In just a bit I am going to give away all my secrets for how to make muffins that are so great your friends and family will call you a genius. But first, I want to show you what happened one Saturday morning as I was in the middle of making a fabulous—if I do say so myself—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 …
… but at the last minute felt myself choking at the price: $24.95 plus $9.95. shipping for 250 elegant muffin/cupcake papers—about $.15 each.
How dumb would that be to spend about 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 …
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. I folded each one twice, diagonally from corner to corner to show me the center. Then I centered and formed them over a small can of tomato paste (a small juice glass would work as well) 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 holds this shape very well.
Filling these muffin “tulip” papers without making a mess all over the sides of the paper is a little tricky, just go slow and easy. What works really well for me is to pour the batter into a 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 enough to allow my blueberry muffin mix 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 voila! 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, like a can of soup.
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 about $.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.
How to Make Tulip Muffin Cups
- Parchment paper
- small can
- 2 sheets 12" x 18" parchment paper
- 1 6-oz can (see Note 1)
- With scissors, cut parchment paper in 12 (6-inch) squares, 6 per sheet parchment
- Form each 6-inch square piece parchment over a small can, sliding your hand down the sides of the can to "pleat" the paper as it conforms to the size of the can (see Note 2).
- To use: Place tulip muffin cups in a muffin pan, fill with batter (see Note 3).
And now for muffins …
I love to bake, however baking has not always liked me. We’ve had our moments. It wasn’t until I surrendered to following recipes exactly that our relationship made the turn. I had to come to the point that I was willing to measure the ingredients, follow directions and believe that little things like “folding in” does not mean “beating it to death,” “one-cup of flour” doesn’t mean, “that looks about right,” and “butter softened,” does not mean “boiling like a witch’s cauldron.”
One day that I will not soon forget, I was reminded about how far I’ve come as a home baker when DPL staffer, Max, could be heard throughout the office, “These blueberry muffins are insane!” Sure, he called them blueberry muffins, but I call them Einstein Muffins. That’s because every time I make them, I feel like a genius. And you can feel like a genius, too—provided you follow these recipes exactly.
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup white granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup milk* See instruction #2
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- ½ cup white sugar
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup butter, diced
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C). Grease 12 muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
To make muffins
- In a bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt, and baking powder.
- *Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Beat slightly with a fork.
- Mix this into the flour mixture, stirring until fully incorporated. Batter will be very thick.
- Fold in blueberries.
- Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.
- Bake for 20-22 minutes or until done. which means when a toothpick is inserted, it comes out just barely clean. Caution: Err on the side of underbaking for the yummiest, moistest muffins. Yield: 12 muffins
To make crumb topping
- Place sugar, flour, butter, and cinnamon in a bowl.
- Mix with a fork until crumbly and sprinkle over muffins before baking.
And, what muffin post would be complete without this fabulous Banana Muffin recipe? Enjoy!
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 or 4 bananas (4 medium or 3 large ripe bananas) mashed
- ¾ cup white, granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- ⅓ cup butter, melted
- ⅔ cup tightly packed brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly grease 12 muffin cups or line with muffin papers.
- In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg, and melted butter.
- Stir the banana mixture and optional walnuts into the flour mixture just until all are moistened.
- Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle crumb topping over the tops
- Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin, comes out clean. Err on the side of underbaking, even if the centers appear to be a little sunken.
Make Crumb Topping
- In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon.
- Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.