sweet tender muffinsMakes 1 dozen large, 18 medium, and 4 dozen mini muffins as well as 4 mini quick-bread loaves

Make sure to check your muffin cup capacity. Some muffin cups are smaller than the 1/2-cup called for in this recipe.

Flavorings (see specific recipes below)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups plain low-fat yogurt

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees (or 450 degrees for mini muffins). Prepare Flavorings. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, then alternating 1/3 at a time, beat in the dry ingredients and yogurt until a smooth, thick batter just forms. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with 1/2-cup capacity (or four 12-cup mini muffin tins) with vegetable cooking spray. Divide batter evenly among the cups. (A spring-action regular or mini ice cream scoop works well. The muffin cups will be full.) Bake until muffins are golden brown, about 12 minutes for the mini muffins and about 25 for the larger ones. Set pan(s) on a wire rack to cool slightly, remove muffins and continue to cool or serve.

Here’s a few variations, but I’ve given you the key to create your own.

Sweet Tender Muffins With Dates and Walnuts: Mix 1 cup each: chopped dates and toasted walnuts with the dry ingredients and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract with the eggs

Sweet Tender Muffins with Chocolate and Cherries: Mix 1 cup each: coarsely chopped dried cherries and miniature chocolate chips with the dry ingredients and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract with the eggs.

Sweet Tender Muffins with Pineapple, Coconut, and Ginger: Mix 1 cup each: coarsely chopped dried pineapple chunks, 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut, 1 tablespoon ground ginger, and 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon with the dry ingredients.

Sweet Tender Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins: Mix 3 tablespoons poppy seeds and 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest with the dry ingredients. Spoon half the batter into each muffin cup. Dipping the bowl of a spoon in water as necessary, make a well in each cup of batter. Drop a heaping teaspoon (or 1/4 teaspoon for mini muffins) of lemon curd in each well. Top with remaining batter.