* To substitute for buttermilk, use 2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice plus milk to make 2 cups.
Brown sugar and buttermilk make these muffins extra-tender.
For baking, choose a neutral-flavored vegetable oil such as corn or canola oil. Olive or peanut oil contributes too much flavor to sweet recipes.
Although the proverbial "rotten egg" is unusual (you'll know if you have one by the unmistakable odor of sulfur when the egg is cracked open), eggs may harbor salmonella bacteria, which cannot be detected by the nose. At the store, open the egg box to make sure there are no cracked or chipped eggs and check the "sell by" date stamped on the carton. Refrigerate eggs at home in the main compartment of the refrigerator rather than on the door, to reduce temperature fluctuations.
Chocolate Chip: Fold in 1/3 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Cinnamon Topped: After baking, dip top of each muffin in melted butter, then in a mixture of 2 tablespoons sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg.
Maple Walnut: Fold in 1/3 cup chopped walnuts and 1/2 teaspoon maple extract.
Mixed Fruit: Fold in 1/3 cup chopped dried mixed fruit.
Pineapple Coconut: Fold in 1/3 cup drained, crushed pineapple and 1/4 cup coconut.