A piece of chocolate cake on a plate

Muffins and “Tulips” to Celebrate Spring

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 …

A piece of cake on a plate, with Muffin and Batter

… 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 …

A close up of a rug

 A close up of a device

A cup of coffee on a table, with Muffin and Tulip

A piece of paper

A piece of paper

A close up of a hand

Muffin and Cake

 A plate of food, with Muffin and Bread

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.

A piece of paper

How to Make Tulip Muffin Cups

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.
4.6 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Baking
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 12 tulip muffin cups
Cost: $0.18

Equipment

  • Parchment paper
  • small can

Ingredients

  • 2 sheets 12" x 18" parchment paper
  • 1 6-oz can (see Note 1)

Instructions

  • 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).

Notes

Note 1: Like tomato paste, frozen fruit juice, etc. 
Note 2: Because parchment paper is sturdy, it will hold this shape very well.
Note 3: 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 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 blueberries to pass through easily. I filled the cups as if I were decorating a cake. Fabulous results.
Note 4: 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.
Note 5: For jumbo-size muffins, 7-inch squares of parchment work perfectly when formed over a regular size can, soup size.
Note 6: I also have a mini-muffin pan. Yes, I made tiny tulip papers for it: 3 1/2-inch squares of parchment formed over an upside-down prescription bottle. So adorable.
Tried this recipe?Mention @EverydayCheapskate or tag #EverydayCheapskate!

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.”

Food on a table, with Muffin and Blueberry

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.

 

Food on a table, with Blueberry and Muffin

Blueberry Muffins

Actually, I call them Einstein Muffins. That’s because every time I make them, I feel like a genius. You can feel like a genius, too.
3.84 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Baking
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 22 minutes
Total Time: 37 minutes
Servings: 12 muffins
Calories: 201kcal
Cost: Varies

Ingredients

Muffins

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup white granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk* See instruction #2
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries

Crumb Topping

  • ½ cup white sugar
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup butter, diced
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

  • 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1muffin | Calories: 201kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 140mg | Potassium: 113mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 401IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @EverydayCheapskate or tag #EverydayCheapskate!

And, what muffin post would be complete without this fabulous Banana Muffin recipe? Enjoy!

 

A close up of food, with Banana and Muffin

Banana Muffins

Best banana muffins, ever!
4.5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Baking
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 12 muffins
Calories: 259kcal
Cost: Varies

Ingredients

Muffins

  • 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
  • cup butter, melted

Crumb topping

  • cup tightly packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Instructions

Make Muffins

  • 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.

Notes

For a gluten-free option, substitute all-purpose flour with a measure-for-measure gluten-free flour such as King Arthur Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour or Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour.

Nutrition

Calories: 259kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 259mg | Potassium: 93mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 236IU | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @EverydayCheapskate or tag #EverydayCheapskate!

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6 replies
  1. Awesome Muffins says:

    5 stars
    I used mini loaf pans to bake instead of muffin pans as I didn’t have a muffin pans. Increased baking time to 26 min. Also added 3/4 teaspoon organic vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon organic cinnamon to batter. I used organic for all the ingredients. Love this recipe its a huge hit with family and friends!

    Reply
  2. Jodi Weiss says:

    I buy a 100 count package of non stick “patty paper squares” at my local Dollar Tree. Each sheet measures 5.5 x 5.5 inches. They are a little waxy, do you think they would work in the oven? The size seemed to work.

    Reply
  3. Judy says:

    Mary, reading your instructions on making the tulip liners I am wondering if the parchment paper you are using is the kind I use to line my cookie sheets when baking or the parchment sheets you purchase buy the sheet at the office or hobby stores? There is a big difference in the thickness of them.

    Also today I learned something I never was taught in baking and I am now years passed retirement old and never been a great baker due to my lack of precise-ness. I watched a video that told me to weight, not measure my flour when baking. It demonstrated how I used to pack the cup with flour, level it off and inadvertently packing it down further. I was shown gently filling the cup with the scoop and very lightly level it. Then it was weighed and the standard 4.3/4.4 ounce was increased to 5.3 ounce or more. Wow! It also taught me how to “set” my scale so that it would subtract the weight of the measuring cup and forgo me doing an$ math in my head which would likely result in a mistake in my case.

    Reply
  4. Nancy says:

    I love these parchment paper ideas! I’m doing it!
    My husband loves muffins, one day I was daydreaming and stirred my muffin dough really well, not at all like you’re supposed to. He said those muffins tasted like Starbucks muffins and loved them, so, sometimes you can break the rules.

    Reply

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