Who would not want to hang out with a with a rich, delicious friend that was also easy to get along with? Enter the anti-plain-Jane of the quick bread crowd, Easy Vanilla Muffins. I have been making these basic, easy to adapt, rich and rewarding muffins since my days as chief cook and bottle washer at the Taylor Made Muffin Company (another story for another day…this was back when Taylor was a baby in Austin, Texas).
This muffin is larger in size than the standard box muffin mix muffin. I would rather have one zaftig muffin than several scrawny little muffins. Easy Vanilla Muffins use ingredients that are readily found in your pantry. No excuses not to make them! This is a great little recipe to customize. Add fruit, spices, sprinkles, different sugars, chips, coconut, glazes, citrus zest… you get the picture. Make these muffins your own (two easy variations are listed below the master recipe)!
The muffin mixing method is the key to muffin making success. Stir the dry ingredients until blended. Separately, mix the wet (room temperature) ingredients until blended. Pour the wet into the dry and stir until the batter is just blended. Lumps will sort themselves out in the baking process. This gentle mixing makes for a tender muffin. I like to bake my muffins in a 400 degree oven. If your oven runs warm, knock the temperature back to 375 and rotate the muffin pan once during the middle of baking. Cool your muffins in the pan for about 10 minutes and them finish cooling on a wire rack. After they cool, eat or wrap and freeze to serve later.
Easy Vanilla Muffins
Makes 12 large muffins
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons milk, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1.Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray the surface of a 12 cup muffin tray with baking spray. Fill each of the 12 cups with a paper baking cup liner. Set the pan aside.
2. In a large bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. With a whisk, mix the dry ingredients until well-blended (or alternately, sift the dry ingredients to mix well). Set bowl aside.
3. In a small bowl or beaker add the melted butter, milk, beaten eggs and vanilla. Stir with a fork until the liquid is well mixed. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients (liquid) to the center of the well, Using a spoon or large fork mix the muffin batter until the wet and dry ingredients are just blended. Some lumps are O.K.
4. Using spoons or a scoop, put an equal amount of muffin batter into each of the 12 muffin cups. Place the muffin pan on top of a baking sheet (if desired). Bake the muffins for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they have risen and are light golden brown of the edges. Remove the muffins from the oven, cool for 10 minutes in the muffin pan. Remove muffins from pan and finish cooling on a wire baking rack. Serve muffins warm or at room temperature.
Cinnamon Sugar Topped Muffins: After cooling baked muffins for 10 minutes, remove them from the muffin pan. Dip the top of a muffin into melted butter. Immediately dip the muffin into a bowl of cinnamon sugar (granulated sugar plus cinnamon to taste, mixed). Repeat process with remaining muffins. Finish cooling the muffins on a wire rack. Serve.
Berry Muffins: Add 1 cup of fresh blueberries, blackberries, raspberries (or combination thereof) to the mixed dry ingredients. Toss the berries in the flour to coat. Add the wet ingredients and mix batter until just blended. Bake the muffins in the prepared muffin pans for 15 to 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool in the pan ten minutes and finish cooling on wire racks. Serve.
Recipe © Sally James Mathis
Photography © Taylor Mathis