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8 Easy Muffins

Creative baking with one batter base

No need for multiple muffin recipes when one simple one will do. Here's a batter base and eight delicious variations.

Makes 1 dozen

3 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon each: salt and baking soda

11/2 cups plain low-fat yogurt

2 large eggs

6 tablespoons flavorless oil or melted butter

6 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Flavorings of choice (see options below)

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and soda in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, mix yogurt, eggs, butter or oil, applesauce, vanilla and flavorings of choice. (See options below.) Scoop batter in each of the 12 greased muffin cups. Bake on the center rack of a 400-degree oven until golden brown, 23 to 25 minutes. Let stand a few minutes; turn onto a wire rack to cool.

Raspberry Muffins With Lemon Curd Filling

Mix a generous cup of frozen raspberries into the batter. Make an opening in each portion of scooped batter; spoon in a heaping teaspoon of lemon curd and press in a few frozen raspberries onto each top, then bake.

Pineapple Muffins With Upside-Down Flavorings

Mix 6 tablespoons flour, 1/4 cup dark brown sugar and 3 tablespoons melted salted butter in a small bowl. Mix 1 cup drained crushed pineapple into yogurt mixture; sprinkle sugar mixture over each top. Add a maraschino cherry and bake.

Chocolate-Cherry Muffins

Add a generous cup of frozen cherries (halved if small, quartered if large), 1 cup (6 ounces) chopped bittersweet chocolate and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract to batter. Press a half cherry into each top and bake.

Apple Muffins With Sharp Cheddar

Mix 1 cup grated apple and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg into yogurt mixture. Stick 3/4-inch block of sharp cheddar into each top and bake.

Carrot Muffins With Cream Cheese Surprise

Mix 1 cup grated carrots and 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice into yogurt mixture. Mix 6 ounces Neufchatel cheese, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice. Make opening in each portion of scooped batter; spoon in cheese mixture and bake.

Zucchini Muffins With Cinnamon and Chocolate Chips

Add 1 cup grated zucchini and 11/2 teaspoons cinnamon to the yogurt mixture, and stir 1 cup mini chocolate chips into batter. Press a few bits of zucchini and chocolate chips into each top and bake.

Blueberry-Orange Muffins

Add 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest to yogurt mixture and a generous cup of frozen blueberries to the batter. Press a few extra blueberries into each top and bake.

Date-Almond Muffins

Add 1 cup chopped dates, 11/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract into yogurt mixture. Press a tablespoon of slivered almonds (3/4 cup total) into each top and bake.

AARP food expert Pam Anderson is a best-selling cookbook author and blogger at

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