Muffins are one of those baked goods that seem like the simplest thing in the world…until you go to make them. In all my years in cooking, I never found The One Recipe that could be my muffin. Is it too much to ask for a muffin that is:
- not too sweet
- but nicely sweet
- adaptable to whatever fruit is in season/ the fridge
- somewhat healthy
- and that bakes up rounded without overflowing or sagging
Apparently so, because I never found one.
So, a few weeks ago, I baked and baked, trying all kinds of ratios and ingredients. Just when Michael said “stop! no more muffins,” I found the perfect formula. Eureka, it’s the buttermilk!
These are wonderfully tender and light, even days after being baked. They’re also sweet enough without tasting like cake, packed with soft fresh berries, almost half-whole-wheat and they fill the muffin pan just perfectly. I intend to bake through the year with this base recipe, having already tried rhubarb and looking forward to peach.
A few muffin tips (after too many failed batches):
- Use cupcake liners. Seriously, there is nothing worse than cleaning a muffin tin (said the girl who had to do it 12 times in one day.)
- Add wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir assertively but briefly. I recommend a rubber or silicone spatula. The batter should still have some streaks of flour in it.
- Use buttermilk. I’m not even going to give you the hack for buttermilk because it’s just not as good. Buy a litre then make pancakes on the weekend. It lasts for ages.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (150 g)
- ¾ cup whole-wheat flour (105 g)
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¾ cup sugar (160 g)
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp vanilla
- Zest of 2 limes
- ⅓ cup melted butter (85 g)
- ¾ cup buttermilk (well shaken before measuring)
- 1 cup diced strawberries (½ inch pieces)
- 1 small strawberry, thinly sliced (optional)
- Lime Glaze (below, optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners (or grease well). Whisk flours with baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk sugar very well with egg, vanilla and lime zest. Whisk in butter, then buttermilk.
- Add liquid mixture into flour mixture. Stir, using a rubber spatula, using just a few swift strokes.
- Before mixture is incorporated, add strawberries and stir just 3 or 4 more times or until barely combined. Immediately spoon or scoop into prepared tin. Top each muffin with a slice of strawberry.
- Bake 5 min then reduce heat to 350F and bake another 20 to 25 min or until a cake tester inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 min then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
- Lime Glaze: Add 1 tbsp lime juice to ⅓ cup icing sugar and stir well. Drizzle over warm muffins after transferring them from the pan to the cooling rack.