Wonderfully simple, muffins can be plain, sweet or savoury. Master the basic muffin, then experiment with different flavour combinations and enjoy them for breakfast, snacks, lunch or dinner.

Ingredients

  • 310 g (11 oz/ cups) self-raising flour
  • 115 g (4 oz/½ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 375 ml (13 fl oz/ cups) milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 150 g ( oz) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6). Lightly grease a 12-hole standard muffin tin, or line the muffin holes with paper cases.
  2. Sift the flour into a bowl to aerate the flour and ensure a light muffin. Add the sugar to the bowl and stir through the flour. Make a well in the centre. Combine the milk, eggs and vanilla. Pour the liquid into the well in the flour and add the cooled butter. Melted butter doesn’t always combine well with other liquids so it is often added separately. Fold the mixture gently with a metal spoon until just combined. Be careful not to overbeat or the muffins will become tough and rubbery. The mixture should still be lumpy at this stage.
  3. Divide the mixture among the holes using two metal spoons — fill each muffin hole to three-quarters full.
  4. Bake the muffins for 15–20 minutes, or until they are risen, golden and come away slightly from the sides of the holes. Test them by pressing lightly with your fingertips — they are cooked when they feel firm, and spring back. Another test is to insert a skewer into the centre — if it comes out clean they are ready. Most muffins should be left in the tin for a couple of minutes once out of the oven, but don’t leave them too long or trapped steam will make the bases soggy. Using a flat-bladed knife, loosen the muffins and transfer to a wire rack. Serve the muffins warm or cool. Decorate with icing if desired.

Variations

The basic muffin recipe can be adapted to add many flavours. You can use the same tin but the muffin holes will be quite full.

Choc Chip Muffins

Add 260 g ( oz/ cups) choc chips to the flour and replace the caster sugar with 95 g ( oz/½ cup) soft brown sugar.

Blueberry Muffins

Add 300 g (10½ oz/2 cups) blueberries to the flour. If fresh blueberries are not in season, frozen ones can be used. Add them while still frozen to avoid streaking the batter.

Banana Muffins

Add an extra 55 g (2 oz/¼ cup) caster (superfine) sugar and ½ teaspoon mixed spice to the flour and 240 g ( oz/1 cup) mashed ripe banana to the batter. Use only 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) milk. Proceed with the recipe.

Pecan Muffins

Replace the caster sugar with 140 g (5 oz/¾ cup) soft brown sugar. Add 90 g ( oz/¾ cup) chopped pecans with the flour. Mix to distribute, then proceed with the recipe.

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