Thursday, August 06, 2009

Baking Class: Blueberry Muffins

Blueberries are in season, and are ridiculously cheap at my local grocery store, so I have been buying quite a few of them. There's only so much cobbler a gal can make, and I don't always have yogurt on hand (which is actually one of my favorite ways to eat them - sprinkled on top of French Vanilla yogurt), so I needed to find some new uses.

My sister suggested that I look into cookies, but I'm not sure the berries can hold up to a cookie. Maybe a bar of some kind? Oooh, I think I have just given myself an idea or two. I'll have to work on those.

In the meantime, I remembered a recipe for blueberry muffins that I made once or twice from The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook. Not really being a muffin lover, I find it interesting that I thought of these, having so recently made the strawberry yogurt muffins, but my memory of this recipe is that I'm always surprised by how good the muffins are. They are sweeter than I remember, and the blueberry really shines. They're not humongous like the ones you get in coffee shops, so there's less guilt in eating one.

These days I'm all about playing around with recipes, and adapting what I've learned from one recipe to another, so I made a couple of changes to this recipe as well. Nothing major, but I think they are improved. I added lemon, and sprinkled decorative sugar crystals on top before baking (something I've been wanting to do for a while in my baking but keep forgetting until after the batter is alread in the oven). I also tossed the blueberries in flour before adding them to the batter, which helped keep them suspended in the batter rather than settling at the bottom of the muffin. One good thing I learned from watching The Food Network.

I used all-purpose flour for this recipe, but I think it could easily be adapted to at least half and half all-purpose and whole wheat flours. Now that there's the softer white whole wheat flour available, I think the shift to whole wheat can be made without sacrificing texture or flavor. It's still not as fine as all-purpose flour, but it's definitely softer than regular whole wheat.

I don't know if it's because we've had such a relatively cool, wet season, but the blueberries seem a little more tart this year. That tartness balances well with the sweetness of this batter. These muffins are easy to make and disappear quickly. There are few better ways to use the season's bounty.
Home Cookin Chapter: Breads and Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

2 cup flour, with 1/4 cup reserved
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
zest of 1 lemon
1 egg
1 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
3/4 cup blueberries
large decorative sugar crystals (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 deg.

Grease muffin tin (or insert a paper wrapper in each muffin cup).

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, combine the reserved cup of flour and the blueberries, and gently stir to coat all of the blueberries. Shake off the extra flour into the bowl of dried ingredients.

In a small bowl, beat the egg slightly, then stir in the milk and oil. Add to the flour mixture, along with the flour coated bluegerries, and stir until just moistened.

Spoon the batter into the muffin cups. Sprinkle the sugar on top of each muffin.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from the muffin tin and let cool on a rack.

Adapted from The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook, edited by Zoe Coulson (Hearst Books, 1980)

Exported from Home Cookin 5.9 (

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