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I've been asked to get someone a muffin scoop as a gift. It was described to me as a 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup sized cookie scoop.

I'm extremely confused by this request, as cookies and muffins are fairly different. Cookie scoops expedite making drop cookies by making it easier to grab that rounded tablespoon or 1/8th cup or whatever and placing it smoothly on the sheet. Since muffins are batter I'm not sure I can easily visualize the same thing happening.

I also had trouble finding a muffin scoop when I searched for it. There are about 5 logical links on the front page of google, including this one from King Arthur. Beyond that I could find a 4 tablespoon cookie scoop, but I'm not sure if this will work well for muffin batter (or at least any better than a nice 1/4 cup measure) because I don't see how the spring action of the handles for such scoops is helpful.

I also found things like a #20 scoop that lists itself as helpful for muffins, and the King Arthur scoop says it is a #16. As far as I can tell that is how many scoops per quart and it is a professional tool. Is that what I should be looking for? I don't want to disappoint my giftee, and I also don't want to purchase the wrong thing or a worthless thing.

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Cookie Scoop, Muffin Scoop, Disher.... They come in all sizes and are useful for a whole lot (except I don't like them for ice cream). See here:

Alton brown frequently uses these scoops for all sorts of things on "Good Eats", including his episode "The Muffin Method Man" where he uses a #20 scoop:

Another example of using scoops for muffins.

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you should summerize your links, just in case somebody is looking at this down the road after those links have hit the dust pile :) – sarge_smith Dec 7 '10 at 17:39

I think your confusion is based on the idea that muffins are necessarily a thin batter. Some recipes do produce that, but others produce something quite a bit thicker that you can reasonably scoop with the same type of portioner used for cookie dough.

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I guess part of my question centers exactly on the wide variety of muffins out there (although most of my batter comes out pretty thin) - for example sometimes the portion is half the tin height, sometimes all of it. – justkt Dec 7 '10 at 17:55
Well yes, that is quite true. There isn't a truly standard size disher that should be considered a muffin scoop. But one that fills it up just below the rim would probably be a reasonable all-purpose solution. – Michael at Herbivoracious Dec 7 '10 at 20:33

It's super simple. Any restaurant supply house will have ice-cream scoops with a trigger release. They come in a multitude of sizes, and they can be used for many different uses, which include (but are not limited to) ice-cream scooping, cookie scooping, muffin scooping, you name it. Virtually anything that is not solid can be portioned using one of these scoops. So you can't think of it as a 'muffin' scoop (although that is the way many people will refer to it if it is the only purpose they have for it), think of it as a 'multi-purpose' scoop.

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It sounds like it is just a glorified cookie scoop. I do use my large (1/4 cup size) cookie scoop to fill muffin tins. I've also found just using a 1/4 or 1/3 size measuring cup works equally well.

When making cupcakes, I use the large cookie scoop because I am quite messy and have a hard time spooning the batter into the paper cups without tipping them over.

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