Diane’s Amazing Muffins and Baking Cups

Diane's amazing muffins
You can easily make these delicious muffins and guess what, using the same lightweight and easy to store muffin cups there are a bunch of other things you can do..see the article text.

When Diane and I are on the road there is one cardinal rule I follow when it comes to the RV kitchen–STAY OUT! LOL. Well, that’s not entirely true, I am allowed to do the dishes.

I’m happy to let Diane handle the cooking because she makes delicious, healthy food and presents it beautifully, artistically. BUT WAIT… THERE’S MORE… Diane’s a whiz at multi-purposing: finding multiple things that can be done with one thing or another, and this is advantageous to RVers who are always battling to minimize the weight of things and the space they consume. When it comes to the delicious homemade muffins that Diane bakes (recipe to follow) she’s found some silicone baking cups that not only take up a lot less room and weigh a lot less than a traditional muffin tin but they can be used in the RV or at home for many things besides baking muffins and cupcakes. So, with no further adieu here is what Diane has to say about the OXO Baking Cups…

OXO Good Grips Reusable Silicone Baking Cups, 12 Pack

I am a lover of muffins (but not of having a “muffin top” above my jeans!) so I prefer to bake my own healthy versions. However, muffin pans are not so efficient in the storage department, especially in an RV! So what to do? Give up muffins?? No way! Behold, reusable silicone baking cups that take up much less room, weigh less, and have many uses.

Besides having a history of good luck with OXO products, these are the only baking cups I saw that have finger tabs on the sides making them much easier to handle. Let’s face it, silicone is slippery and floppy and can be disappointing to a hopeful new user, not to mention messy. They also have mostly smooth interiors without the classic cupcake ridges which makes food removal and cleaning easier. (Please note: these are standard sized cups, as opposed to jumbo or mini. If one muffin isn’t enough just eat two! No sense on having an unattractive half-eaten muffin laying around or getting tossed in the trash because it was too much to eat.) The beauty is that these guys sit right on top of the baking sheet I already use for cookies, meat and veggies. They are lightweight and take up very little storage space because of their flexible stacking ability. Only need six muffins? No problem! You can make any number you want. You can also use them in the microwave and freezer. Beyond muffins and cupcakes, think of them as:

Ramekins – those cute little single serving casseroles – for:
• Breakfast bites (frittatas and crust-less quiche)
• Mini mac & cheese portions
• Dessert cups (gelatin, crispy treats, ice cream)

Serving bowls for:
• Tapas (appetizers)
• Portioned snacks (especially for the little ones!) like nuts, dried fruit, granola, candy
• Bento box food dividers

Kitchen aids:
• Mise en Place (prep bowls for ready to add ingredients or spice blends while cooking)
• Separating egg whites
• Melting a square of butter or chocolate in the microwave
• Freezing small portions (leftover sauces, broth with fresh herbs, smoothie mixes)
• Peel garlic cloves: Place clove in middle of cup, roll on the counter or between hands to remove the garlic skin.

My absolute FAVORITE minimalistic discovery is easily making poached eggs for one or two! (Instead of using a large, heavy 6 or 8 egg poacher.)

• Fill a pot of water a few inches (depth of water should be about 1/8” below rim of cups).
• Bring water to a boil. Meanwhile, rub a little oil around the inside of the baking cups, then crack 1 egg into each. When the water is boiling, reduce it to a simmer, and slowly lower the silicone cups into the water. Cook for about 3-4 minutes (a little longer at elevation because water boils at a lower temperature up there). Run butter knife around outer edge of egg and invert quickly.

Even more exciting are all the other creative ways you can use these muffin cups! Anyone who knows me, knows I get my kicks out of multi-using the heck out of just about anything I buy or find. Trying to list everything you can do with these cups is akin to trying to list everything you can do with a screwdriver, so this is just a start. The trick is remembering that you have these versatile little guys stashed in your kitchen drawer for things like:

• large ice cubes (get festive by freezing fruits or flowers for a punch bowl – lol, we don’t travel with a “punch bowl”- that would just be our biggest bowl or clean bucket!)
• cup cover for hot beverages
• spoon rest or coaster
• pot holder in a pinch – just for quick removal of a hot pot or lid
• grip for opening bottles
• organizers for desk, craft or beauty supplies
• measuring: filled to the brim one baking cup is 3 oz/6 Tbsp

For easy removal of cooked food, coat with a little oil, butter or spray. To clean, wipe off as much excess grease as possible with a paper towel or cloth, dunk into a bowl of hot, soapy water and rub with a sponge or cloth. Turning the cups inside out gets them nice and clean.

STORAGE CAUTION: (this is for the dopes out there – um…that would be ME!) I have lots of silicone utensils and was concerned that they were somehow degrading over time as I kept discovering little chunks out of them. I also noticed red crumbly bits in the bottom of the drawer and was horrified to find two muffin cups ripped at their tops! I finally put two and two together. Bumping around in the same drawer as we traveled down the road our food grater was shredding my silicone! Moral of the story: the kitchen drawers got rearranged into families – one for metal and one for softies!

Oxo baking cups on a quarter sheet
All 12 of these Oxo muffin cups fit handily on a quarter sheet baking pan that fits nicely in our small RV oven.

I am loathe to discard things before determining if they might have a second life. So, if your silicone cups have gotten damaged they can still be used for crafts!

• A hole poked in the bottom can be used as: a popsicle holder; turned upside down for use as a cup cover with a straw hole on a buggy day; a makeshift funnel; over twinkle lights
• Cut and shaped into flower petals
• Used as toys for the sandbox, kiddy pool or bathtub

These Nordic Ware Baker’s Quarter Sheet pans are great quality, durable, and fit nicely inside the RV oven and each accommodate all 12 of the baking cups. Also, this Cooling, Basting, Roasting Rack fits right inside the pans and has multiple uses both inside and outside of the oven. Love the small square grid that keeps cookies from falling through. Yay!

My favorite bran muffin recipe is here.

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