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Making muffins that look and taste great doesn't involve any magic--just a few quick tips and techniques:
1. Leave the lumps. Stir the batter with a spoon just until the ingredients are moistened; the batter will look a little lumpy. If you mix the batter too much, the muffins will turn out tough and the tops will be pointed instead of nicely rounded. If you're making blueberry or other berry muffins, gently fold the berries into the batter at the very end of mixing to keep the berries from breaking apart and coloring the batter.
2. Go easy on the grease. For nicely shaped muffins with rounded tops and no overhanging edges, grease only the bottoms of the muffin cups. Better yet, use paper baking cups for easy baking and easy cleanup.
3. Divvy it up. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling the cups about two-thirds full. Take the guesswork out of filling muffin cups: use a spring-handled ice-cream scoop! The different scoop sizes are identified by number; we recommend a No. 20 or 24. After filling the cups, be sure to wipe up any batter that spills onto the edge of the pan so it won't stick and burn. If you have empty cups in the muffin pan, fill them half full with water so the muffins bake evenly.
4. Bake and check. Bake muffins for the shortest time stated in the recipe, then check for doneness. If the muffins tops aren't golden brown or they don't spring back when touched lightly in the center, bake a minute or two longer, then check again. If the pan has a dark nonstick finish, you may need to lower the oven temperature by 25°. If you're using an insulated pan, you may need to increase the baking time slightly. Also, placing the pan on the center oven rack is important so the bottoms of the muffins don't brown too much.
5. Cool 'em on a rack. When the muffins are done, take them out of the pan immediately so they don't become soggy. Muffins baked in paper cups should lift right out. If you haven't used paper cups, loosen the muffins with a knife or metal spatula, then gently lift them out. Sometimes a recipe will tell you to leave the muffins in the pan for a few minutes before removing. This lets fragile muffins set up a bit so they don't fall apart when you take them out of the pan.
Why are my muffins peaked and full of holes?
Oven too hot.
Why don't my muffins rise?
Not enough Bisquick or too much liquid.
Muffin cups too large.
Entire muffin cup was greased.
Oven too cool.
Not baked long enough.
From "Betty Crocker's Bisquick Cookbook." Text Copyright 2000 General Mills, Inc. Used with permission of the publisher, Wiley Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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