The final project

Interns at the Test Kitchen are given an “optional” cooking project. This go around, it’s muffins.

The project is supposed to mimic what the test cooks go through when developing a recipe, and is kept on file should we ever apply for a permanent position. We’re tasked with researching, developing and then writing a 1000 word article based on the muffin of choice. Red faced, I admit that every time someone mentions the word “muffin,” the only thing I can think of is Betty White, but I managed to pull myself together long enough to create a recipe I’m extremely proud of.

The crumb is perfect — absolutely perfect; light and crumbly, but moist. Experiments with baking powder and oven temperature proved to be well worth the time, producing a crunchy, sugary top with impressive crown. The part of the recipe that caused the most grief was the flavor. I selected Lemon Poppy Seed — it’s not only a popular flavor, with a high SEO return, but the last time it had been published by the magazine was 1997.

Test after test, the lemon flavor was spot on when the batter was raw, but after baking, it disappeared completely. In order to retain the lemony bite, I would have had to ask the home cook to sacrifice what seemed like a bushel of lemons — not very practical, and I didn’t want to take the easy way out with a glaze.

Finally this morning, after test number 7, I figured out the formula and created a muffin that offered a perfect balance of bright lemon with crunchy poppy seed, a tender crumb and crunchy top. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

The journey is fun, but that eureka! moment is, without a doubt, the best part of the recipe development process.

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            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
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            Baker College is the largest independent college in Michigan with the most focused approach to education and training available. Our mission is to prepare you for meaningful employment.

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            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
            • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
            • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
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            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
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            L'Ecole Culinaire , Saint Louis
            • Offers educational opportunities for the aspiring, career-minded chef.
            • Students are trained by professional chefs and spend the majority of their final term working in the campus restaurant to learn all phases of the culinary industry.
            • St. Louis campus offers new Food Truck Entrepreneurship courses.
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            • Students get real-world experience through the required externship at the end of the program.
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            • Has been training students in the culinary arts since 1946.
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