Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Dorcas Annette Walker

With the availability of warm-up light rolls muffins have become more of an item sold in gourmet shops. Some use muffin mixes rather than trying to prepare muffins from scratch. I enjoy creating homemade muffins as they are cheap to make and there is endless varieties that you can concoct to customize for your family. Years ago I got my 1-2-3 Muffins recipe from an old cook who told me that during the depression these muffins were popular with mayonnaise being substituted for eggs and the recipe was easy to remember since the first three ingredients numbered one to three. I fell in love with the Velvet Crum Muffins the first time I tasted one. Next time you turn your oven on to bake something why not pop in some muffins? My muffins take five minutes to prepare and each recipe makes one dozen muffins.

Muffins originated in the “downstairs” servant quarters of Victorian England made of leftover bread or biscuit dough mixed with mashed potatoes and fried on a hot griddle dating back to the 10th and 11th century. When the members of the “upstairs” family tasted these rich muffins the English muffin quickly rose to prominence and muffins were sold in the streets to private homes and clubs. The English muffin was split, toasted over an open fire, and then served with tea.

Muffins were not marketed as baked goods until the middle 20th century limited to certain types of grain and additives of nuts and dried fruit. Packaged muffin mixes with preservatives were introduced in the 1950’s and became an alternate to doughnuts by the 1960’s. In the 1970’s and 1980’s there was a decline in home-baked goods along with a movement for healthier eating that gave rise to specialty food stores and gourmet coffee houses that sold muffins.

English muffins are different than American as the English muffin uses yeast producing a thick pastry while the American version utilizes baking powder making a lighter quick bread type of muffin. The American muffin is baked in a mold as the ingredients construct a batter rather than dough. Muffins are not as sweet as cupcakes nor frosted, but are often baked in muffin/cupcake baking paper cups and eaten mainly at breakfast. Today there is an endless variety of muffins that can be made from about any kind of fruit you can imagine, all kinds of nuts, chocolate chips, pumpkin, carrot, and even cucumber. Three states have adopted official muffins: Minnesota the Blueberry Muffin, Massachusetts the Corn Muffin, and New York the Apple Muffin.

Velvet Crumb Muffins

In a mixing bowl combine:
1/3 c shortening
½ c sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
½ c milk

1 c self-rising flour
¼ tsp nutmeg
Beat well and then place a heaping tb of batter in muffin/cupcake papers.

Mix together:
½ c sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Spoon a heaping tsp of this mixture over the batter. Bake at 350º for 15 min. Serve warm!

1-2-3 Muffins

In a medium bowl mix together:
1 c milk
2 c self-rising flour
3 tb mayonnaise
¼ c cooking oil
1 tb sugar
Drop a tb of batter in a greased muffin/cupcake tin and bake at 350º for 15 min until golden brown. Serve hot with butter and your favorite jam!

Weekly tip: To prevent a bowl from slipping around on the counter when mixing by hand place a damp folded towel underneath the bowl!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: dorcaswalker@twlakes.net. For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin page and blog at: www.dorcasannettewalker.com

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