Looking for the best crunchy and soft muffin tops recipe?
We answer the question, “what is a muffin top?” then share an easy homemade recipe featuring fresh blueberries and lemon.
You can prepare our quick & easy Blueberry Lemon Muffin Tops recipe at home in less than an hour.
Homemade Muffin Tops are a perfect sweet breakfast or on the go snack. We like to enjoy these muffin tops right out of the oven, slathered with ricotta, cream cheese or butter.
You can also serve this recipe for muffin tops as a decadent dessert accompanied by scoops of ice cream, chopped nuts and berries.
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History of Muffins
A muffin is an individual-sized, baked product most commonly associated with morning mealtime. It’s one of the most popular on-the-go breakfasts that can easily be made ahead and stored in the freezer to enjoy later.
Muffins can refer to two distinct baked goods, a part-raised unsweetened flatbread that is baked and then cooked on a griddle, and a cupcake-like sweet or savoury quickbread that is leavened with baking powder and baked in a mold.
While the most common quickbread muffins are sweetened (such as lemon blueberry muffins, mincemeat muffins and morning glory muffins), there are also savoury varieties such as jalapeno cheddar cornbread muffins and cheddar apple muffins.
One 19th century source suggests that muffins may be related to the Greek bread maphula, a cake baked on a hearth or griddle. Culinary historians also look to the Old French mou-pain, meaning soft bread, which may have been corrupted into “mouffin.”
The word is first found in print in 1703, spelled moofin; it is of uncertain origin but possibly derived from the Low German Muffen, the plural of Muffe meaning a small cake. The expression muffin-man, meaning a street seller of muffins, is attested in a 1754 poem, which includes the line: “Hark! the shrill Muffin-Man his Carol plies…”
One of Canada’s top selling cookbooks of the 1980s was Muffin Mania, which helped popularize muffin making from Newfoundland to British Columbia. Homemade muffins were originally prepared as a healthy breakfast option, high-fibre mid-afternoon snack or low calorie dessert.
In 1997, muffins were popularized once again in Seinfeld’s now famous “The Muffin Tops,” episode. Like many muffin lovers, Elaine shared her love for only eating muffin tops. She hilariously talks about the fact that muffin stumps are not worthy of consumption as they don’t have the desirable crunchy texture. She shares the idea of opening a shop that sells the best recipe for muffin tops with her ex-boss and is outraged when he steals her idea.
When he offers her 30% of the profits to help his struggling business, they initially give the unused stumps to a homeless shelter. But after they get complaints about the missing muffin tops by a charity worker, they have to get rid of them elsewhere. Newman eventually takes the muffin stumps off their hands, smiling with glee!
One could say that hilarious Seinfeld episode made Muffin Tops forever famous!
What Is A Muffin Top?
So what is a Muffin Top?
Visit your local coffee shop and purchase a muffin. Hold the pastry in your hand. The muffin top is the dome shape that rises above the tin, which is referred to as the muffin base or stump. At grocery stores, bakeries and cafes muffins are typically sold with a paper cupcake liner for sanitary reasons. This is the base of the muffin, and according to Elaine on Seinfeld, the least popular.
Many muffin lovers remove the top so they can easily slather butter or cream cheese on the open crumb of the base and top.
Muffin tops when eaten on their own offer a blissful textural dichotomy. The crunchy exterior paired with a light and soft interior. Muffin bottoms are only soft so enjoy less fanfare.
Best Muffin Tools & Equipment
Before making our easy Muffin Top recipe make sure your kitchen is outfitted with essential bakers tools.
- Mixing Bowl Set: It’s important to have a set of durable mixing bowls. We love stainless steel mixing bowls with a good grip. When making muffins you’ll typically need a large mixing bowl to sift your dry ingredients into, and a medium or small mixing bowl to beat your wet ingredients.
- Measuring Cups: Ensure you have a set of measuring cups with a flat top rather than a spout, so you can easily use a knife to level off your dry ingredients like flour and sugar.
- Measuring Spoons: We love these durable stainless steel measuring spoons that will help you accurately measure spices, baking soda and baking powder.
- Whisk: This stainless steel whisk has a great grip and is helpful when beating eggs into other wet ingredients.
- Sieve: It’s essential to have this tool in your kitchen so you can ensure all your dry ingredients are separated and don’t clump in the wet batter.
- Bakers Scale: Use this digital scale to weigh flour and other ingredients that require a weight measurement.
- Spatula: We love this rubber spatula as it also acts as a spoon so you can easily drop batter into each greased muffin cup.
- Muffin Tins: We only use silicone muffin tins as they allow you to easily remove baked muffins from the tin with minimal baking spray required.
- Baking Spray: Ensure your cupboards are stocked with baking spray so your muffins don’t get stubborn and refuse to slide out of the pan.
- Cooling Rack: A sturdy cooling rack is a must to ensure your muffins cool without falling apart or getting soggy. They need breathing space to let out the steam before storing.
- Storage Containers: We love doubling our muffin recipes so we have leftovers to store in the fridge or freezer to enjoy later.
My Family Loves This Muffin Top Recipe
One of my fondest memories growing up as a kid was waking up in the morning at our family cottage in Muskoka and smelling freshly baked muffins.
