Muffin tins aren’t just for muffins today

They are ideal for baking individual servings of everything from appetizers to dinner foods to desserts

The muffin tin  may be the most underrated pan in the kitchen.

They’re great for making savory and sweet muffins, of course, as well as popovers, but there are so many more uses for them.

You can create everything from appetizers to desserts in them, and if you use mini-muffin tins they will be perfectly sized for individual servings.

They’re also ideal for breakfast foods and dinner entrees — especially if you use jumbo muffin tins.

Try making ravioli lasagnas, where every bite includes browned and crunchy edges. A muffin tin is just the right size and ravioli are the perfect width. Layer them in between teaspoonfuls of Parmesan, ricotta and mozzarella cheeses and marinara sauce and bake to create individual servings.

When entertaining, set up a sundae bar. Scoop ice cream into tins to create individual servings that can be plopped into a bowl and adorned with toppings. You can also make brownies in the muffin tins and top them with the ice cream scoops.

You can also use muffin tins to make cookie ice cream bowls with basic drop cookie dough — anything from chocolate chip to sugar to oatmeal raisin will do. Instead of spooning balls of dough onto a cookie sheet, turn a muffin pan upside down, grease them and form the dough around the cups.

Bake the tin with the dough cups facing up. Once the bowls are golden, remove the pan from the oven, let the bowls cool and fill with fruit, ice cream, chocolate mousse, pudding or other treats.

Chill a bowl of punch with large ice cubes made in muffin tins.

You can also freeze soup in jumbo muffin tins for a lunchtime treat. Warm on the stovetop and serve with a sandwich for a cold-weather meal.

Following are some recipes for muffin tins from foodandwine.com.

 

foodandwine;com

Grill Roasted Bacon and Scallion Corn Muffins

5 slices bacon
1 cup flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper
1-1/2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
4 large scallions, finely chopped
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

    Set up a grill for indirect grilling, with the coals on one side, and heat to 425 degrees.
    In a medium skillet set on the grill or stove, cook bacon over moderate heat about six minutes, turning once, until crisp. Drain on paper towels and crumble.
    In a large bowl, whisk flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, black pepper and cayenne. Stir in the corn, scallions and crumbled bacon.
    In a medium bowl, whisk eggs with sour cream and melted butter. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry until just blended. Pour batter into a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
    Place muffin tin on the grate opposite the coals, cover the grill and bake 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few crumbs attached. Serve slightly cooled.

 

Muffin Tin Apple Pies

For pastry dough:
2-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup frozen butter
10 tablespoons ice-cold water
For filling:
6 large Granny Smith apples
1 tablespoon butter, plus more for greasing
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons maple sugar or brown sugar 1 egg, beaten
Coarse sugar, for sprinkling

    In a food processor, pulse flour, salt and brown sugar several times. Cut frozen butter into eight pieces, add to the flour mixture and pulse until the butter is combined and the mixture is the consistency of coarse bread crumbs.
    With the food processor on low, add the water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together.
    Place dough on a floured surface, knead a few times and form into a ball. Cut the dough in half, flatten it into two disks, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
    Peel the apples and cut into 1/2-inch dice. In a pan on medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add apples, cinnamon and sugar and toss to combine. Cook six to eight minutes, until the apples are still firm but can just be pierced with a fork. Set aside to cool slightly.
    Place chilled dough on a well-floured surface and roll it to about 1/4-inch thickness. Set it aside. Repeat with second piece of dough.
    Grease a six-cup Texas muffin tin liberally with butter. Cut out six circles of dough to fit the tins, then press each evenly into the tin to fill the base and line the sides. The dough should be even with the top of the tin.
    Cut dough for the top crusts and cut a small opening in each. Fill each cup to the brim with apples.
    Lightly moisten the edges of the top and bottom crusts with the beaten egg wash. Place the top crusts, egg wash side down, on each pie and press gently to connect with the bottom crusts. Brush tops with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
    Bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until the crusts are golden. Cool 10 minutes before removing pies from the muffin tin.

