Spiced Muffins

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Spiced Muffins

I woke up this morning in the mood for something out of the norm. I wanted something sweet, but with a kick. I wanted the spice to stick to the back of your throat like they say in Kentucky. (At least I think they say that. My internet guy said that and he’s from Kentucky, so I’m comfortable with that gross generalization). The day after making these muffins the spice in the muffin mellows significantly and the flavor produced is just as great (maybe better) than when they first came out of the oven.

The secret to a quality muffin is in appropriate use of the “muffin mixing method.” There are a wide variety of applications of this mixing method such as some cookie recipes, banana bread, and pancakes, but of course the most common baked good it produces is its namesake. Very few things in this world are better for breakfast than a moist, tender muffin.

The basic premise of the muffin method is to combine all of the dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately then to mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Pretty simple right? Some would argue that it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out. I am inclined to agree, but the chemistry and the physics of the method are actually quite interesting.

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The muffin method relies on leavening to create the holes and volume characteristic of muffins. Upon mixing wet and dry ingredients, baking powder releases a bit of carbon dioxide, which creates some gas bubbles prior to baking. In the oven, the second release of baking powder and the release of baking soda work to expand the preexisting bubbles and to create new bubbles. The proteins, starches, and fats are baked around these bubbles creating the many different sizes of holes in the interior of the muffin and the increased volume.

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As the dough is heated, the air expands the foam with the help of carbon dioxide from leaveners and steam from evaporated water. The proteins coagulate (or set) around this air forming the unequal distribution of holes in the interior of muffins. The entire process is similar to inflating a basketball, if we imagine the proteins and starches to be the surface of the basketball.

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Dry Ingredients
AP Flour- 2 ¼ c
Baking Powder- 2 tsp
Baking Soda- 1 tsp
Salt- pinch
Cayenne Pepper- ¼ tsp
Cinnamon- 2 tsp
Allspice- 1/8 tsp

Wet Ingredients
Sugar- ½ c
Butter- ½ c melted
Whole egg- 1
Egg yolk- 1
Greek Yogurt- 1 c
Whole Milk- ¼ c

Maple Syrup Glaze
1 tbs melted butter
2 tbs maple syrup

Directions

  1. Combine Dry Ingredients
  2. Combine Wet Ingredients
  3. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir. Let the batter rest at least 15 minutes.
  4. Fill muffin tins to top and bake on 375 for 18-20 minutes (or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  5. Create glaze by melting butter in microwave then stirring in maple syrup. Brush glaze onto muffin tops.