Panera Bread opened a new bakery-cafe located dangerously close to my home, a situation that gives new meaning to the term “mixed emotions.”

On the one hand my husband and I love their muffins. But at $33 a dozen ($2.75 each), the feeling tends to sour.

muffins

An occasional muffin has never posed a fiscal threat. But with this new location being so handy, that could change quickly had I not made it my business to figure out how to win at the muffin game.

I tell you this not so much as to boast (well, maybe just a little), but to share my recipes and tricks for how to make muffins from scratch that are quick, easy and even more delicious than the ones at Panera, and for less than $4 a dozen, or about $.33 each. 

In less time than it would take to drive to the bakery, wait in line, check out and drive back home, I can make a batch of muffins that blows Panera (or any bakery that I know of) out of the water.

All of these recipes produce muffins that are moist and yummy with a slightly crunchy, sugary-cinnamon crumb topping. Just like the best bakery in town.

Banana Muffins
Serves: 10
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 bananas, mashed (1½ cups)
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
Topping:
  • ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cubed
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly grease 10 muffin cups, or line with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and oil. Add to dry mixture and stir to incorporate. It will be thick. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
  3. To make Topping: In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter. Mix with a fork until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean. You will be tempted to over-bake, but don’t. Yield: 10 muffins.

Blueberry Muffins
Serves: 8-10
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries*
Topping:
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup butter, cubed
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. Fill muffin cups to the top. Distribute blueberries evenly on top of the muffins and then gently push them down into the batter. Sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.
  2. To make Topping: Mix together sugar, flour, butter and cinnamon. Mix with fork and sprinkle over muffins before baking.
  3. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done. Yield: 8 large or 10 regular muffins.
Notes
*Frozen blueberries work if you do not let them thaw out. Increase baking time by a few minutes, making sure you do not over-bake.

 

 

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