I was shocked to discover that one of my friends thought she couldn’t make muffins without a muffin tray. While these special baking pans make creating muffins a whole lot easier, they’re not integral to your enjoyment of a small, round breakfast cakes.
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I’m personally a big fan of making blueberry muffins in a normal baking pan to create a kind of blueberry breakfast bread that’s much easier for me to portion off each morning. The baking process is pretty much the same, with the same dough, the same cooking time, and the same taste and texture in the finished product.
My breakfast bread is enjoyed in rectangular slices rather than as a round muffin.
Even without a muffin pan, though, you can make round muffins without embracing my heathen ways.
Here are some tricks you can use in order to create muffins without using a special dish.
Use Multiple Liners
If you’ve ever made muffins or cupcakes in the past, you’ve probably got a big packet of paper or foil muffin liners sitting in one of your cupboards. The grocery store sells these in pretty big packets compared to how many you actually use when making muffins.
It turns out that these things are stiff enough that they’ll stand up on their own without any special pan. For best results, use two or even three paper liners. Foil liners are often robust enough to work on their own, however.
To make muffins with this method, simply place your doubled or tripled liners on top of a baking sheet or tray. If you’re worried about spillage, it’s best to use something with a lip. Fill them according to your recipe and cook as if you were using a muffin pan.
Use Jar Lids
If you want to add a bit of structural support to your muffin liners, try placing them in mason jar rings or even oven-safe teacups. This usually isn’t necessary if you’ve doubled your liners, but it can often let you get away with a single layer when you otherwise couldn’t.
Make Your Own Liners
It’s easiest to use store-bought cupcake liners for these tricks, but you can make your own in a pinch. Simply mold baking paper (parchment paper or wax paper are ideal, but aluminum foil will work in a pinch) into a cupcake-like shape using the bottom of a glass or teacup.
The stiffer the paper the better.
It might take a few tries to get your homemade liners into the shape you want. Once you’ve gotten the hang of it, however, you’ll be able to crank out a plethora of homemade liners in no time.
It’s worth noting that it might be tempting to use tape to shape your muffin molds. Tape isn’t the smartest thing to put in the oven for long periods of time, but if it’s not touching anything you’re planning to eat you’re probably not going to have a major issue throwing it in a 375 Fahrenheit oven for a half hour.
What you will have issues with, however, is getting tape to stick to parchment or waxed paper. If you insist on using tape (and it’s not the best idea), I’d suggest wrapping the molds entirely in masking tape so it only has to stick to itself. Again, though, you’re much better of simply molding them with pressure and patience.
The Normal Recipe, Without The Pan
Even without a muffin pan, you can use cupcake liners in order to make muffins or cupcakes at home. Simply use one of the tricks above to make durable liners, throw your liners on top of a cookie sheet or baking tray, and follow your recipe as you would with a cupcake pan.
Nobody will know that you skipped the muffin tray unless you tell them!
If you’re a bit less worried about the shape of your muffins, however, try using a greased baking pan and just make a muffin cake. It’ll taste the same, it just won’t be muffin shaped. You might have to slightly adjust your cooking time depending on the size of your pan and what it’s made out of. Just stick in a toothpick as your muffin cake gets close to done. When it comes out clean, your cake is fully cooked.