My family’s two favourite recipes were Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins and Lemon Blueberry Muffins. In the summer we’d forage for wild blueberries and incorporate them into out favourite baked goods. My sister was the family blueberry fan while I was mostly obsessed with the marriage of banana and chocolate.
If you’re looking to eat Muffin Tops at home here are our 3 favourite methods:
- Bake your favourite homemade muffin recipe and once cooled remove the muffin tops and serve them to your guests. You can eat the muffin bottoms/stumps later or tear them into pieces and upcycle them into a bread pudding.
- Prepare this recipe for muffin tops using a nonstick muffin top pan.
- Follow the easy muffin top recipe below using a cookie sheet or baking tray.
Blueberry Lemon Muffin Top Health Benefits
Our homemade recipe for muffin tops is packed full of healthy ingredients!
Blueberries are a the “king of antioxidant foods, and feature fibre, potassium, folate, vitamin C and vitamin B6.
A rich source of phytochemicals and vitamin C, lemons help boost your immune system and neutralize free radicals that cause disease and skin aging. Lemons also protect against heart disease and help improve blood flow to the brain.
Consuming dairy products (such as milk and cheese) provides health benefits — especially improved bone health. Dairy foods provide nutrients that are vital for health and maintenance of your body. These nutrients include calcium, potassium, vitamin D, and protein.
Eggs contain two vital nutrients that are not present in many foods: iodine and vitamin D. Eggs are also rich in tissue-building protein and vitamin B12, which helps your body manufacture blood cells.
Whole wheat flour is rich in vitamins B-1, B-3, and B-5, along with riboflavin and folate. It also has more iron, calcium, protein, and other nutrients than white flour.
Best Recipe For Muffin Tops
There’s no better comfort food than a steaming, crunchy and moist Blueberry Lemon Muffin Top enjoyed straight out of the oven.
We suggest eating muffin tops fresh the day they are prepared. If you have any leftovers muffin tops pack 6-8 in a ziplock bag in your fridge and simply warm them up the next day in the oven. You can use a microwave to reheat muffin tops but they won’t produce the desired crunchy texture so we prefer a toaster oven.
Any remaining Blueberry Lemon Muffin Tops should be stored in the freezer and can keep for 2-3 months. We like to double our muffin tops recipe so we have extra baked treats in the freezer that we can enjoy several weeks later.
So what qualities make the best muffin tops recipe? The perfect top must be crunchy on the outside, well leavened so the muffin cap holds its shape and doesn’t shrink when cooled and feature a moist and light interior.
Looking to prepare a healthy Muffin Tops recipe? Baking is a science so you can’t just lower a recipes fat and sugar content or you will bite into a chewy, hard and unappetizing product. Stick to the recipe on your first try then feel free to adjust a few ingredients or make substitutions to satisfy your tastes.
Muffin Tops Recipe Tips
If you’re looking to prepare this recipe for muffin tops on a whim and are missing a few ingredients at home don’t worry!
We love baking this muffin tops recipe in the summer when fresh blueberries are in season.
You can also substitute fresh for frozen blueberries. Just make sure if you’re using frozen blueberries to add them to the batter at the very last minute before baking. Also make sure to very gently fold the frozen blueberries into the batter to avoid having the purple juice bleed into the batter.
We’ve used all purpose flour in this recipe but you could substitute for cake & pastry flour. If you’re looking to make healthy muffin tops feel free to substitute whole wheat flour: 3/4 cup all purpose flour and 3/4 cup whole wheat flour. It’s a great way to get additional fibre in your diet.
If you own a nonstick muffin top pan lightly grease it with cooking spray before dividing the batter into each indented tin.
You can easily make this muffin top recipe using a basic cookie tray or baking sheet. Ensure they are lined with parchment paper or a silicon baking pad before scooping out the batter. Scoop the batter across the tray like you would a cookie batter. Make sure to leave space between each muffin top as they will spread out in the oven while baking.
You’ll know your muffin tops are finished baking in the oven when the edges are lightly browned and bottom is crunchy.
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Best Recipe For Muffin Tops
Blueberry Lemon Muffin Tops
- Baking Sheet or Muffin Top Pan
- mixing bowl
- measuring spoons
- measuring cups
- Spatula or Wooden Spoon
- 1 cup Fresh Blueberries
- 1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
- 12 tbsp Butter softened
- 3/4 cup White Sugar
- 1 Egg
- 3/4 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 Lemon juice and zest
- 3/4 cup Buttermilk
- 1/4 cup Pearl Sugar
- Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the blueberries in a small mixing bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of flour. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer with a paddle attachement, cream together butter and white sugar. Add the egg and mix well.
- Add the rest of the flour along with baking soda and lemon zest and mix until combined.
- With the mixer on low slowly pour in the buttermilk and lemon juice until combined. Don't overmix!
- Remove the bowl from the mixer and add floured blueberries. Gently fold with a rubber spatula.
- Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to scoop out the muffin batter onto the baking sheet. Sprinkle with pearl sugar.
- Bake the muffin tops until lightly browned, approximately 10-12 minutes.
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