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.

Browse Culinary Arts Schools & Colleges

Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT Clear All

    See More


    See More



    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads
            Culinary Arts (AS)
            • Program areas include Culinary Arts, Culinary Management, and more
            • Students are taught cooking styles from around the globe, including Classical European, Asian, and Latin cuisine
            • Curriculum designed to prepare students for a career as a chef, with course topics that include Culinary Techniques, Management by Menu, and Nutrition
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            Intensive Sommelier Training
            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
            Show more [+]
            Culinary Arts
            • 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.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
            Show more [+]
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid