Please help avoid more Muffin Disasters

Discussion in 'Pastries & Baking' started by captbligh, May 24, 2011.

  1. captbligh

    captbligh

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    Hi all. I just found and joined with the hope someone could give me advice on baking a decent Butter Rum Muffin. Some background: my wife loves the big 4 inch Butter Rum muffins sold at the local Foodtown. They supposedly bake them there, but they don't really have a bakery so I'm suspicious. Anyway, I agree they taste very good - moist, nicely browned, large overflowing tops. The problem is the store stopped carrying Butter Rum. So I volunteered to bake them for her. I found a recipe on-line and have produced 6 really awful batches. I've done as much research as I can and found a few tips. I follow the muffin technique for combining the ingredients, just folding by hand enough to mix, 12 strokes, lumpy but no dry ingredients. I've tinkered with the basic receipt and compared to other muffin receipt variations. I've adjusted the baking temperature and time. Still lousy muffins - too oily and dense, don't break apart like a muffin should, never a nice brown top, quickly go stale, not that you'd relish eating them a day later (yuck). I'm about to give up. Please help!

    Here's the base recipe I'm working with:

    1 1/3 Cups White Sugar

    2/3 Cup Watkins Original Grapeseed Oil

    4 Eggs

    2 Tbsp. Watkins Baking Powder

    1 teas. Watkins Butter Extract

    1 teas. Watkins Rum Extract

    2 Cups Milk

    4 Cups Flour

    12 oz. Bag Butterscotch Chips

     Bake 375 degrees for 25 minutes. 

    As noted above, I've compared to other muffin recipes and tired adjusting the sugar to flower ratio, adding more baking powder, reducing the oil, without any improvement. I haven't used any Watkins branded products, only generic products. I used regular oil instead of grapeseed oil. They just don't turn out like a muffin should and it getting frustrating tossing them. I haven't tried butter instead of oil. My baking powder is old. (Does baking powder ever go bad.) I'm using a large size muffin pan, about 3.5".

    Any ideas about what I should do for some success in baking a tasty muffin you'd actually enjoy eating?   

    They also are turning out pale on top. What's the secret to have them brown on top?

    Another nuisance: The butterscotch chips act like little volcanoes. The chips melt and erupt, running to the edge of the pan cup, leaving an empty crater where the chips were. How do you stop that from happening?

    Another question: How do the commercial or professional bakers get the large top that overhangs the cup? My guess is they overfill the cup and the batter overflows while baking. How full should the cup be to get this result?

    Thanks for any advice you can offer.
     
  2. pastrypassion

    pastrypassion

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    Everything can go bad.  If it's too old..throw it out and buy new baking powder.  It's not a huge investment, but it is important as it's the leavener and it's needed.

    Here's one that's very simple to use:
    • 1/2 cup  butter, softened
    • 1/2 cup  sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 2 cups  all-purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons  baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon  salt
    • 1/8 teaspoon  ground cloves
    • 1/8 teaspoon  ground nutmeg
    • 1/2 cup  milk
    • 5 tablespoons  rum, divided
    • 3 tablespoons  sugar
    • Beat butter at low speed until creamy, then add in sugar. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.
    • Combine flour and next 4 ingredients. Combine milk and 3 tablespoons rum. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Spoon into greased muffin pans, filling three-fourths full.
    • Bake at 375° for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden. Remove from pans immediately; place on a wire rack. Combine remaining 2 tablespoons rum and 3 tablespoons sugar in a small saucepan; cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves. Brush over warm muffins.
    All I can say about the recipe that you are using if it ain't working, find something that will.  You can add the butterscotch chips, but they will melt...use Pam or some other cooking spray and make sure that you really spray the muffin tins, inside and on top, to stop the sticking.  You can also leave out the spices..ie cloves and nutmeg, but it gives the recipe a little depth with the rum.  It is also important that you add the rum/sugar mixture when the muffins are hot, so it actually gets absorbed.  Don't over soak them though.  To get "muffin tops", it  will depend on how much the recipe rises.  You might have to play with this a little, but I usually fill tins up to three-quarters or four-fifths full.  Gives a great top.  

    Good luck.  :)
     
  3. captbligh

    captbligh

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    THANK YOU! I really appreciate the thorough reply. I'll try your recipe ASAP - with fresh baking powder. I'll post my results.

    I didn't think baking powder would get too old to use but as you say it's not worth wondering if that's a possibility. 

    The melted butterscotch chips don't stick as I had pammed well. I just can't figure out how the commercial baked muffins have solid chips while mine just melt and crater.
     
  4. honeycheese

    honeycheese

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    You might try keeping your butterscotch chips in the freezer until it's time to add them; that should retard the melting process as the muffins bake. As for the baking powder, it absolutely can be too old. If you don't bake a lot you should always purchase the smallest tin of baking powder available, so as not to end up with a load of old BP that's lost its power.
     
  5. captbligh

    captbligh

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    Hi all. I promised to post the results of trying PasteryPassion's recipe. Big improvement! Edible muffins, even. I'm still not there, though. I'm just an amateur, which might explain although I followed the directions closely. I'm trying to get the moist, browned muffin with the spill over top, like you can buy at a good supermarket. Still no luck achieving that and I'd give up if the local market sold butter rum muffins. 

    Everyone should deep six my original recipe. The oil just didn't work. If you substitute butter, it may work and is very similar to other recipes I've seen.

    Any ideas on how to get moister muffins?

    Some specific comments:

    Cooked at 375 for 25 minutes. PasteryPassion's recipe batter was much stiffer than my prior attempts. I filled the tins about 4/5s full and got large tops, but no spillover. The butterscotch chips did not melt and volcano as before. I tried honeycheese's freezing tip, but don't know if that's the reason. I think the batter was different without the oil and may account for the chips not spewing. Overall, the muffins were good but drier than I wanted and had more of a cake texture. I didn't brush with the rum/sugar mixture and skipped the nutmeg and cloves.

    Regarding "old" baking powder, I used the same as I had again because it was just at it's printed expiration date. It seemed to work fine as the muffins rose well.

    PasteryPassions recipe made 6 large muffins, just the right size. I'll try again shortly.

    Thanks to PasteryPassion and honeycheese for your help and suggestions.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2011
  6. lentil

    lentil

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    Try filling the muffin cups to the top- make sure you've sprayed the top of the muffin pan.  We start our muffins out at 400* convection for about 7-10 minutes then reduce the heat to 375* for the remainder of cooking time- usually 20 minutes for the jumbo muffins.  This gives them the burst of heat to make them rise...or so I'm told.