Like most people out there, I’ve had some truly crappy jobs. About four years ago I left a really great job that I really enjoyed for what I thought was a better and more exciting job opportunity. I was offered the chance to be the sole baker in a nice café. This was big for me, as I love to bake and have always wanted to have my own bakery business. I figured this would be a great way to get more hands on retail experience, and be able to run my own kitchen and make my own decisions about how things were run.
This job would end up being my #1 worst nightmare job ever. It was the one time I’ve ever left a job without giving two weeks notice, and to this day I still fantasize about the place burning to the ground.
The only good takeaways from this job were the skills I developed to be able to do larger batch baking while utilizing a very small convection oven. When I left, I kicked myself for not taking some pictures of the amazing recipes they had on hand for my own use.
Luckily, when you make certain things everyday, the recipe becomes memory. And sometimes, if you’re really having a brilliant moment, you’ll write those recipes down while their fresh in your brain.
One of those recipes that I managed to memorize was for the muffin base they used daily. I would make a large batch of this base, and then divide it up and add various fruits, or whatever flavor combinations inspired me that day. This is a great way to make a nice muffin variety for bake sales, family gatherings, or holidays.
Magical Muffin Base Recipe (halved from original – this version makes two dozen standard sized muffin)
- Juice of 1 lemon + milk = 2 cups
- 4 1/2 cups flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1tsp. salt
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup Canola oil
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- Juice 1 lemon and add the liquid to a large measuring cup. Add milk until the combined liquid reaches 2 cups. Set aside and allow milk to curdle a bit.
- Combine the next 4 dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together
- In a smaller bowl, combine eggs, oil and sugars, whisking or stirring until you reach a smooth, even consistency
- Create a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the egg mixture and curdled milk. Stir until just combined – this will make a nice, thick batter.
Now, the best part: Get creative!
You can’t beat the classics – I enjoy adding fresh chopped cranberries and orange zest or fresh blueberries and cinnamon. Why not chopped apples and a cinnamon swirl? You can never go wrong by adding chocolate chips. Why not add a crumb topping? Maple bacon muffins anyone?
That’s the great thing about this muffin batter recipe – you can add in anything you want and it works perfectly. The thickness of the batter keeps fruit and other goodies from sinking to the bottom, while holding up really nice top. So get creative!