Muffins are simple to make and can be made in a variety of flavors. They’re perfect for breakfast or snacks!
You’ll need basic ingredients like flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, milk, melted butter and eggs. Plus you can add mix-ins like chocolate chips, nuts or dried fruit!
1. Make sure the butter is room temperature.
Butter is an essential ingredient for any baker’s pantry. Whether you’re making chocolate chip cookies or buttermilk biscuits, butter is what gives baked goods their signature flavor.
But you need to be sure it’s room temperature before mixing with sugar, eggs, and other ingredients. Too cold, and your dough or batter will be lumpy.
Softened butter, on the other hand, will mix easier with flour and sugar in a recipe. It also traps air as it creamed or mixed with other ingredients, which helps to create fluffy cakes and domed cookies.
But getting butter to the right temperature can be a tricky process. Luckily, Kim Anderson, culinary center team lead at Land O’Lakes, has some tips on how to get it to the perfect temperature quickly and safely.
2. Make sure the milk is room temperature.
Room temperature is an important factor for all kinds of baked goods — particularly those that include dairy. Unlike eggs and butter, which can emulsify in a warm environment, milk, cream and buttermilk need to be at room temperature before being mixed with other ingredients in order to fully incorporate their fats and help them rise properly.
Ideally, fresh human milk should be kept at 39 degrees Fahrenheit (3.9 degrees Celsius) before refrigeration or freezing. If it’s not, it’s best to heat it slowly in lukewarm water, which will protect the milk’s fat content and nutrients.
The safest way to store breast milk is in a clean glass bottle at room temperature or in a refrigerator. This will ensure the milk is bacteria-free and sterile for up to four hours, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
3. Make sure the eggs are room temperature.
When baking, room temperature eggs are often the best option. They emulsify ingredients and help hold structure (like air bubbles, sugar, liquid, and butter) better than cold eggs.
This is especially important when creaming butter, flour, or sugar together with softened egg yolks. Without room temperature eggs, the mixture will stiffen and form clumps, which can cause problems with texture, increase cooking times, or make a lumpy batter.
For a quick way to bring eggs to room temperature, pour warm tap water over them and let them sit for 5-10 minutes. It’s a simple and effective method for making sure that your eggs are ready to use when you need them.
4. Make sure the flour is room temperature.
When making a cake or muffin recipe, allowing the ingredients to come to room temperature will make a big difference. It can save you time and effort as well as help create a better texture for your finished product.
If you’re not sure whether the flour is room temperature or if you need to heat it up, you can easily check it using a food thermometer. You can buy a good one for about $12 on Amazon.
Flour is a basic pantry staple that’s easy to store, but it does go bad if you don’t use it quickly. It can be discarded after one month at room temperature, three months at cooler house temp, six months in your fridge or one year in the freezer.
5. Make sure the sugar is room temperature.
When it comes to making cakes, cookies, meringues and sauces, it’s important to have the ingredients at the right temperature. Otherwise, your batter won’t rise or your butter won’t cream.
Room temperature ingredients help you create a smoother cake or a lighter cookie. They also mix better and don’t make your frosting or dough curdle.
The reason for this is that when ingredients are different temperatures, they don’t like to mix well. This can lead to lumpy cupcakes, dense cookies and a lackluster cake texture.
6. Make sure the apples are room temperature.
Having all your ingredients at room temperature is essential for baking, especially when it comes to refrigerated items. This ensures that they mix together easily and evenly, which will help ensure the muffins turn out beautifully.
These apple crumb muffins are full of apple-cinnamon flavor and a delicious cinnamon-sugar topping! They are perfect for a snack, a breakfast treat or as an easy dessert.
I use Fuji apples in this recipe, but any kind of baking apple will work well. Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, Granny Smith and Braeburn are great choices too.
7. Make sure the chocolate is room temperature.
If you’re making a chocolate-dipped treat, it’s best to make sure that the chocolate is room temperature. This will ensure that the chocolate is firm and not tacky when you dip it.
Ideally, chocolate should be kept between 65 and 68 degrees F (18-20 degrees C). It can be stored at lower temperatures if it’s wrapped properly and away from water or heat.
However, if you’re not sure whether or not the chocolate is at room temperature, you can test it by dipping a metal spatula or knife blade into it and leaving a small film on it. If the chocolate is not tacky after five minutes at normal room temperature, it’s tempered.
8. Make sure the nuts are room temperature.
Nuts have a short shelf life and go rancid quickly if not stored correctly. Fortunately, most nuts can be kept fresh in the refrigerator for six months or longer.
When storing nuts at room temperature, keep them away from onions and other foods with strong aromas that might absorb their flavor. Also, don’t store your nuts next to other foods that have a high moisture content as this can cause mold and bacteria to grow.
To avoid this, use airtight containers to store your nuts and seeds. These can be glass jars with lids, plastic bags or other airtight containers that are non-permeable.
9. Make sure the fruit is room temperature.
It may seem like common sense, but it’s always best to make sure the fruit you’re planning on eating is fresh and ripe. That way, you can enjoy your muffins and desserts without worrying about rotten, moldy or otherwise unhealthy ingredients!
Aside from a few exceptions, most whole fruits can keep well at room temperature for about a day without any quality loss. This applies to berries, peaches, plums and nectarines, for example.
But some whole fruits, such as apples, grapefruit, clementines and lemons, should be kept in the fridge to extend their shelf life. You can even store some citrus fruit in perforated plastic bags in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. This is a great way to cut down on food waste and add extra vitamins and minerals to your diet. It’s also a great way to save money on your grocery bill!
10. Make sure the cheese is room temperature.
Cheeses are best when they’re room temperature, according to Adam Brock, director of technical services at the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. They’ll taste better, melt more easily and be easier to slice.
But you should not leave them out of the fridge overnight, says Brock, as this can degrade their quality. He notes that the longer you leave cheese out, the harder it will become and the more likely mold will grow on it.
Hard cheeses, like Cheddar and Gouda, should not be left out for more than two hours, while soft cheeses can stay out up to four hours. In fact, if you notice any signs of mold on soft cheese, throw it out immediately.