Muffin n. a small, cup-shaped bread, often sweetened and usually served hot.
The derivation of the word muffin comes from the French phrase moufflet which is often times employed to bread and means tender.
The two chief kinds of muffins are English muffins and American style muffins. They vary in style as well as flavor and history.
English muffins are a flat yeast raised muffin with nooks and crannies which are cooked on a hot griddle. Early English muffins were cooked in muffin rings which were hooplike and placed directly on a stove or the bottom of a skillet.
American style muffins on the other hand are more of a quick bread that is made in individual molds. The molds are necessary because of the mix being a batter rather than dough. These muffins were initially leavened with potash which produces carbon dioxide gas in the batter. When baking powder was created around 1857 it put an end to the use of potash as well as to the profitable potash exports to the old state.
Muffin recipes first began to appear in print in the mid 18th century and quickly caught on. From the 19th century muffin men walked the streets of England at tea time to market there muffins. They wore trays of English muffins on there heads and rang there bells to call customers to there products.
Three states in the United States of America have adopted official muffins. Minnesota has adopted the blueberry muffin as the official state muffin. Massachusetts in 1986 adopted the Corn Muffin as the official state muffin. Then in 1987 New York took on the Apple Muffin because its official muffin of choice.
So next time you bite into a hot muffin think about its sweet history.