                                                  1. re: SLO

                                                                    I'm not a fan of coconut either, but I usually just leave it out in a recipe or in this recipe you could substitute it with another nut, such as walnuts or pecans as RiJaAr mentions (thanks RiJaAr!)

                                                                    1. re: SLO

                                                                      the coconut is optional, sometimes i don't put it in, it tastes the same, you actually can't really taste the coconut in it, it just adds a little something

                                                                    2. re: RiJaAr

                                                                      well RiJaAr, I AM a big fan of coconut. only thing I gotta buy = bananas.
                                                                      looks wonderful, but I will cut it in half for the purpose of muffin making. thanks

                                                                      1. re: RiJaAr

                                                                        thanx so much RiJaAr ! Absolutely delicious ! I had to join up to chowhound just so as I could say thank you so very much. Just started on muffins a few weeks ago, and these are the absolute best, so very light and fluffy. I assume this was because of adding baking soda, which we aussies call bi-carb soda. This recipe produced 24 good size muffins, with a nice muffin top. I mixed all dry ingredients in one bowl, whisked the 4 eggs in a separate bowl - this helped mashing bananas, marmalade and oil, then added that to the dry. All I added was a tablespoon of LSA (linseed, sunflower and almond seed). Perfectly cooked in 25 mins at 190 C

                                                                        Thanks Mrs Smith for putting up this challenge - this recipe is a definite winner! However, I see the post is heading for 6 years old - how fabulous to be able to find such winners on the net !

                                                                  2. The following recipe is good and a bit healthier with the substitution of whole wheat pastry flour, butter instead of margarine (shudder) and slightly less honey/molasses than the amount of sugar listed, (mostly honey with just a bit of molasses to give the brown sugar flavor without the sugar edge). The brown sugar is okay, too, if you prefer:


                                                                    1. Cook's Illustrated also has the best recipe for a bran muffin I've found yet. I believe it's in the '98 collection, called something like Bakery Bran Muffins, and includes butter, sour cream, molasses, wheat bran, and raisins.

                                                                      I also found a recipe for "Happy Morning" muffins, what's often Called "Morning Glory" muffins. It's from a cookbook called Small Batch Baking. It's basically a less sweet carrot cake without the frosting, and fabulous. I prefer to make muffins in small batches, 'cause they're so much better fresh.

                                                                      As to the orange muffins, try using Boyjian (sp?) orange oil. You won't need much. That, and orange juice for the liquid should do the trick. The bakery that made those muffins may have used Fior di Sicilia or a similar flavoring, which is a mix of vanilla and citrus. It's what pannetone smells like, if that's familiar. The only source that I know sells to the public is King Arthur Flour Co., and it's pricey, but a little goes a long way.

                                                                      1. This is my favorite muffin, raspberry cream cheese. I don't make them often because I will just eat them all until they are gone!


                                                                        I'm working on a raspberry ricotta muffin made with fresh raspberries...still has some kinks to work out.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: Jpan99

                                                                          this web site is down. do you have the recipe to post? if so could you please?

                                                                        2. I wish you could have been with me this morning at Du Pars. They have the best bran muffin I have EVER had in my life which is why I am here looking for that magic ingredient that made the top so sweet and chewy like a fabulous oatmeal cookie only bran. Is it honey? This is an OLD place in Los Angeles with 3 locations, all of which feature this fabulous muffin. I made a special trip just to pick up 2 of them and for $2.75 each no less!!!

                                                                          1. Well this is fun to bring back.. and since I saw one Eating well muffin up top, I wanted to add this one - which is similar to the Apple Bran, but quite possibly the best thing ever:

                                                                            Orange-Date Pumpkin Muffins


                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: reannd

                                                                              Used to adore the date nut loaf from Van DeCamps a hundred years ago that you'd buy in either their cafe or at the market. so rich, soooo moist, sooo good. wish I could do a muffin sorta like that

                                                                            2. Orange-Raisin Muffins

                                                                              1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
                                                                              1-Tbsp baking powder
                                                                              1/2 tsp salt
                                                                              1/4 cup granulated sugar
                                                                              1 egg, beaten
                                                                              zest from 1 medium orange
                                                                              juice from 1 medium orange (or 1/4 cup orange juice)
                                                                              1/2 cup milk
                                                                              1/3 cup vegetable oil
                                                                              3/4 cup raisins (I use golden raisins)

                                                                              Preheat oven to 400 F.

                                                                              Mix dry ingredients in a bowl (flour, baking powder, salt, sugar).

                                                                              Mix wet ingredients in another bowl (egg, orange zest, orange juice,
                                                                              milk, oil). Combine ingredients, stir until just mixed, don't beat.

                                                                              Fold in raisins. Spoon into 12 standard muffin cups. Fill cup each about
                                                                              half full (about 2 Tbsp each).

