With the onset of fall, there seems to be an increase in our need to bake things. If you find yourself wanting to whip up a cute cupcake or a homey muffin, then look no further than a condiment cup. Wait — what?
Condiment cups (also called soufflé cups) are a handy accessory for muffins and cupcakes. They come in multiple sizes, and they let you forgo a muffin pan completely.
If you are trying to save space in a little kitchen by ditching your muffin pan, but then, come fall, really want a batch of fresh muffins, pick up a dozen soufflé cups instead. They sit perfectly on a baking sheet, no specialty pan needed. Fill and bake as directed. If you use smaller ones, they are an adorable size for mini cupcakes and muffins. (If using the really smal ones, bake the same way you would any other cupcake, just reduce the time. Most will need only 7 to 10 minutes max!)
Condiment cups are also a little sturdier than your usual cupcake wrappers, forming a stronger holder for the baked goods. Maybe you need snacks to send with the kids to school, or something easy to transport into the office. The condiment cups keep everything together, and then, when it's time to eat, the sturdy paper folds can be teased apart and opened until you basically a little plate for your muffin.
If you're not into cupcakes or sweets, try making mini quiches instead! They freeze beautifully (wrappers and all) to be thawed later (baked or unbaked), so give them a go!
Condiment cups can be purchased at restaurant supply stores, or, if you're feeling larcenous, the smaller ones can be hijacked from your local fast food joint (think: ketchup cups).
Related: Quick Tip: Use Parchment Paper as Muffin Cup Liners
(Images: Faith Durand; Sarah Rae Trover)