Tired of scrubbing off the burnt batter from muffin tins? Take this preventative measure: Before baking, cover the muffin tin tightly with aluminum foil and cut slits in each hole. Then go ahead and drop paper or foil liners into each hole—pressing the foil down with each liner—and fill with your favorite muffin batter. After removing the muffins, simply peel off the dirty foil.
If your muffins stubbornly stick to the pan, use this test kitchen technique to dislodge them without risking tearing: Use the thin, slightly curved blade of a grapefruit knife, which is particularly suited to getting under a stuck muffin with little chance of damage.
Home freezers often render ice cream so cold that it’s difficult to scoop right away. But who wants to wait for ice cream to soften on the counter—especially when everyone is looking forward to dessert? To avoid the wait, we like to prepare the scoops in advance. Just scoop fresh ice cream into a muffin tin lined with muffin papers and then freeze. Once frozen, the paper-lined portions can be stored in a plastic bag in the freezer for easy, ready-when-you-are servings. Just peel off the paper and place the ice cream in a bowl. This is also a great method for quickly firming up homemade ice cream, which is notoriously soft when it comes out of the machine.