1. Preheat the oven to 375º. Spray 12 muffin cups, or use liners, and set aside. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat.
2. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer or a whisk to beat the eggs, milk, sugar, and melted butter. Add your choice of ingredient mix-ins (if desired) and vanilla extract (if you're making sweet muffins). Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt over the mixture and blend until smooth. (If you overmix the batter, the muffins won't be fluffy.)
3. Spoon about 1/4 cup batter into each muffin cup and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 20 minutes, or until muffins are light brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of one muffin comes out clean.
Mix It Up
Tasty ways to dress up the basic muffin recipe:
1/2 cup blueberries, raspberries, or sliced strawberries; or 1/2 cup total of a combination of these berries
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots or raisins, or a combination of both totaling 1/2 cup
1 cup grated apple mixed with muffin
1 cup grated apple mixed with 2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped cranberries mixed with 3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger; or 1/4 teaspoon of a combination of these spices
1/4 cup chopped sun-dried cranberries with 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger; or 1/4 teaspoon of a combination of these spices
1/4 cup chopped sun-dried cranberries or cherries
1/2 cup oat bran, bran, or wheat germ in place of 1/2 cup of the flour (for extra texture)
When making savory muffins, add only 2 tablespoons sugar, along with 1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs or spices (or 1 teaspoon dried herbs or spices), then add salt and freshly ground pepper
Another savory addition: 1/2 cup cooked, crumbled bacon or cooked, chopped ham in place of herbs or spices
*Note: Honey should be off-limits for children under 1 year old.
How kids can help: Let your child help you measure ingredients, mix the batter, and fill the muffin tins.