If you're anything like me, there's been at least once (a week) where you've just burst through the door from the grocery store, laden down with bags, triumphant because you remembered the milk at the last second, and raring to hit the kitchen — only to realize that you're out of something you assumed you had.
At that moment, the last thing I want to do is trek back to the store. But if I'm lucky, there's a way to make do with what I have at home, and the bonus is that I feel extra thrifty when it's all said and done. For cupcake liners, there's an easy fix: A pair of scissors and a couple sheets of parchment paper is all you need to make these tulip-style liners at home, on those days when you're out of the store-bought variety and the cupcake or muffin batter's mixed and ready to go.
Making your own cupcake liners is simple. Here's how to do it!
What you'll need:
- Parchment paper or foil (about 5 x 5 inches for every liner)
- A bottle or glass with a base slightly smaller than the cups in your muffin pan (optional, see below)
- Nonstick spray or other oil for greasing
First, cut your parchment or foil into 4 x 4-inch or 5 x 5-inch squares, depending on the size of your muffin pan. For jumbo muffin pans, increase the size to 7 x 7-inch; for mini muffin pans, reduce to 3 x 3-inch.
Making these liners is easiest if you have a bottle or glass with a base small enough that it fits comfortably into the muffin pan you're using, or ideally just a little smaller. Turn the bottle upside down and center a square of parchment over the base.
Slide your hand down around the paper to mold it to the shape of the bottle. The paper should naturally crease where it needs to, and will form a sturdy cup. If you squeeze firmly enough, the liner should hold its shape when you let go.
And there you go! Repeat with as many squares of parchment as you need.
If you don't have a bottle or glass that fits, no worries! You can simply press a square of parchment into the muffin cups themselves and crease it by hand. It's a little more time-consuming to get the cups to hold their shape, but it should work just fine. To use this method, you may want to lightly grease the pan so that the liners stick to the bottoms of the cups.
When you're ready to bake, just fill the cups with batter as usual. If you used a bottle to form the cups, you may need to open them slightly when you place them into the pans. If you're using foil, you might consider lightly greasing them with nonstick spray or oil before filling them.
I'm always a big fan of kitchen supplies that serve multiple purposes, but these just might be my favorite way to repurpose a kitchen staple -- homemade liners are customizable for any size of pan, you can make only what you need, and the parchment releases from the muffins so much cleaner than normal paper liners. Plus, the tulip-style liners look just a little bit fancier, don't they?
Whole Grain Double Chocolate Muffins
These fantastic chocolate muffins are from Izy Hossack's first cookbook, Top with Cinnamon (Hardie Grant, September 2014). Not only are they whole grain, but the recipe is perfect for small batches — the mix can be made separately, and will keep for one month at room temperature or three in the freezer.
For the muffin mix:
- 45 g (1 ½ oz or ½ cup) oat flour
- 250 g (9 oz or 2 cups) whole wheat flour
- 85 g (3 oz or 1 cup) cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 275 g (10 oz or 1 ¼ cups) coconut sugar or granulated sugar
- 120 ml (4 oz or ½ cup) vegetable oil or melted coconut oil
For one batch of four muffins:
- 200 g (1 ¼ cups) of the muffin mix, above
- 1 egg
- 4 tbsp milk
- 15 g (½ oz) dark chocolate, ideally 60% cocoa solids or above, chopped
1. To make the muffin mix: in a large bowl, stir together all the ingredients except for the oil, until well-combined. Add the oil and use your hands to rub it into the dry ingredients. At this point you can store the mixture in an airtight container or jar. It will last for a month at room temperature or 3 months in the freezer.
2. To make the muffins: preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F). In a bowl, stir the muffin mix with the egg and milk until just combined. Divide between 4 cups of a muffin tin, lined with paper cases. Sprinkle the chopped chocolate over and bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool (or eat them straight away!)
Notes: A double batch of these muffins (or 2 ½ cups of muffin mix) yielded exactly a dozen small muffins in my Wilton pan, and baked up in a little less time than the recipe indicates, about 16-17 minutes. A jumbo pan would likely make the four muffins indicated (eight for a double batch), and require 20-25 minutes as noted above. If you don't have oat flour, process 1/2 cup of oats in a food processor or blender until mealy.