There's No Muffin Tin Required To Make Copycat Panera Bread Muffies

Portmanteau words can be either fun or annoying, but in some cases, they've become fairly well-established parts of the food lexicon. From over-the-top holiday dishes like turducken and its dessert version, piecaken to faddish foods like the cronut and more everyday ones like the brookie, many of these portmanteau words have been adopted as generic terms. Not so the muffie: This cookie-muffin mashup with a name that sounds straight out of the preppy handbook still seems to be pretty much a Panera Bread thing, although a Los Angeles Times writer actually claimed to have invented this item back in the early '90s.

Mashed recipe developer Stephanie Rapone, following in this earlier food writer's footsteps, has also come up with a muffie recipe, albeit one meant to duplicate Panera's more recent creation. Rapone says of these muffin-like cookies (or cookie-like muffins), "These are great to make as a sweet element for brunch." As noted in the title, you won't need any muffin pans to make copycat Panera Bread muffies, much less paper cupcake liners. Instead, you scoop the dough up in ½-cup-sized balls (Rapone uses an ice cream scoop) and bake it flat on cookie sheets.

Rapone's muffies (like Panera's) are of the chocolate chip variety

Panera, at present, sells just a single type of muffie, that being a chocolate chip one. As Rapone's recipe is meant to replicate this item as closely as possible, hers, too, is made with chocolate chips that are stirred into a cinnamon-flavored batter of a muffin-like consistency. The batter is chilled before baking, though, as this helps the muffies retain their shape in the absence of muffin cups to contain them. After the muffies are baked, Rapone exhorts the recipe reader: "Enjoy them fresh and slightly warm for the best flavor and gooey chocolate."

If gooey chocolate isn't your thing, though, you could always tinker with the basic recipe to create a different kind of muffie. Dried blueberries, cranberries, or cherries could be used in place of the chocolate chips, as could nuts, or you could make lemon poppyseed muffies with the addition of lemon zest and poppyseeds (and subtraction of chocolate, of course). Any substitution that would work in a cookie recipe would probably work here, although it might be best to avoid wetter ingredients like the frozen fruit that would typically be used in blueberry muffins since muffies are more structurally similar to puffy, chewy cookies than they are to cup-baked muffins.