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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!