You might not have the ingredients or time to cobble together a layer cake on a random Tuesday morning. But you know what you can bake practically anywhere, anytime? Muffins. Only a handful of our best muffin recipes go so far as to ask you to soften butter. Most rely on a few pantry staples (flour, sugar, baking powder), can be made entirely in one bowl, and are highly flexible. Want to make a batch of BA’s Best Blueberry Muffins but don’t have fresh blueberries? Use frozen (Pro tip: Don’t thaw them first). Have a vendetta against blueberries? Sub in chocolate chips.
The only thing you really need to bake muffins is a muffin tin (actually, that’s not true: Pour the batter into a square baking dish and you’ve got a shareable muffin cake). Still, it’s worth owning a good muffin pan—not just for bready pastries but for cupcakes and egg muffins too. Skip the liners, though: Direct contact with the pan (nonstick, please) ensures even browning and perfectly domed muffin tops.
Like scones and many other quick breads, muffins are a great beginner baking project. Bake a dozen on Sunday morning and you’ve got breakfast settled for the week ahead—unless you choose to share, which would hypothetically be the generous thing to do.