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Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Bakery-Style Muffins

There are a few tricks to baking a bakery style muffin. By “bakery style muffin” I mean a muffin that has a slight crispness to its muffin top, is moist and fluffy inside and is exactly halfway between being coarse and being cake-like. Most importantly, a bakery style muffin has a big, domed top taking up about 50% of the muffin. Kelli, from Lovescool, and I have been pondering the all important question of how to achieve this.

The main thing in achieving a stable, domed rise is to have a thick batter leavened with baking powder. Yogurt is what makes the batter so thick in this recipe. Baking powder will give the muffin plenty of verticle lift, while a muffin leavened only with baking soda would spread a bit, tending to have a flatter top. Overfilling the muffin tins, by which I actually mean coming up to the top of the tin or slightly higher with the batter, will let these muffins have a nice crisp ledge, like a bakery muffin. You can see that I didn’t overfill mine quite enough; the ledge is quite small in the photo.

Moisture comes from butter, sugar and eggs. The editors of The Best Recipe, which this recipe is taken from, tested the exact amounts of butter and sugar to perfect (in their opinion) this muffin. I increased the sugar from “One cup minus one tablespoon” to “one cup” because it’s simpler. Having only one cup of sugar in this recipe prevents the muffins from being too sweet and cakelike or taking focus away from the flavors in the muffin. The creaming method ensures a tight and fluffy interior crumb in these.

The muffins turned out exactly as promised: domed, beautiful and very bakery-like. They tasted great, with a firmer edge and moist interior. You can add 1 1/2 cups of fruit (fresh or frozen) to the batter, much as Elise has done with her Blueberry Muffins, based on the same recipe. I added some cinnamon and 1 cup of chocolate and cinnamon chips instead. Served warm and with a bit of butter, they were very delicious, though I migh go for a cherry/chocolate combination next time….

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Bakery-Style Muffins
(Adapted from The Best Recipe)
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
10 tbsp unsalted butter, very soft
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups plain low fat yogurt
3/4 cup (generous) chocolate chips
1/4 cup cinnamon chips

Preheat oven to 375F and grease a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray.
Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together in a medium bowl.
Cream together butter and sugar in a large bowl, adding eggs one at a time. Beat in vanilla.
Alternate yogurt and flour into butter mixture, ending with the flour and working in 2 or three additions. Stir in chocolate and cinnamon chips.
Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling them to the top or slightly higher and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and a tester comes out clean (Note: with fruit instead of chocolate chips, you may have to increase baking time by a few minutes).
Cool on a wire rack.
Makes 12 large muffins

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  • bokbaksa
    January 5, 2006

    wow~~~fabulous muffins.
    Thank you for your precise explanation to make bakery style muffins.

  • valentina
    January 5, 2006

    What great post.I am a huge fan of muffins so this came as really cool reading.I also really like your site.
    Till next time.

  • ~~my~~
    January 5, 2006

    yummy yummy yummy, by the way, is it ok if i sub milk instead of yogurt?

  • Rainey
    January 5, 2006

    I have been trying to get such a top on my muffins made with lemon curd and buttermilk. I’ve felt I needed baking soda to neutralize the acid. Do you think I need to continue experimenting with the right combo of baking powder & soda? Or would you recommend trying a batch without the soda altogether?

  • Jessica
    January 5, 2006

    Nice! I love “bakery-style” muffin tops. No wonder these are good–look at all the butter! I thought the decision to use baking powder or soda just depended on the pH of the batter. I didn’t know that one gave more rise than the other.

  • Nic
    January 5, 2006

    bokbaksa – Thank you! I tried to make it clear, but feel free to ask if you have any questions.

    valentina – Thanks so much! I’m glad that you like it.

    ~~my~~ – You will not get the same results with milk. Yogurt is much thicker than milk, as well as being acidic. If you cannot use yogurt, buttermilk will give you similar (though not quite identical) results.

    Rainey – If you’re using buttermilk, you’ll need a little baking soda for extra lift. Try using only 1/4 tsp (I have no idea what scale your recipe is) and more baking soda. I think you’re on the right track with the leavening, as long as the batter is already on the thick side.

    Jessica – Well, the leavening can give more lift depending on the thickness, acidity and structure of batter. Not to mention the way the batter/dough is handled and cooked… It’s not that complicated, really!

  • Anonymous
    January 6, 2006

    i chanced upon your site and really likes it! can i ask is it ok to mix blueberry with cinnamon?


