If you love the big, tender muffins from a bakery but haven't been able to master them at home, then this recipe is for you. I worked on this recipe for several weeks, making many batches of muffins and experimenting with different ingredient combinations. The hard-working team at my sons' company, LACRM, were more than happy to be my tasters as I delivered batch after batch of muffins to them. They sampled many fruit flavors and ingredient combinations until, with their help, I settled on the best muffins I've ever been able to make in my home kitchen.
One basic batter, endless varieties. In addition to making bakery-style muffins, I wanted to make a delicious basic muffin batter that could be used for any kind of fruit or flavor. Mission accomplished! This recipe can be easily modified for any variety you want. In this post, I'm sharing 8 specific variations on this muffin recipe:
If there's a muffin flavor you want to make that isn't included here, you can customize this recipe for other fruits and flavors, too.
I'll begin by showing you how to mix up a delicious basic batter that's used for all muffin flavors. Then I'll demonstrate making blueberry muffins step-by-step, followed by easy adaptations for 7 more varieties. This post is a long one--not because it's difficult but because I demonstrate so many variations. You can jump right to the recipe if you want to skip my photos and explanation.
Step 1. Assemble the batter ingredients:
Step 2. Prep the fruit. A portion of each of the fruits is mashed like the blueberries and peaches pictured below. (For example, blueberry muffins have 2 cups whole blueberries and 1/2 cup mashed blueberries. Peach muffins have 2 cups chopped peaches and 1/2 cup mashed peaches.) The mashed fruit serves to distribute the flavor throughout the muffin. Bananas are completely mashed before adding them in. The complete recipe explains how to prep different kinds of fruit before mixing them into the muffin batter.
Step 3. Combine the dry ingredients--flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk them together and set aside.
Step 4. Combine the wet ingredients. With an electric mixture, mix the butter and sugar on medium-low speed until light and fluffy. Then add eggs one at a time, mixing in completely after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix completely.
Step 5. On low speed, gradually add the flour and buttermilk, beginning with 1/3 of the flour mixture, then half of the buttermilk, mixing in completely after each addition; repeat, alternating flour mixture and buttermilk and ending with final third of flour mixture. Mix just until combined. Do not overmix! (This makes a thick batter.)
view on Amazon: my KitchenAid stand mixer
Step 6. Gently fold in the whole and mashed fruit, just until evenly combined. Blueberries are pictured below.
view on Amazon: my favorite rubber spatula (perfect for folding in the fruit)
FOLDING TIP: Slowly rotate the bowl as you fold the fruit into the batter. By the time the bowl circles around, the fruit should be evenly mixed in. Like this:
Step 7. Line muffin pan with paper liners, or spray each cup with cooking spray. Use a scoop to evenly fill muffin cups. The batter will fill each cup and slightly mound over the top.
Step 8. If you're adding nuts, sprinkle them over tops. Then sprinkle tops with sugar. The sugar will form a delicious, crunchy crust on top when they bake. Yum!
Watch me scoop and sugar the muffins:
Step 9. Bake the muffins, removing them from the oven when they are browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Leave them in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring them to a baking rack. Those beautiful blueberry muffins are the best!
view on Amazon: cooling rack
Blueberry muffins are hands-down the most popular flavor of them all, but there are so many more delicious varieties to choose from. Here's how to make 7 more fruit varieties. They all use the same batter and basic instructions with a few modifications.
Don't mash any of the berries before folding them into the batter. These berries are fragile and some will break apart as they are folded in, so there's no need to mash any of them in advance. If blackberries are large, cut each one in half before folding into batter.
Peach muffins are shown below, but the instructions are the same for other stone fruits like nectarines and apricots. Batter modifications: add cinnamon to dry ingredients and substitute almond extract for the vanilla in the wet ingredients. Chop the fruit in half-inch pieces, leaving it unpeeled. Mash a portion of the fruit with a fork, or dice it with a knife if it's too firm to easily mash. Optional nuts: add sliced almonds to tops of muffins before sprinkling tops with sugar. (The peach muffins are pictured without added nuts.)
Cherries are also a stone fruit and are made like the peach muffins above. Pit the cherries and mash a portion of them with a fork, or dice them with a knife if they're too firm to easily mash. Batter modifications: add cinnamon to dry ingredients and substitute almond extract for the vanilla in the wet ingredients. Optional nuts: add sliced almonds to tops of muffins before sprinkling tops with sugar.
view on Amazon: cherry pitter
Batter modifications: add cinnamon and nutmeg to dry ingredients. Use very ripe bananas, and mash them all with a fork before folding into the batter. Optional nuts: add chopped walnuts to tops of muffins before sprinkling tops with sugar.
Precook the apples! (This is an added step, but it improves the flavor and texture of the apples significantly.) Chop unpeeled Granny Smith apples and brown them in butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon, stirring often. Allow them to cool for at least 10 minutes.
Fold the browned and cooled apples into the basic batter. Optional nuts: sprinkle tops of muffins with chopped pecans. Sugar topping modification: combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon, and sprinkle it on top of the muffins before baking.
view on Amazon: apple corer/slicer (I use this first, and then quickly add a few chops with a knife)
Cranberries are very tart, so first sweeten them with some additional sugar. In a small bowl, combine whole and mashed cranberries, sugar, and zest from one orange (zest is optional). Set aside to macerate for 30 minutes before folding into batter. Optional nuts: add chopped pecans to tops of muffins before sprinkling tops with sugar.
Batter modifications: Add pumpkin pie spice to dry ingredients. After adding eggs to wet ingredients, mix in 1 can of plain pureed pumpkin; then add dry ingredients and buttermilk per batter instructions. Optional nuts: add chopped pecans to tops of muffins. Sugar topping modification: combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice; sprinkle on top of each muffin. (Use purchased pumpkin pie spice, or use my recipe to make your own.)
Make mini muffins, too! This recipe works just as well for 24 mini-size muffins. They're an especially good size for snacking or serving at a brunch or breakfast. The smaller size allows people to try more than one flavor, if they like. They're also a great size to share at work or a pot luck. Mini banana nut muffins are picture below.
TIP for distinguishing between different muffin varieties. If you're making more than one kind of muffin that will be served together on a platter, it can be difficult to tell them apart. The simple solution is to add a piece or two of fruit on top of each muffin before baking them. The fruit on top makes it easy to distinguish the different muffins at a glance. (Add the fruit before sprinkling sugar on top.) Here are examples of some of my muffins:
To store the muffins, leave them uncovered at room temperature or cover them lightly with a dish or paper towel. Or, put them on a plate inside a paper bag. DON'T put them in a sealed plastic container, or you'll end up with soggy muffins and you'll lose that delicious sugar crust on top. I was surprised to find that these muffins are almost as good the 2nd day as when they are freshly baked as long as they are stored properly. By the 3rd day, I needed to zap them for 10-15 seconds in the microwave to bring them back to life.
Make this master recipe your own! Customize the basic batter with other spices, extracts, fruits, or a combination of fruits. Try stirring in 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips or raisins--how about an apple raisin combo or pumpkin with chocolate chips? The possibilities are truly endless. If you decide to add some stir-ins, reduce the amount of fruit by an equal amount--this will keep the ingredients in balance so you will have the right consistency and volume for 12 muffins.
At last, bakery-style muffins at home! This versatile recipe has resulted in so many tasty muffins from my oven lately. It's hard to pick a favorite. I particularly liked pumpkin, peach and blueberry. The taste testers especially raved about the peach and raspberry. It's a personal preference thing, to be sure. Please share in the comments section below if you make a batch with a different flavor. I'd love to hear what other muffin flavors people create.
Make it a Yummy day!