Someone has been baking. I peep into the beautifully presented tin and see the American muffin treats, individually wrapped in brown paper with their domed tops peeking through. Their differences in size tell me they’re handmade, and with a rustic look and savoury golden glow, they beg to be eaten.
And eat one I will, but looks aren’t everything, so what else should I expect from a good American muffin? Firstly, a balanced texture is important – not too moist, yet not too dry. By mixing the wet and dry ingredients separately before combining them, then folding the mixture instead of whisking, makes sure it’s not overworked, and gives a light and airy bake.
Each muffin should have a decent height of around 6cm, this is due to the quick-bread ingredients of baking powder and bicarbonate of soda enabling a good rise as they bake at a fairly high temperature of around 190C / Gas Mark 5.
This is what sets American Muffins apart from their yeast-leavened cousins, the flatbread English muffin. And with their versatility to be sweet or savoury, they’ve definitely got more going for them than your average, yet genteel fairy cake.
I pick one of the muffins up. It smells freshly baked, which is the best way for it to be enjoyed. Tearing it open, it has the appearance of a natural sponge, then one bite and I’m sold, as each mouthful delivers well-balanced flavours. This is definitely what I expect from a good American Muffin.