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A muffin is somewhat like a small cake, and though it does resemble a cupcake in that they both have cylindrical bases and rounded conical tops, they usually are not as sweet as cupcakes and generally lack frosting; savory varieties (such as cornbread muffins) also exist. They generally fit in the palm of an adult hand, and are intended to be consumed by an individual in a single sitting. A muffin can also mean a different baked good, the smaller, disk-shaped English muffin, although this usage is uncommon outside Britain. As American style muffins are now sold in the UK, the term can refer to either product, the context usually making clear which is meant. There are many varieties and flavors of muffins made with a specific ingredient such as blueberries, chocolate chips, cucumbers, raspberry, cinnamon, pumpkin, date nut, lemon, banana, orange, peach, strawberry, boysenberry, almond, and carrot. These ingredients are then baked into the muffin.
The traditional English muffin is very different from the American variety. The English muffin is yeast leavened and predates the baking powder leavened muffins. This produces a type of muffin with a thick, fluffy pastry and is usually baked as a disk typically about 8 cm in diameter. It is usually split into two, toasted and buttered, and bears a vague resemblance to a crumpet or pikelet. It also is eaten cold with a hot drink at coffee shops and diners. Fannie Farmer (a young adolescent girl) in her Cook Book gave recipes for both types of muffins, distinguishing between "raised" and adding instructions for a version that is nearly identical to today's "English muffin". Here the raised-muffin mixture was cooked in muffin rings on a griddle, and flipped to brown both sides, producing a grilled muffin. Farmer indicated this was a useful method when baking in an oven was not practical.
Published by Irene on Apr 8, 2008

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