Lauren Groveman a recipe for delicious living

Peanut Butter Muffins

(April 24, 2008)
...submit your question to Lauren!

Jamie asked Lauren:

Dear Lauren,

When I buy the muffins at Whole Foods Market, they are SOOOO high. The head is gigantic. Do you have any advice on how to get this to happen? I am thinking chilling the batter may be the answer. Thanks, You are amazing!!!

Lauren says...

The reason the crown of a muffin becomes big, broad and so attractive after baking is because of three things. One: Because the thickness of the batter supports itself as the protein sets in the oven. Two: because of how high you fill each cup of the muffin tin with batter. And, three: the recipe must be written with the proper amount of leavening.

So, the batter needs to be thick enough (yes, chilling might help to achieve this in an otherwise thin batter but remember to adjust (lengthen) the baking time to account for the initial cooler temperature of the ingredients), and each cup needs to be filled high enough (I mound my batter in the tin), and the recipe needs to be written correctly. That's when the up and down motion of the batter through the baking process will produce wide domed tops on your muffins. Otherwise, the muffins will have flat tops that bleed onto one another and off the muffin tin and onto the oven floor!

In addition to my Loaded with Blueberry Muffin recipe, here's another great Peanut Butter Muffin Recipe that I hope your family will love (I know the kids will!).

................................................................... .....................................

Peanut Butter Muffins

Yield: 12 to 18 muffins

peanut butter muffins

This muffin definitely talks to the kid in me. As a food writer, it's such fun to take all of my favorite foods and put them together in all sorts of wonderful ways. I suggest you try these chubby muffins with lots of mini chocolate chips, since they're truly memorable. If you end up with a partially filled muffin tin no worries, just fill the empty cups with hot tap water before baking.

    For the topping:
  • Up to ¾ cup salted cocktail peanuts
  • Up to ¾ cup sugar
  • Up to ¾ teaspoons cinnamon
    For the batter:
  • Nonstick vegetable spray
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 2 cups commercially prepared peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
  • 3 ½ cups whisked and then leveled bleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • teaspoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup flavorless vegetable oil
  • 2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup mild-flavored honey
  • 1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Optional additions: 1 rounded cup mini-chocolate chips or use a combination of chips and diced ripe bananas, not to exceed 2 cups total (toss bananas in a bit of fresh lemon juice to preserve their color)

1) To assemble the topping: If using the optional additions listed at the end of the ingredients list, place the full amount of nuts, sugar and cinnamon into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. If not using the additions, use the following amounts: ½ cup each of sugar and peanuts, ½ teaspoon cinnamon. Pulse the ingredients until the nuts are finely chopped and well distributed throughout the sugar. Transfer the topping to a bowl and set it aside for now.

2) To make muffins: Preheat the oven to 400°F and spray the tops of a nonstick 12-muffin tin with vegetable spray and line the cups with paper liners. (Prepare an additional 6-cup tin, as described, if using the optional additions.)

Heat the milk with the peanut butter over low heat, until completely homogenous, stirring frequently with a whisk. (Don't overheat, however, or the mixture will clump.) When warmed and smooth, remove from the heat. Whisk the muffin mix and cinnamon together in a 5-quart mixing bowl. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, sugar, honey and vanilla and, when well mixed, whisk in the peanut butter mixture. Add the wet mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients and, using either a batter whisk or a wide blending fork, combine the mixtures gently but thoroughly (check for dry pockets, using a rubber spatula). Now is the time to fold in your optional additions, if using.

Use a medium-size ice cream scoop or a spoon to divide the batter between the muffin cups, filling them to the top, (use all of the batter). If not using the optional additions, you will fill one 12-muffin tin perfectly. If using additional ingredients, depending on the amount, you will yield between 16 and 18 muffins. Sprinkle the tops very generously with the topping. Bake in the center of a preheated 400°F oven for 20 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 375°F and bake for 5 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 325°F and bake 5 to 7 minutes more (a toothpick should come out clean when inserted into the center and tops should be golden and crisp).

3) To cool and serve: Remove the muffins from the oven and place the tin(s) on a wire rack for a few minutes, then use a knife to cut in between each muffin (where the edges merged during baking). Carefully lift each muffin out and let them cool further on the rack. To store cooled muffins, wrap each one in plastic wrap and keep them at room temperature. The muffins will stay perfectly moist for 3 days.

Timing is Everything:

    For fresh muffins in the morning, do this:

  • Lauren LogoThe night before: Prepare the muffin tins. Whisk together the dry ingredients and leave this on your counter, covered. Combine the buttermilk, oil, sugar, honey, eggs and vanilla and refrigerate this, covered. Assemble your crumb topping and leave on your counter, covered. Place the measured peanut butter in a 1½-quart covered saucepan, off the heat. Measure your chocolate chips, if using, and leave them next to your dry mix, covered. If using diced bananas, strain a little lemon juice and leave this in the refrigerator, covered (you'll only need 1½ teaspoons).

  • In the morning: Preheat your oven to 400°F. Heat the peanut butter with the milk, as directed. Remove your wet mixture from the refrigerator and give it a good stir. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and, when mixed, fold in your desired embellishments, if using. Follow the remaining scooping instructions, and then apply your topping and bake, as directed.


Questions for Lauren Groveman's Kitchen:

Name: Email:
(Email addresses will be kept completely private and confidential and will allow the reader to be kept up to date on Lauren’s media appearances, cooking classes and in-store cooking demonstrations.)


Thank you. Please check back soon to see if Lauren Groveman addresses your question in her column.

Lauren Groveman recipes have been featured in many national magazines and local newspapers. Her books "The I love to Cook Book: Rediscovering the Joy of Cooking for Family and Friends" and "Lauren Groveman's Kitchen, Nurturing Food for Family and Friends" are available through

For in depth information on Lauren Groveman as a writer, teacher, TV & radio host, as well as her recipes and cooking tips visit her website at

Lauren is a Larchmont resident. She is happily married and blessed with three wonderful children.