Thursday, 27 August 2009

Musing on Muffins

I DON'T do muffins. I CAN do muffins, but almost every recipe I try is greeted with the cry "They're OK, but I prefer the muffins you buy". Is it any wonder I don't bother with them?*

I don't know what makes the difference. Are shop-bought muffins really just large cupcakes, and technically not a muffin at all? Is it the emulsifiers and humectants and so on which make commercial muffins light and airy but claggy in the mouth, or a different type of recipe? Do I put in too many chocolate chips, or too much fruit, and make them too rich? Is my son addicted to artificial chemicals and flavourings?

However, muffins are useful. There are inevitably days when even a dedicated cake maker can't find the time or energy to cook, even when there's no cake in the house; that's when I buy muffins. 'Cake' is still available, and in a form not to be sneered at as inferior to what is usually provided.

* the one noble, and definitely notable, exception to this pattern are Dan Lepard's Chocolate Custard Muffins which must be declared the best chocolate muffins in the world, as my son thinks they are better than shop-bought muffins.


Sweet and Savory said...

Just the name of this muffin sounds delicious.

I love to make muffins because they are quick and easy but also because I can be creative with them. I fill them with caramel or peanut butter, marshmallow, chocolate chips or jelly. They become more than muffins.

Suelle said...

I've just looked at the muffin recipes on your site - the idea of hiding unexpected treats inside is lovely. I'll have to try it sometime. Do try Dan Lepard's recipe if you have weighing scales - they really are intensely chocolatey. There aren't blobs of custard inside - that refers to the method which makes a thick 'custard' then stirs in the flour - but they are still brilliantly good.