Six and a Half Tips
and a Recipe for Perfect English Muffins
by HL Carpenter
You don’t have to be British to enjoy hand-made English muffins, which is fortunate for the heroine in our young adult novel, The SkyHorse, since Tovi Taggert and her family are southerners through and through.
The Taggerts are also fans of fun, easy menu additions for Sunday morning brunch or a special breakfast. English muffins are a snap to prepare, require only an hour to rise, cook quickly on a griddle or frying pan (no heating the oven!) and taste great, either plain or with butter, jam, or your favorite topping. An added bonus is the delicious, yeasty scent of fresh bread that fills the kitchen.
Here are tips to help you make perfect muffins.
1. While the yeast is dissolving, fill a 13” x 9” pan with hot water and place it in your unheated oven. Muffins rise best in a warm, humid environment.
2. If your recipe calls for honey, spritz your measuring spoon with cooking spray. The honey will slide right off the spoon.
3. Instead of using a rolling pin and cookie cutter to form your muffins, divide the dough into even parts. Then press out the dough pieces in your hamburger patty mold. You’ll get just-the-right-size, perfectly round muffins.
4. Once your muffins have risen, hand-transfer them to the heated griddle. They’ll keep their shape better than if you try to slip a spatula beneath them.
(Bonus tip: Prefer using a spatula? Dip the edge in cornmeal so it slides easily under the muffins.)
5. To test for doneness, lightly tap the top of the muffins with your fingertip. A hollow sound means your muffins are cooked.
6. When you’re ready to toast, split the muffins with a fork instead of a knife. Your toppings will fill the resulting nooks and crannies.
And here’s the perfect recipe for Perfect English muffins.
What you’ll need:
2-3 quart bowl
Standard-size cookie sheet
Griddle or frying pan
1 package yeast
1 cup warm water
3 cups flour (all-purpose or whole wheat)
3/4 cup shortening
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon salt
Dissolve yeast in bowl in warm water for five minutes. While yeast is dissolving, sprinkle cookie sheet with a light coating of cornmeal.
Add flour, shortening, honey and salt to yeast-and-water-mixture to form dough.
Coat dough with flour; knead until elastic.
Divide dough into 12 equal balls. Use a hamburger patty mold or the flat end of a glass dipped in flour or sprayed with cooking spray to flatten each ball into a 3-inch circle. Put the muffins on the cookie sheet as you form them.
Cover the cookie sheet and let the muffins rise for an hour.
Heat the griddle or frying pan to 375 degrees (no oil necessary).
Cook the muffins, turning once, until golden brown on both sides.
Split with a fork, toast, and enjoy with your favorite topping.
While your enjoying those delicious muffins, how about settling in with a good book?
Tovi thinks finding a flying horse is fabulous luck – until a mysterious stranger says finders aren’t always keepers.
When fourteen year old Tovi Taggert moves to Honeysuckle Hollow to take care of her grandmother, she has a hard time fitting in. For one thing, she’s been tagged with the hated nickname Too-Tall Tovi. For another, everyone at Honeysuckle Hollow High believes Tovi played the Choking Game with someone else’s boyfriend – and made out with him besides.
As if she doesn’t have enough problems, after the latest stand-off in the school hallway, Tovi finds a gorgeous speckled egg nestled in a feather lined nest.
She takes the egg home – and mysterious visitors begin appearing almost immediately. Even more worrisome, whatever is inside the egg starts chipping its way out.
When the egg hatches, revealing a winged horse, Tovi’s troubles multiply.
As she struggles to return the horse to the magical land where he belongs, Tovi must make a courageous decision – and accept what that decision will cost her.
To read the first chapter of The SkyHorse, please click HERE.
HL Carpenter is a mother/daughter writing team. Learn more about HL Carpenter on their website and their latest story “Going Where You Look”, published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Writers.