By Molly Congdon
HALFMOON — During the warm months of summer, most of us roll our eyes at the thought of turning on our ovens; sweat appears on one’s brow at the mere thought. However, there is one baked good that is worth hitting the preheat button and suffering a little salt loss. This summertime specialty is actually a treat that is popular year-round-muffins.
Ah muffins, cupcakes that are completely acceptable to eat for breakfast. It’s a beautiful concept, right? I mean it truly doesn’t get better than that, especially if chocolate chips somehow find their way into the mix.
Diane Curwick, owner of Lindsey’s Country Store, has a few must-use tips that will make your muffins rise to any occasion:
Quality ingredients: “It’s a big deal: Make sure you start with quality ingredients,” Curwick said. “Fresh fruit or fruit that has been frozen at its peak so that you’ve got the flavor.”
Blend the batter: “You want to mix well enough but not overmix,” Curwick said.
Big top: “Make sure you fill your pans up enough so that you get that nice big muffin top that everybody likes; don’t be afraid of spillover.”
Hot in here: “You have to make sure you have the right temperature on the oven; it depends on your oven,” Curwick said. “It’s really important not to open and close the oven frequently; you want to keep it a constant temperature.”
Little baker that could: Find yourself getting a bit frustrated? Just whisper “I think I can, I think I can.”
“Just keep trying even if you don’t get it quite right the first several times,” Curwick said. “Have fun and experiment. When you’re working on recipes, baking is chemistry and sometimes you’re going to have a failure, but you’ve just got to keep trying and then you get something wonderful.”
What’s your flavor? Stuck on what flavor to start off with? It’s always safe to stick with a classic like blueberry. “It’s our most popular muffin and one of the most basic muffins; people like blueberry. Plus, blueberries are easy to come by; you can get frozen ones at the store even when they are out of season.”
Finished product: How do you know when your batch is ready to exit the oven? “You can press it with your finger and see if it bounces back,” Curwick said.
Share the love: There is nothing more lonely than being surrounded by dozens of muffins without anyone to enjoy them with. “Give some to your neighbors,” Curwick said. Who knows, maybe you’ll even start a tradition — chewing the fat and some delicious muffins.