 

Popovers

1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

    In a medium bowl, whisk milk with the flour and salt. There will be some lumps. Add eggs and butter and whisk just until blended.
    Heat a buttered popover pan or two mini-muffin pans in a 450-degree oven about one minute, until butter is sizzling. Spoon popover batter into the pan, filling large pan two-thirds full or the mini-muffin pans three-quarters full. Bake 15 minutes without opening the oven, then lower the temperature to 350 degrees and bake the minis popovers 15 minutes longer and the large ones 20 minutes longer.
    Transfer popovers to a baking sheet, poke a small hole in the tops with a tooth-pick, then return to the oven for another 10 minutes. Serve warm.

 

 

 

Mini Black Bottom Cheesecakes

24 plain chocolate wafer cookies
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup fromage blanc, room temperature
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup seedless raspberry preserves, warmed

    In a food processor, crush chocolate wafer cookies. Add butter and process until fine crumbs form. Spoon cookie crumbs into 12 muffin cups lined with foil cups and coated with cooking spray. Press crumbs with the bottom of a glass to compact. Bake in a 350-degree oven five minutes, until almost set. Leave the oven on.
    In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar at medium speed until smooth. Beat in fromage blanc, then add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.     Pour the cheesecake batter into the baking cups, filling them three-quarters full.
    Bake cheesecakes for 15 minutes, until slightly jiggly in the center. Remove from the oven and spread one teaspoon preserves on top of each cheesecake. Transfer muffin tin to the freezer and chill about 15 minutes, until set.
    Remove the cheesecakes from the pan and peel off the baking cups. Transfer to a platter and serve.

 

Open-Face Egg and Griddled Ham Breakfast Sandwiches

1 dozen large eggs
Kosher salt
Pepper
6 ounces thinly sliced baked ham
1 cup mixed chopped herbs, such as parsley, tarragon and chives
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
6 slider buns, split and lightly toasted

    Pour 1 tablespoon water into each cup of a 12-cup muffin tin. Crack an egg into each cup and season with salt and pepper. Bake in a 350-degree oven 13 to 15 minutes, until the whites are just firm and the yolks are still runny. Using a slotted spoon, immediately transfer eggs to a plate.
    In a medium skillet, cook ham over moderate heat two minutes, turning, until hot. In a small bowl, toss herbs with lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
    Arrange split buns, cut side up, on a platter. Top with ham, eggs and herbs. Serve open-face.

 

Brownie Bites

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons gluten-free flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup dairy-free mini chocolate chips

    In a bowl, whisk baking flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and xanthan gum. In another bowl, whisk applesauce, oil and vanilla. Stir applesauce mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir in the chocolate chips.
    Spoon batter into two mini-muffin pans coated with cooking spray, filling cups three-quarters full. Bake in a 325-degree oven  for 15 minutes, until set. Cool brownies in the pans for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

 

Chicken Pot Pie Cornbread Muffins

For cornbread:
1-1/2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
For filling:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large carrot, cut into chunks
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1/2 cup shredded rotisserie chicken

    To make cornbread, stir together the cornmeal, flour, 3/4 teaspoon salt, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl. Whisk egg and buttermilk into the cornmeal mixture. Fill 12 greased muffin tins about two-thirds full with the cornbread batter.
    To make the filling, heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until hot, then stir in onion, garlic, carrots, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Cook eight to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden. Stir in flour and cook about two minutes, until incorporated. Pour in stock, bring to a boil, then stir in chicken. Season filling with salt and pepper to taste. Place two to three tablespoons filling over each batter-filled muffin tin.
    Bake in a 350-degree oven about 25 minute, until golden around the edges.

