Muffins are a quick and tasty treat that can be eaten any time of day. Making muffins is one of the least complicated baking procedures, but the standard muffin tin was once the only one way to bake muffins. Many inventions have been created to give you alternatives to using that old metal pan with six circle cutouts.
Silicone Muffin Pans
A silicone muffin pan is similar to the muffin tin, but is made of flexible material that withstands heat, but bends and releases the muffins easily. Silicone is also non-stick so you do not need baking cups. These muffin pans come in regular muffin size, as well as mini muffin size. The size of the pan ranges from six cups to 12, or 24 for mini.
Free-standing Baking Cups
Free-standing baking cups allow you to make as many muffins as you want without needing a pan at all. These cups come in paper, foil or silicone and are simply placed on a baking sheet for support on the oven rack. The paper and foil cups are heavier than standard baking cups and do not fall to the side with the weight of the batter. Silicone cups are flexible and reusable. The silicone cups also come with ruffled edges, like standard baking cups. Using free-standing cups saves space and the clean up is much less.
Ramekins are traditionally used for individual dessert items, casseroles or quiches, but these small ceramic dishes can also be used for muffins, while giving them a more elegant look. Ramekins are generally sold in sets of four, but can be found individually or in larger sets at specialty or discount stores. Because ramekins are ceramic -- though glass is available as well -- cooking times or temperatures for the muffins may have to be altered.
Muffin makers have the look of a waffle maker, but are designed for regular and mini-sized cupcakes and muffins. Six to eight holders cook the muffins to perfection and without the need for liners. The surface is non-stick, so the clean up is fast and easy. Because of the covered and pressurized design, the muffin maker cooks the desserts much faster than an oven and with less work.