Sunday, March 22, 2009
A muffin is a type of bread that is baked in small portions. Many forms are somewhat like small cakes or cupcakes in shape, although they usually are not as sweet as cupcakes and generally lack frosting. Savory varieties, such as cornbread muffins, also exist. They generally fit in the palm of an adult hand, and are intended to be consumed by an individual in a single sitting.
There are many varieties and flavors of muffins made with a specific ingredient such as blueberries, chocolate chips, cucumbers, raspberry, cinnamon, pumpkin, date nut, lemon, banana, orange, peach, strawberry, boysenberry, almond, and carrot. These ingredients are then baked into the muffin. Muffins are often eaten for breakfast; alternatively, they may be served for tea or at other meals.
Types of muffins
The English muffin is very different from the variety described on this page. The "English muffin" is yeast leavened and predates the baking powder leavened muffins. This produces a type of muffin with a thick, fluffy pastry and is usually baked as a disk typically about 8 cm in diameter. It is usually split into two, toasted and buttered, and bears a vague resemblance to a crumpet or pikelet. It also is eaten cold with a hot drink at coffee shops and diners. In her Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, Fannie Farmer gave recipes for both types of muffins, distinguishing between "raised" and adding instructions for a version that is nearly identical to today's "English muffin." Here the raised-muffin mixture was cooked in muffin rings on a griddle and flipped to brown both sides, producing a grilled muffin. Farmer indicated this was a useful method when baking in an oven was not practical.
Muffins made from cornmeal are popular in the United States. Though corn muffins can simply be muffin shaped cornbread, corn muffins tend to be sweeter. Similar to the pan variety, corn muffins can be eaten with butter or as a side dish with stews or chili.
Muffin paper cups
Muffin paper cups are round sheets of paper, foil or metal, with scallop-pressed edges, giving the muffin a round cup shape. Their shape can be compared to that of a disposable coffee filter. Muffin paper cups are used to line the bottoms of muffin pans, used in the baking of muffins to facilitate the easy removal of the finished pastry from the muffin tin.
The advantage to cooks is easier removal and cleanup, more precise form, and moister muffins; however, using them will prevent a crust.
source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muffin