 

Sausage and Apple Stuffing Bites

4 ounces white country bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup finely chopped onion
2/3 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3/4 teaspoon dried sage
1 small Granny Smith apple, peeled and finely chopped
4 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons chicken broth

    Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease two 12-cup mini-muffin pans with cooking spray.
    Toss the bread with two tablespoons oil on a baking sheet, then season with salt and pepper. Bake in a 350-degree oven about 10 minutes, until toasted. Transfer croutons to a bowl.
    In a large skillet, melt butter in the remaining oil. Add onion and celery and cook over moderately high heat about five minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden. Add sausage, garlic and sage and cook about five minutes, stirring and breaking up the meat, until no trace of pink remains. Mix sausage, apple, eggs and broth into the croutons, season with salt and pepper and let stand five minutes.
    Pack stuffing into two 12-cup mini-muffin pans coated with cooking spray and bake 20 to 25 minutes, until golden. Transfer to a rack and let stand five minutes. Loosen muffins with a sharp paring knife and lift out. Serve warm.
    Muffins can be refrigerated overnight in the pans. Rewarm before serving.

 

Maple Bacon Popovers

1 cup finely chopped thick-cut bacon slices
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup whole milk, room temperature
1/4 cup Grade A Dark maple syrup, plus more for brushing
4 large eggs, room temperature

    Cook chopped bacon in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for five to seven minutes, stirring occasionally, until crisp and golden. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to a plate lined with paper towels. Allow drippings to cool about five minutes, then pour into a small heatproof bowl.
     Add two tablespoons melted butter to drippings and stir to combine. Spoon one teaspoon drippings mixture into each cup of a 12-cup popover pan or large muffin pan. Discard any remaining drippings. Place pan in lower third of a 425-degree oven to heat.
    Stir together flour and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk together milk, maple syrup, eggs and remaining butter in a large bowl. Gradually whisk flour mixture into egg mixture until almost smooth, then fold in cooked bacon. Transfer batter to a four-cup spouted measuring cup.
    Remove hot pan from oven. Pour batter into popover cups, filling each two-thirds full. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, until popovers are puffed and golden brown. Lightly brush tops with additional maple syrup. Remove from pan and serve immediately.

 

Muffin Cup Mac and Cheese

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
 2 tablespoons flour
2 cups whole milk
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt  
Freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces ditalini
1/3 cup fresh bread crumbs

    Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease either a mini muffin pan with 24 cups, or a regular-size muffin pan.
    Heat two tablespoons butter in a saucepan over moderate heat. Add flour and cook one minute, stirring until smooth. Add milk and cook over moderately low heat about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Add cheese and stir until it is melted and sauce is smooth. Keep sauce warm over very low heat.
    In a medium pot of boiling, well-salted water, cook pasta until al dente. Add pasta to the cheese sauce and stir to coat completely. Divide macaroni and cheese evenly among 12 muffin cups or 24 mini-muffin cups.
    In a small skillet over moderate heat, melt the remaining butter. Stir in bread crumbs and cook three to five minutes, stirring, until golden and toasted. Sprinkle toasted bread crumbs over the tops of the macaroni and cheese muffins.
    Bake in 350-degree oven about 15 minutes, until golden and bubbling. Let cool in the cups five to 10 minutes before removing and serving.
     Mac and cheese muffins can be baked, cooled and then wrapped individually in aluminum foil and frozen. Reheat in the oven or microwave.

Cheddar Olive Mini Muffins

1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1-1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped chives
2 tablespoons Spanish green olives, pitted and chopped
1-1/4 packed cups farmstead cheddar cheese, shredded
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

    In a small bowl, whisk buttermilk with egg. In a medium bowl, whisk flour with cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt. Whisk in the chives, olives and 3/4 cup shredded cheddar. Add buttermilk mixture and melted butter and stir just until moistened. Spoon batter into three 12-cup mini-muffin tins lined with paper or foil liners. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake in a 400-degree oven about 16 minutes, until golden. Cool in the tins for 10 minutes before serving.

 

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