                                                                              Bake 17-22 minutes at 400 F.

                                                                              For more orange flavor, substitute 1/4 cup of orange juice concentrate
                                                                              (from frozen - undiluted) for the orange juice above.

                                                                              1. I have been muffin-crazy lately, myself. I don't like muffins to be all that sweet - I don't like breakfasts that taste like dessert. When I make this recipe for whole wheat chocolate chip pumpkin muffins, I will reduce the sugar a bit (and add more chocolate chips!).


                                                                                I also love my grandma's banana bread recipe, which is simple, has a great texture, and again isn't too sweet.

                                                                                1/2 c. sugar
                                                                                1/2 c. butter (can cut to 1/3 c. but is alittle dryer
                                                                                )2 eggs
                                                                                3 mashed bananas (2 if very large bananas)
                                                                                3 Tablespoons sour milk (I usually just add a tad of lemon juice or vinegar, and it doesn't have to be exact, I've found.
                                                                                1 tsp. soda
                                                                                2 c. flour
                                                                                1/2 tsp salt (says a "pinch"!)
                                                                                1 cup walnuts--optional

                                                                                Bake 1 hr. in slow oven 325

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: saraeanderson

                                                                                  my banana bread is very similar to this recipe. so easy, not too sweet because like you, I adapted the recipe in a few ways, to make it mine. I made 3 loaves one morning years ago, to take to the salon. I only took one as I knew the kids would love coming home to the other one, planned to freeze the 3rd. Came home @ 3 just when they'd walked in or so I thought. they'd brought friends, both loaves....................gone! :) that's a testiment though, they are so moist

                                                                                2. Check out the Zucchini Raisin Bran Muffins at the link below. I use golden raisins and replace 1/2 of the butter with 1/4 cup mashed banana to cut down on fat content.


                                                                                    1. re: Jibe

                                                                                      Oh geeze, my husband the orange freak would love this. It's on the list now. Gotta eat up those I just made first though. I'm gonna weigh 1803 lbs.. :( < by the time I'm done

                                                                                    2. I cant believe that Marcy Goldman's lawsuit muffins have not been mentioned.


                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: pamelo

                                                                                        This is to Pamelo.....................

                                                                                        I'll be making these. Wonder if the apple and blueberry combo would work?

                                                                                      2. hum, I have macadamia nuts, papaya, mango, guava, hum.........................................sounds like the makins of a muffin to me............... :}

                                                                                          1. re: skippy66

                                                                                            shut the absolute front door! OML! I gotta do this one next, guess who owns buttermilk? guess who didn't know what else to do with it except for the chicken recipe I did yesterday? guess who does now :)))))

                                                                                            1. re: skippy66

                                                                                              3 guesses first two don't count what I'm making today.
                                                                                              but first, off to buy more butter and sugar.
                                                                                              I'll post, and I won't the entire batch today.
                                                                                              Family coming on Monday so I'll do the rest then, want 'em good and hot and dip worthy....

                                                                                              1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                Not so hotso.
                                                                                                I made 'em.
                                                                                                Did all was supposed to do.
                                                                                                Even so, the flavor was there, but not spectacular unfortunately. I mean, I expected a lot of butter flavor, there are 3 sticks of butter, so ? ? ?
                                                                                                Only thing I did differently was to cut back on the amount of sugar in the batter. It called for 1 3/4 cup and I used 1 1/2 cup. Shouldn't have mattered. So the main problem is, they looked nothing like the photo, but then that's not that big a deal, they came apart though and that is. They were more muffin tops than muffins. They split and the bottom half came away from the top. I only did 6 so I'll bake off the rest of them when the family comes. With my high expectations, I wished they'd have turned out better. For now, I won't make again. Loved the idea.

                                                                                                1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                  what kind of butter did you use? i know how disappointing recipe failure can be, esp after people rave, but in case you want to try a different recipe, i've used this one http://www.thefoodsection.com/foodsec... ; however, i also add vanilla to the mix, as i believe that most recipes benefit from the addition of vanilla, or increasing the amount if it's already called for... :) sorry for your poor turnout!

                                                                                                  1. re: Emme

                                                                                                    It's the same recipe minus a stick of butter. I've made these muffins using the recipe from Fine Cooking many times and they've always come out great. Not being a fan of "hot" muffins, I always make these the night before I plan on serving them. Spray the muffin pans (I use Pam for baking), tip them out of the pans when they're cool enough to handle, brush them with butter, roll them in the cinnamon sugar and then let them sit overnight. I've never had any trouble with them and everyone loves them.

