1 quart sweet milk (half-cream if you can get it)
1 qt. flour–heaping
1 tbs. butter and the same of lard, melted together
Beat the eggs light–the yolks and whites separately; add the milk, with a little salt, then the shortening, lastly the flour, stirring in lightly. Bake immediately in well-greased rings half filled with the batter. Your oven should be hot, and the muffins sent to table so soon as they are taken up.
Common Sense in the Household by Marion Harland, New York, 1871
Comment: “Sweet milk” as called for here is simply milk which has not gone sour, not one to which any sort of sugar has been added. This recipe may be more challenging in the realm of equipment than it is in ingredients or techniques. Those who go to the trouble of making muffins nowadays normally use the same utensil more commonly associated with cupcakes, although it is in fact still called a “muffin tin.”
The description above seems to indicate that the resulting breadstuffs are to be of considerably larger diameter, perhaps in the four to six inch range. Mrs. Harland apparently expects everyone to have “greased rings” of the requisite size, but it may take a trip to a cooking-gadget emporium somewhat more specialized than the average department store to find them.