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Great Cookbooks for Families: Muffin Magic

Reviewed by Katy Killilea

muffinmagicLook how cute! A seven-inch square book, filled with muffins donning patterned paper cases–there are a million variations on this theme,  most often found waiting for a kindly shopper to rescue them from the clearance aisle of HomeGoods. There’s a muffin book glut. Why? Muffins are adorable, and allegedly less decadent than cupcakes. Muffins are easy to make, and are especially good baking projects for parents to do with their kids. Darling muffin books are often useless as actual baking guides, but  Muffin Magic is useful for baking while maintaining a steady stream of cuteness.

A section especially for kids includes the must-try Peanut Butter and Choc Chip Cheekies, while the “adults only” chapter includes Chocolate Hazelnut Melts, which are filled with Nutella and which only the cruelest parent would keep from a budding chocoholic. There’s no emphasis on nutrition here, although there are a few savory muffins to try after you’ve depleted your sugar bowl.

Since this is a British book, ingredients are listed both by volume and weight. If you bake with scales–for precision, love of gadgetry, or a homeschooling math lesson–grams and ounces are always a welcome sight. Self-rising flour is used in many of the recipes. That’s not something I usually have on hand, unless I’ve been baking from a British cookbook, but it is awfully handy. With self-rising flour on hand, you’re  halfway to muffins even before you  locate your measuring spoons.

If you prefer to use whole wheat flour, mix up your own self-rising flour using one cup of whole wheat pastry flour, one teaspoon of salt, and one and a half teaspoons of baking powder. Multiply by however many cups of self-rising flour you need. If you’re baking from Muffin Magic, you’ll be happy to have a premixed canister of the stuff.

The details:

Muffin Magic: Irresistible Recipes for Individual Treats
by Susannah Blake
2009 Pavilion (an imprint of Anova) $15.95

The publisher provided a review copy for consideration. Neither the author nor Kidoinfo has received any monetary compensation for this review and we have no undisclosed relationship with the publisher.

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