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Muffins Can Brighten Up Breakfast Menus With a Minimum of Fuss

October 15, 1987|DIANA WILLIAMS HANSEN | Hansen is a Louisville-based cooking consultant specializing in microwaving

Looking for a way to brighten up breakfast? Do your family a favor and microwave some muffins. Muffins bake fast in the microwave, and they taste great fresh.

Unlike pancakes, waffles, doughnuts and even biscuits, some types of muffins respond well to microwaving. Because of the fast cooking time, it's much less fuss to microwave muffins than to try to bake, fry or griddle another quick bread. After making the fresh batter, you can microwave a pan of muffins in about three minutes.

True, microwaved muffins don't brown like conventionally baked muffins do, but microwaved muffins are meltingly moist. Sprinkle them with sugar and it will stick, even without glaze, since the top of a microwaved muffin is also moist.

About 12 years ago, microwave utensil manufacturers introduced a microwave muffin pan that did not look anything like conventional muffin pans. The new pan was round with the muffin cups around the edges of the pan.

Microwave Muffin Pans

Before the creation of the muffin pans, microwave owners had to microwave muffins in individual glass custard cups. Or they used paper drink cups to hold paper muffin cup liners. The six-muffin pan gave consistency to muffin recipe directions and improved the overall quality of microwaved muffins. When six muffins are cooked together, they cook more slowly than just one or two, and the extended time helps even out the spread of cooking energy.

Even with the improved pan and techniques, all microwave muffins may not cook at the same rate. When I tested the recipes that follows in three types of ovens, I found that sometimes I needed to remove one or two muffins before the others were done. This is really no trouble, however, because of the speed of microwaving. It takes just a few seconds more for the remaining muffins to cook.

Don't overcook microwave muffins. They're done when almost all the top looks dry ( wood pick stuck in center will come out clean). Shallow moist spots, generally around edges, will set as muffins stand outside oven.

Store leftover microwaved muffins covered with plastic wrap in refrigerator. Just before serving, microwave chilled muffins at medium (50% power) for about 30 seconds per muffin.


1 cup milk

1/2 cup chopped dried apricots

2 1/4 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

1/2 cup oil

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup chopped pecans


In 2-cup glass measure, combine milk and chopped apricots. Set aside to soften. In medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon peel. Add oil and egg, stir in milk and apricots.

Line round (6-muffin) microwave muffin pan with double thicknesses of paper baking cups. (Extra paper will absorb some of moisture as muffins cook). Using half of batter, fill each cup about 3/4 full. Sprinkle each muffin with some of chopped pecans. Microwave at High (100% power) 2 1/2 to 4 minutes, checking after 2 1/2 minutes and removing any cooked muffins before returning pan to oven to continue baking remaining muffins.

Remove outside paper liner from muffins. Cool slightly, then sprinkle each muffin with sugar. Repeat procedure with remaining batter. Makes 12 to 14 muffins.

Note: If desired, frost muffin tops with Lemon Glaze made by combining 1 cup powdered sugar with about 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice until smooth and thin enough to spread evenly over muffins.

Many successful microwave recipes, like the following one, use cereal-based batters because they add brown color to the finished muffin. This recipe was inspired by one of the finalists in the 1984 Pillsbury Bake-Off cooking contest.


2 cups whole bran cereal

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup mashed ripe banana

1/4 cup oil

1/4 cup honey

1 egg, beaten

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons soft butter

2 tablespoons honey

In medium mixing bowl, combine bran cereal and buttermilk. Let stand 10 minutes. Stir in banana, oil, honey and egg. Add flour, baking soda and salt and blend well.

In small bowl, stir together butter and honey to make glaze. Set aside.

Line round (6-muffin) microwave muffin pan with double-thickness paper baking cups. (Extra paper will absorb some of moisture as muffins cook.) Spoon batter into cups, filling about 2/3 full. Microwave at High (100% power) 2 1/2 to 4 minutes, checking after 2 1/2 minutes and removing any cooked muffins. Continue baking remaining muffins in pan until cooked.

Spoon some of glaze over each muffin. Remove outside paper liners from muffins. Cool on wire rack. Repeat with remaining batter and glaze. Makes 12 to 15 muffins.

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