Muffin Madness

September 2011 Edmund Smethwyck

It’s the start of a new year here at HOL, and to all the brand new Eagles, welcome! This year my column will be discussing something incredibly important to the safety and well-being of all of Ravenclaw and HOL: baking! A good pastry can solve all sorts of problems, and they’re just plain delicious. For all the new students in Ravenclaw, one of the first things you need to know about Ravenclaw is that Eagles love muffins. Muffins…yum! Here are two recipes for muffins that are both simple to make and delicious!

The first muffin of this month is a simple spice muffin. This recipe was originally a completely basic muffin recipe, simply dough-flavored, and from there, spices were added, as well as a simple glaze, because there’s never a reason not to glaze something! The basic recipe is as follows, which could easily be changed into any sort of muffin that you prefer.

Basic Muffins

  • 2 cups flour (any combination of all-purpose, whole wheat, rye, or buckwheat flour) (I personally used 1 cup of all-purpose and 1 cup of whole wheat for spice muffins, as I’ve found that whole wheat flour gives a spice muffin that ‘homey’ feel and keeps the muffins softer for longer)
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar or packed brown sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup sour cream or plain yogurt (Other options include ¾ cup applesauce or ¾ cup canned pumpkin, which are more situational but equally as effective)
  • ¾ cup milk or buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter (or vegetable oil)

With this recipe, you can essentially add any flavorings that you desire. Chocolate chip muffins? Easy, just toss chocolate chips into the batter before baking, perhaps use oats with the flour. Peanut butter muffins? Simple! Just take out the vegetable oil and add peanut butter to taste. Have fun experimenting with the recipe. Following is the list of spices that I added for the spice muffins:

  • 1 teaspoon mace (Mace comes from the covering of the nutmeg fruit seed, and nutmeg can easily be substituted here)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves

Again, feel free to change these spices, and have fun experimenting – life’s no fun if it’s always the same!

To make these muffins, combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl, leaving a well in the middle when mixed. Combine the wet ingredients in a separate bowl, and when mixed, pour the wet ingredients into the well in the dry ingredients, and mix with a spoon until just mixed. You’ll want the batter to be slightly lumpy, so don’t worry if it’s not perfectly smooth like a cake or brownie batter would be.

Take the batter and pour evenly into 12 greased or sprayed muffin cups. Bake in a 400° oven for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown (this will be easier to see if no whole-wheat flour was used). Take the muffins out of the oven, and let cool in muffin cups for 5 minutes, before removing the muffins to a wire cooling rack. If desired, drizzle a simple glaze of powdered sugar and milk onto the muffins, and enjoy!

As is expected of a recipe, here’s a picture of these muffins:

Now that we’ve got some delicious spice muffins, it’s time for more muffins! I would feel terrible if I didn’t include some sort of encouragement to all you Eagles to join the Quidditch team, because it’s just so much fun! With that being said, here’s another simple recipe for Golden Snitch Muffins!

Golden Snitch Muffins

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (Unlike the previous recipe, I would not recommend whole wheat flour for this recipe; you will lose a lot of the corn flavor that makes these so delicious.)
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal (If you have access to a store that sells masa, I would strongly recommend using that in place of the cornmeal. Both are delicious, but the masa turns them from corn muffins to corncake muffins, and everyone loves cake, right?)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup plain yogurt or sour cream
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs

For this recipe, there is a slight difference in production from the spice muffins. Take ¾ cup of the sugar and the butter, and using an electric mixer or hand mixer, cream them, scraping the edges of the bowl occasionally. Once fully creamed, add the eggs one at a time. Now that you have a rather yellow soupy mixture in your mixing bowl, add your wet and dry ingredients, alternating between the two. Try to leave 1 cup of flour or masa as the last ingredient to be added, because you will still want a relatively lumpy batter at the end.

Once mixed, add the batter to muffin cups and bake for 18-20 minutes in a 375° oven. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then transfer the muffins to a wire cooling rack for another 10 minutes before serving. In my experience, there is almost always extra batter; if you have a mini loaf pan, the extra should fit perfectly, and can go in the oven with the muffin pan.

For fun, wings can be added to these muffins to give the appearance of Golden Snitches; here’s a picture!

For some, starting at a new school can be tough; I’m hopeful that your stay at HOL will be a great one! To both new students and not-so-new students, I encourage you to meet new people – and have a muffin! Until next time, stay On The Edge!