                                                                                                    1. re: skippy66

                                                                                                      skippy, I used those floppy silpat muffin tins, you know what I'm talking about? the new fangled baking containers that are soft rubber? it's a 6 muffin tin muffin tin and that's maybe the problem. also, I buttered and floured as stated, but kuhput, no too swift

                                                                                                    2. re: Emme

                                                                                                      you're so kind thank you.
                                                                                                      it calls for no vanilla which I noticed from the start and thought that was odd.
                                                                                                      challenge butter, 3 cubes, fresh and unsalted

                                                                                                      1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                        today I'll make the end of the batch of doughnut muffins.
                                                                                                        the regular bakers secret muffin tins will be used as will paper muffin cups.
                                                                                                        using the smaller of my ice cream scoops also. thinking the original one
                                                                                                        I used was 1/2 cupper, this next one is 1 1/2 T sized, so much smaller.
                                                                                                        may use two scoops and see how much that first batch rises.
                                                                                                        had one this morning and ate it with my eyes closed.
                                                                                                        it did taste like a cake doughnut, like close to exact [with eyes closed].
                                                                                                        had to close them so I wouldn't keep noticing how different it looked from pix.
                                                                                                        the family is returning tonight and will be here for morning when they'll want to try these.
                                                                                                        oh, also, forgot to mention I think that I used our new convection oven that wasn't preheated.
                                                                                                        not sure how to play with it yet and that could have had something to do with why they fell apart.
                                                                                                        baking time, baking temp, neither the same as regular oven.

                                                                                                    3. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                      I was sooooo disappointed by that recipe too. Mine were too dense - almost rubbery. I hardly ever have a recipe fail.

                                                                                                      1. re: sunsuze

                                                                                                        I make Doughnut Flavored Muffins using the Cook's Illustrated basic muffin recipe with yogurt and only about 3/4 cup butter. The yogurt replaces a lot of the butter. I add cinnamon, nutmeg and mace for the doughnut flavor. The muffins come out light and really good.

                                                                                                        Doughnut Flavored Muffins using Cook's Illustrated basic muffin recipe

                                                                                                2. These blueberry muffins are seriously the best muffins every. Simple to make, with a SUPER fresh, just right blueberry taste. And also, America's Test Kitchen DOES have some of the best basic recipes ever!


                                                                                                  1. OK,OK, I know you've had a million versions of these, but I'd stack mine up against anyone's. I tried to resist posting. I reaaaaaaly did! LOL!

                                                                                                    First Blueberry. I've had blueberry muffin haters wrestle others to the ground for the last one of these:
                                                                                                    1/4 cup soft butter
                                                                                                    3/4 cup sugar
                                                                                                    1 egg, well beaten
                                                                                                    1 1/2 cups pastry flour
                                                                                                    1/2 tsp salt
                                                                                                    2 tsp baking powder
                                                                                                    1/2 cup milk
                                                                                                    1 cup blueberries
                                                                                                    Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and mix well. Add sifted dry ingredients alternately with milk. Fold in blueberries. Fill buttered muffin tins 2/3 fulll and bake 15-20 minutes at 375 F.

                                                                                                    From the late lamented Poor Williams in

                                                                                                    Sweet Potato Muffins
                                                                                                    14 oz can of sweet potato or pumpkin puree ( only use Stokely's) or 1 1/4 cups if making puree yourself
                                                                                                    3 eggs
                                                                                                    1/2 cup melted butter
                                                                                                    1/2 cup milk
                                                                                                    2/3 cup brown sugar
                                                                                                    vanilla to taste
                                                                                                    Combine in a large bowl. In another bowl sift together dry ingredients.
                                                                                                    2 cups flour
                                                                                                    1/2 tsp baking soda
                                                                                                    2 tsp baking powder
                                                                                                    1/4 tsp nutmeg
                                                                                                    pinch cloves
                                                                                                    chopped nuts to taste ( I use walnuts as the restaurant did)
                                                                                                    Combine wet and dry ingredients gently until just mixed. Bake at 400 F for 20 minutes.

                                                                                                    Cornmeal Surprise muffins
                                                                                                    our favourite as children
                                                                                                    1/2 cup soft butter
                                                                                                    1/4 cup sugar
                                                                                                    1 egg
                                                                                                    1 1/2 cups milk
                                                                                                    1 cup flour
                                                                                                    1 cup cornmeal
                                                                                                    2 1/2 tsp baking powder
                                                                                                    1/2 tsp salt
                                                                                                    beat butter with sugar and egg until creamy. gradually stir in milk. Mix dry ingredients together in another bowl. Make a well and add liquid ingredients and stir until just mixed.Fill muffin tin and top each one with a tsp of jam. When it bakes the jam will sink and be in the middle. Bake in greased muffin ctin for 20-25 minutes at 350 F.
                                                                                                    This recipe will also make cornbread if baked 10 minutes longer in a square 8x8, eliminating the jam, or Johnny cake if you drizzle it with maple syrup.
                                                                                                    I'm dying to know your results!