  • Angie
    January 6, 2006

    Truly very bakery-tyle muffins you have there 🙂

  • Nic
    January 6, 2006

    Cannes – You can mix blueberry with cinnamon. You might also try using ginger instead of cinnamon with blueberries, or omitting the spice entirely, if you wish.

    Angie – Thank you!

  • keiko
    January 6, 2006

    Happy new year, Nic – I knew your muffins and cupcakes always looked/sounded perfect, but this one seems even better! I’m hoping to learn baking more this year (I need to make better bread!) – I’m sure I’ll keep coming back here to try your great recipes, thank you so much for sharing.

  • chanit
    January 6, 2006

    I can’t wait.. I have to try those soon ! Thank you 🙂

  • Cathy
    January 7, 2006

    Yum – these sound wonderful! Chocolate cherry sounds even better! I’ve only made muffins once that used the creaming method and they were a revelation. The texture was fantastic. Most recipes I’ve used either called for oil or melted butter and I always substitute oil. Can’t say I’ll use butter from now on… but maybe for an occasional splurge!

  • Anonymous
    January 8, 2006

    Excellent! I made these this afternoon with blueberries and they turned out beautifully. Instead of vanilla I added a couple splashes of of orange juice. The cooking time, as suggested, had to be lengthened by about 5-10 minutes.

  • Jenn
    January 9, 2006

    Wow, I gave these muffins a try today and they are the best muffins I’ve ever made. I used raspberries and I also did have enough yogurt so ended up doing half yougurt and half sour cream.

  • Alice
    January 14, 2006

    I’d really love to try these, they look great. The problem is, I’m almost certain that baking soda just doesn’t exist here (Netherlands). Is it possible to leave it out or substitute it with something else?

  • Nic
    January 14, 2006

    Alice – Actually, I am fairly sure that baking soda is sold in the Netherlands. Is it perhaps under a different name – like sodium bicarbonate?

  • Alice
    January 14, 2006

    I just did some asking around and I found out the name in dutch. Oops. Now I have to try and find it.

  • A___
    January 17, 2006

    these will be fabulous muffins, I was wondering if part of the flour could be substituted with whole wheat? curious to know. thanks A

  • The Barista Worker
    July 19, 2006

    I too am curious about the flour substitutions. After living in vancouver where J.J. Beans had the most monstrously beautiful whole wheat muffins, I have yet to find a recipe to match. I am also curious, could you cut the butter any without too much consequence?

  • Nic
    July 20, 2006

    I would try one of my other recipes instead if you are looking for something lower in fat. The point of this recipe is to be big and rich, like a bakery muffin, and there are many great recipes that are already healthier.

  • Lisa
    October 26, 2007

    Eating these right now for my birthday breakfast. YUM!! We were out of cinnamon 🙁 but they taste great just chocolate chip! I’ll definitely try them with blueberries!

  • Sophia
    November 11, 2007

    Wow! These were great! Everybody loved loved loved them!

  • Dawn
    November 13, 2007

    Hi Nicole! Oh my! Made these last night, and girlfriends swooned this morning over coffee and a muffin! Baked just as you instructed, will put this recipe in my “Winners!” notebook! Thank you for sharing your kitchen fun!

  • Virginie
    August 7, 2008

    I made your muffins (with all butter), and this is the only recipe I’m ever going use again. The texture was fantastic…crisp on the outside and soft and tender on the inside. I’m really looking forward to trying them with fruit next time.

  • Mdm Butter
    November 9, 2008


    I’ve been experimenting different recipes from different websites. From plain milk,yogurt to buttemilk. I’m glad to say that this recipe is the best yogurt muffins I’ve ever made.
    I’ve high expectaton in recipes that claims to be the best ever muffins, h/w I’m mostly disappointed with the results.

    This recipe is a keeper!!!!!It is light and fluffy, I especially like the brown and crispy top. For those who have yet to try, you will never never regret trying this recipe.
    Thank you Nicole for sharing this recipe.

    Mdm Butter

  • JP
    February 16, 2009

    I tried this recipe and it didn’t turn out so well.
    I made half a recipe just to try and omitted the cinnamon and chocolate chips and folded in blueberry preserve instead to make it blueberry muffins. It tasted great really, the dome/cracked mushroom top was achieved, moist inside but the texture outside was too smooth. I wanted it to be lumpy like a true muffin. It was leathery and smooth like bread’s exterior crust. . .What did I do wrong? did I overmix it? I feel I did. Please help. Can this recipe be the basic muffin and just fold in whatever flavor/fruit fresh/preserve I like?

    Love your site, its so informative. Thanks for bein so generous.

    Best regards,


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