In a recent post I gave away all my secrets when I taught you how to make muffins that are so great, your friends will call you a genius. Reader feedback has been off the chart. In fact, that’s exactly what I was thinking about last Saturday morning as I was making muffins for brunch.

I was all ready to fill the muffin cups with batter when I remembered that I’d used every last one of my cupcake paper liners. I was in no mood to go to the store. Muffin batter is not kind to those who do not move it quickly to the oven once the wet ingredients have been stirred in.

I wanted to kick myself because I’d planned to splurge and order these very nice Tulip Muffin Papers online …

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…but at the last minute felt myself beginning to choke at the price of $12.95 for 24 including shipping, or $.54 cents each.

How dumb would that be to spend twice the cost of the muffin just to bake it in a very cool looking throw away “paper?” Don’t answer. And don’t hate me when I tell you how much I wished that I’d ordered them anyway because at that moment I really needed them.

Back to my dilemma.

I really do not like to bake muffins in a muffin pan without paper liners. The batter tends to flow onto the pan as the muffins rise, making them ugly and difficult to remove. And then once removed to cool, their poor little bodies are all exposed, which makes them get all dried out and crusty well before their time.

Right about then, I got to thinking: What if …

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My photography skills leave much to be desired, but trust me on this: It worked so well, no more cupcake paper liners for muffins in my little bakery. My DIY tulip papers are way superior because they keep all of the muffin in the cup; not even the muffin top spills out. And besides, they look like they came from a quaint little French bakery.

Here’s how I did it:

I used parchment paper cut into 6-inch squares for these regular-size muffins, forming them over a small can of tomato paste (a small juice glass would work as well) then sliding my hand down the side of the can to “pleat” the paper to conform to the size of the can. Because parchment paper is sturdy, it will hold this shape very well.

Filling these muffin papers without making a mess all over the sides of the paper is a little tricky, just go slow and easy. Or pour your batter into  disposable cake decorating bag or a gallon-size zip lock bag to fill the muffin cups. I tried the zip bag idea a few days after these pics were taken, cutting off one of the bottom corners just large large enough to allow my blueberries to pass through easily. I filled the cups as if I were decorating a cake. Fabulous results.

Baked in these tulip papers, muffins are a cinch to lift out of the muffin pan to cool, because as I said, everything in contained. Just pick them up by two “ears.”

To open right at the moment of consumption, pull on two opposite “ears” and Viola! There it is, a beautiful, moist, luscious piece of heaven.

For jumbo-size muffins, 7-inch squares of parchment work perfectly when formed over a regular size can, soup size.

I also have a mini-muffin pan. Yes, I made tiny tulip papers for it: 3 1/2-inch squares of parchment formed over a an upside-down prescription bottle. So adorable.

The parchment paper cost $.10 per sheet. I got 6 regular-size tulip muffin papers out of one sheet for a cost of about 1 1/2 cents each.

Question: What have you done lately that made you feel like a genius?

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