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Basic Muffins (With Berry And Oatmeal Versions)

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Ingredients

*If you leave the oil out, you can reduce the calories in your muffins by about 30%; the flavor will still be excellent, but muffins won't be quite as tender, and won't keep as well should you happen to have any left over.

Preheat your oven to 500°F.

Blend together the dry ingredients as long and as vigorously as you want. If you use a little whole wheat flour in your mixture, it's easy to tell when everything is thoroughly mixed.

Beat the liquid ingredients together -- milk, oil or butter, and eggs -- until they are light. If you have a 2-cup liquid measure (one with a lip above the 2-cup mark) it makes mixing the liquid ingredients very easy. Most eggbeaters will fit right in the

Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Take a fork or wire whisk and blend the two for 20 seconds -- no more! The secret to light and tender muffins lies in this final blending. It's OK if you've left some lumps that look as if they want more stirring

Fill cups of a lightly greased muffin tin two-thirds to three-quarters full. Place muffins in the oven and immediately drop temperature to 400°F*. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until muffins test done.

*When you put muffins in a very hot oven and immediately drop the temperature, you help create the high peaks that make them so appealing.

Summer is berry time, and berry-studded muffins are a special treat. Simply add 1 1/2 cups of berries (or fruit -- peaches, apples, etc. -- finely chopped and well drained) to our basic muffin recipe. To make sure berries stay evenly distributed throughou

If you like the old-fashioned taste of oats, you'll love this easy variation. In the basic muffin recipe, instead of 2 cups of flour, substitute 1 cup of thick oat flakes (rolled oats), and 1 1/4 cups flour. If you like a heartier muffin, also substitute

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