It’s often said that the kitchen is the heart of a home, and I can attest to that. It’s where we start our mornings over cold cereal and hot bagels, and where we finish out the day, packing school lunches after dinner before starting our bedtime routine… and many, many moments in between.
Conversation flows freely here, and friends are always welcome — especially when they come bearing coffee! I’m more than happy to whip up a batch of muffins and pull up a chair to chat about anything and everything. And if the topic at hand takes a turn toward food, sharing tips and tricks or a new recipe, well, those are some of the very best moments.
It was a moment such as this when I learned the secret to making those big, beautiful bakery-style muffins that I always drool over but could never recreate until recently. As a friend watched me prepare a batch of my favorite muffins, she asked me why I sprinkled additional sugar over the top of them before baking.
I shared that it was a trick I learned working at McDonald’s in high school. Sprinkling sugar over the top gives muffins that crispy, slightly crunchy top that I love so much. And then I bemoaned the fact that I’ve never been able to recreate the big, fluffy muffin tops that I always achieved with their batter. When she remarked that it probably wasn’t my batter at all but more likely how I was baking them, I literally stopped in my tracks. Wait… what???
How To Bake Bakery-Style Muffins
What she shared with me is so simple and easy — I can’t wait for you all to try it too! The following technique should work with just about any muffin recipe, so choose your fave, and give it a shot.
- Don’t over mix your batter. Use a spatula or spoon to stir all of the ingredients together, never a hand mixer or stand mixer. The batter should be slightly lumpy and even still have streaks of flour in it.
- Refrigerate your batter for an hour or more before baking. You can even refrigerate it overnight to bake first thing the next morning.
- When you’re ready to bake, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Yes, I know most recipes call for 350 degrees, but trust me on this one.
- While the oven is preheating, grease a muffin tin and fill each muffin cup right up to the top. Again, trust me… Sprinkle about half a teaspoon of sugar on top of each cup if you like crunchy muffin tops. Fill any empty cups with about 1/2″ of water.
- Bake at 425 degrees for about 6 minutes or until the muffins have risen about 1/2″ above the rim of the muffin tin. Then turn the oven down to whatever temperature your recipe originally calls for, and bake for an additional 8-10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool the muffins in the pan for about 4 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
It all makes sense now! McDonald’s used a refrigerated batter that we scooped into muffin cups with a cookie scoop. While I always assumed there was something about my batter that wasn’t allowing my muffins to rise, it was the temperature of the batter all the time.
I’m pretty sure that my friend and I both had the same thing on our minds as we parted ways that day — making a big, beautiful, crunchy batch of bakery-style muffins… Without our shared tips and tricks, I might never have figured out how to bake big, beautiful bakery-style muffins!
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