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Burnt Muffin Mystery?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Recently I've tried out this muffin recipe with the outcome being burnt/seared muffins. Can anyone help? Here's the recipe:
Cherry Almond Muffins

14 oz. cake flour

2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temp.
8 oz. white sugar
3 large eggs, room temp.
2 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. almond extract
8 oz. sour cream, room temp.
4 oz. almond slices
10 oz. dried cherries, rehydrated in orange juice overnight & sliced
• Preheat oven to 400ºF, lightly grease muffin pan.
• Sift cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and kosher salt; set aside.
• Using stand-alone mixer with whisk attachment, cream unsalted butter with sugar.
• Add eggs one at a time, fully incorporated before adding the next, stopping to scrape sides.
• Add vanilla and almond extract, mix on low speed until fully incorporated.
• Add sour cream, mix on low speed until fully incorporated.
• Change out whisk attachment with flat beater.
• While set on low; dump sifted dry goods and mix until barely incorporated.
• Add almond slices and mix until barely incorporated.
• Add cherries (quickly dusted with flour to stop color bleed) and mix until barely incorporated.
• Using an ice-cream scoop; place one full scoop into muffin tin (about ¾ full)
• Bake in center rack for 18 to 24 minutes, test with toothpick.
• Pull out of oven, cool in pan for 5 minutes, remove muffins to cooling rack.
Now I followed everything to the letter. The only thing I changed was sprinkling almonds on top and rotating the pan for even baking. What I got after 14 minutes were 2" muffins with tough seared sides, nice brown tops and burnt almond tips.
Not being saticfided with the result and size I did a second batch.
This time I lowered the heat to 350ºF, added two scoops per muffin and held off on the almond top. This time I watched them bake with no set time limit. After 8 minutes I rotated the pan and baked for an additional 4 minutes. My result was t 2 ¾" high muffins with good golden brown tops (SUCCESS!). What I didn't know was that the bottoms/sides were seared tough like the first batch, including the bottom edges of the muffin tops.
Please note that I immediately removed the muffins from pan to a cooling rack in both cases. 
Now in school we never used muffin cups though that wouldn't solve the problem of the seared muffin top edges.
I'm also using a newly purchased Wilton 12-Cup Muffin Tin and Pam for Baking.
What am I doing wrong?

Edited by PieBird13 - 9/30/12 at 5:41pm
post #2 of 6

How trustworthy is your oven?

400 degrees is pretty high and if it runs even hotter, you most certainly will burn things.

However, let me address a broken cardinal rule of muffins.

This batter is very delicate so once you had mixed in the flour until barely incorporated, that should have been the end of the mixing process.

Your recipe instructed you to repeat this step twice more..

You have a badly written recipe.


Muffins are meant to be handled with kid gloves.

I realize that you are not me, but I find it much easier to mix them by hand..

.first- make an emulsion from the wets with a whisk, taking care to stop before a ton of air has been whisked in, as air is a false structure  that will certainly break down during the wet to dry proceedure. Any way your recipe has added leavings so don't need the air.

.second toss that whisk into the dish pit and take to hand a large silicone (or rubber) spatula, dump the emulsion on top of the dry ingredients (of course you have already thoroughly combined them, that user friendly whisk is great for this) and FOLD gently, scooping from the bottom and dropping it on top. Repeat until only a bit of flour streaks are apparent.


Scoop out to your muffin pan and bake at 350 until a toothpick comes back with a moist crumb attached (by the time the pick comes out clean you have overbaked)


Let's talk add ins. Just fold them into your wets emulsion...if you wait until last, you most certainly will break the batter, causing them to bake into little hocky pucks.


Something hinky about your ingredient list also.

Cannot put my finger on it...

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your post. Now the problem isn't toughness (though I will hand toss with gloves next time I make these muffins) but how the bottoms burn before I get any color on their tops. I guess I could dig up my school's blue berry muffin recipe and modify it though I really enjoy the sour cream aspect of these. I have some leftover almonds and some dried apricots, I'll retry the recipe with those and report back. Also I'm thinking on melting the butter instead of creaming it with the sugar.

Edited by PieBird13 - 10/1/12 at 4:00pm
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

So this is what I did:

• I sifted the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar together in a large bowl.
• I lightly beated the eggs (room temp.), added sour cream (room temp.), vanilla extract, and almond extract together in a separate bowl.
• I melted butter in the microwave, gave it time to cool, then slowly incorperated it into the wet mixture (smooth, no breaking).
• I then lightly tossed around the chopped almonds and dried apricots into the dry mixture.
• After that I quickly made a well in the dry mixture, poured in the wet and proceeded to fold both together (using a silicone baking spatula) until barely incorporated (I stopped right after I saw the last bit of white flour being absorbed).
• At this point the batter/dough looked lumpy though mixed enough to hold it's shape (again, no breaking at all).
• Using an ice cream scoop I added one scoopful (unpacked) into a greased pan (Wilton 12-Cup Muffin Tin, Pam 'Baking' Spray, no muffin cups used).
• I baked at 375ºF for 10 minutes, rotated the pan, and baked for an additional 4 minutes.
• Their finished tops had the consistency of scones (rough and very lightly blond in color) with the center tops a tiny bit raw (carry over heat took care of that).
• Their bottoms weren't burnt though they carried a bit too much color for my liking.
• I did a second batch, using butter to grease half the pan and none on the other side with the same results.
Again I am open to ideas…
What am I doing wrong?

Edited by PieBird13 - 10/1/12 at 9:51pm
post #5 of 6

ok first 15 minutes -> 400

take out your muffins and the top should be dry

"rip it open/ just make the top gooey by fliping the top with the uncooked insides"

NOW put ur almonds/ what ever the heck

put back into oven

next 15 minutes -> lower it to 360

post #6 of 6

I assume you are using paper cup liners?

No shiny liners?

Can you use a bit less sour cream?

From what you write (you have the technique down, I also like to mix by fluffing with a gloved hand) it sounds like a too thick batter, (NBD...thick batter makes the very best muffins!)

The bottoms are browning faster because there is less batter there.

What would I do?

If the results are amazing (and you are obviously emotionally invested here ;-) make a simple streusel topping.

If you have to flash under broiler briefly for color, I give you permission.




* Since you have that degree in hand now, slowly replace the Wilton pans with the very best that you can afford.

I use mostly Magic .

I like the heft (drop one vs a Wilton on the floor and note which one dents)

Congrats and here's to a long, happy career!



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