Big Beautiful Muffins

17 Feb

I have the worst luck with muffins. If it’s not one thing it’s another… I can’t get them out of the pan without destroying them, or they’re too short and squatty, or they crumble apart. For this reason I don’t make muffins very often. But a few weeks ago while flipping through my America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, I saw their recipe for “Big Beautiful Muffins” and said “we’ll just see about that.”

The great thing about the recipe as written in my cookbook was that it included several variations of the muffin depending on what kind you wanted to make. My all-time favorite is almond-poppy seed, so I went with that. If you want to add fruit, fold 1½ cups into the finished batter. Which reminds me… this batter really freaked me out. Usually muffin batter is like a thick pancake batter. This stuff was more like a really sticky bread dough (think banana bread dough). I thought I’d done something wrong, but it turned out just fine.

Now for my review of the final results. These were definitely the best muffins I’ve ever made. I couldn’t believe how easily they came out of the pan. Success #1! I also liked that the outside was delightfully crunchy while the insides were tender and moist. My muffins were a tad on the small side, but that was mainly my fault as the cups on my muffin tins are a little small so the recommended amount of batter wouldn’t fit in each one. But, they weren’t squatty and for their size had a nice shaped dome. Also, the next time I make these I’m going to increase the amount of almond extract I use as I like a little stronger flavor, but I’ve kept the recipe below like the original so you can decide for yourself. Feel free to change up the extracts (lemon & vanilla would also be nice) and add in nuts or other dry goods (think chocolate chips!) as you desire.


Big Beautiful Muffins

Makes 12

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons poppy seeds (optional)
  • 1½ cups plain low-fat yogurt (I subbed regular sour cream and it turned out fine!)
  • ½ teaspoon extract flavor of choice (vanilla, almond, etc.)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1½ cups fruit (optional)

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin.

2. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and poppy seeds (if using) together in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk the yogurt, eggs, and extract together until smooth. Gently fold the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until just combined, then fold in the melted butter and fruit (if using).

3. Using a greased 1/3-cup measure, portion the batter into each muffin cup. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out with just a few crumbs attached, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pan half-way through baking.

4. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then flip out onto a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

To make ahead: The muffin batter can be refrigerated in a covered container for up to 24 hours; portion and bake as directed. The muffin batter can also be portioned into the tin and frozen; when the muffins are frozen solid, transfer them to a large zipper-lock bag. To bake, return the frozen muffins to the muffin tin and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes while heating the oven. Bake as directed, increasing the baking time to 30 to 35 minutes.

From: America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook


2 Responses to “Big Beautiful Muffins”

  1. trialsinfood February 17, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

    they look great! i can never get my muffins to have the big dome shaped tops. 😦

  2. Katy March 7, 2015 at 12:05 pm #

    Thank you! I have the cookbook, but I pulled this page out for ease, since my kitchen isn’t very big and the book can be clumsy. I left it out, planning to make some more the next day, but that didn’t happen, and somehow, the page disappeared. These are my favorite muffins, as well, so I am so glad that your page came up when I googled them.

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