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: dianne0712

                                                                                                      just popped sweet potatoes in the oven to make your muffins, thanks

                                                                                                    2. I see this thread was started in 2005, but is very much alive!
                                                                                                      This muffin recipe:
                                                                                                      impressed me very much--you can taste both the carrots *and* the peanuts--together, the whole muffin is unique and delicious.

                                                                                                      1. I have been searching for a recipe that I believe came from the la brea bakery, and the recipe was in the letters section of Gourmet about 15 years ago, maybe longer. It was for bran, date, and honey muffins. It was super sticky and good. I have been totally unsuccessful in my web searches, this recipe is not in their cookbooks (la brea), and I would love to find it. any suggestions?

                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: barbara k

                                                                                                          Maybe a phone call to La Brea could be helpful? Maybe someone there knows of the recipe and if they do they could possibly point to where it might be found on print. What could it hurt?

                                                                                                          1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                            I had e-mailed them without success, a call would make sense!

                                                                                                            1. re: barbara k

                                                                                                              I just called La Brea bakery on Strathern in Van Nuys, Ca. I left a message with the customer service dept which closes @ 7:30 pm Central time. I'm late in calling so asked for a return call. 818-742-4242

                                                                                                        2. Happy Easter!
                                                                                                          This morning I made the doughnut muffins for church again. Different though because I used the method of meling vanilla ice cream subbing out the other wet but still using the buttermilk. I also used no paper cups just did them straight up in the tins. I took them out, put them in the melted butter, then upside down in the melted butter and then rolled them around in cinnamon sugar. I have 4 coffee grinders and used one to make colored sugars with raw sugar and concentrated colors [so turned into colored powdered sugar]. Sieved it over the tops of each muffin and the flavor was wonderful and intense, the colors of each pretty too.

                                                                                                          1. I eagerly await the perfect recipe for 4X chocolate muffins.
                                                                                                            I'm wondering if anyone has tried chocolate muffin including chocolate syrup or chocolate chips or shavings or cocoa powder and then doing a ganache over all? I mean to me and my mouth, I could die thinking about it but don't know how to perfectly execute it, maybe even a Hershey's kiss in the middle of the dough so it melts.? Am I way off base here?

                                                                                                            8 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                              These are really good:

                                                                                                              Devil's Food Chocolate Muffins with chocolate chips. I use the Ghirardelli 60% cacao chocolate chips when I make this recipe:


                                                                                                              1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                I have made chocolate muffins with chocolate chips, piped in a chocolate fluff frosting center, and covered w/ chocolate ganache. Then I added a curlycue stripe of white chocolate across the top so they look like home made hostess cupcakes.

                                                                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                  Sounds deeelicious - but sounds more like a cupcake than a muffin :)

                                                                                                                  1. re: maplesugar

                                                                                                                    It's a fine line between a cup cake and a muffin, sometimes just a matter of when I eat it.;-) At breakfast, it becomes a muffin.

                                                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                      True...after all muffins are probably the breakfast pastries with the best PR. I think for me the chocolate itself doesnt define it as dessert...I have a recipe for banana bread that I make marbled (subbing cocoa for some of the flour) it's the presence of frosting.

                                                                                                                      1. re: maplesugar

                                                                                                                        I think my all time favourite muffin is from Giada on the Food Network for some Lemon Ricotta Biscuits (muffins). They are moist, lemony and simply divine! I upped the lemon and used whole wheat pastry flour.


                                                                                                                      2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                        Truly, it is a fine line. I've been wondering how I call something sweet and topped with glaze a muffin. I think it just makes me feel better about eating it.

                                                                                                                    2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                      ......wait, I have to sit down...................auh........

                                                                                                                  2. At last tally, my muffin was in the lead...updates since?

                                                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: Funwithfood

                                                                                                                      I'm afraid Mrs. Smith hasn't been seen since before the switch to CNET, i.e., in several years, so the muffin scores will stay frozen in time. Take comfort in the fact that at last count, yours was the winner!

                                                                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                        However, I'm confident if she were back *I* would be the winner. I was merely awaiting my award (I'll take the monument, not the medal, thanks!).

                                                                                                                        I miss Mrs. Smith.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Smokey

                                                                                                                          Perhaps you could take up where she left off...if you can be objective! :)

                                                                                                                          1. re: Funwithfood

                                                                                                                            Did you kill off Mrs. Smith to cement your lead Funwithfood?

                                                                                                                      2. Since people are still posting replies with good muffin recipes, I'll add my latest try, although in deference to those who think that some muffins should be called cupcakes, this may be one of those recipes. But, I liked it...


                                                                                                                        I will enjoy making some of these recipes above. Thanks,

                                                                                                                        1. I just stumbled onto this thread and I know it's been years since the first post, but I wanted to add a recipe since I gathered all of yours.