It is the start of summer here in Dallas. I just made my weekly visit to local market and came across some fresh blueberries on sale. I have been waiting all winter (short one here) for fresh blueberries. I usually buy extras and freeze them so I have them on hand for breakfast muffins. Last year, my sister in Oregon would go berry picking and she had tons leftover. Frozen blueberries are easier and cleaner to work with in batter such as pancakes, crepes, muffins, and even smoothies. Since they are frozen, they do not get mushy and turn the batter blue (I end up with smurf fingers). I am always drawn to those big muffins at the coffee shop and could not help but wonder how they do it. My favorite part is the muffin top. It is crunchy around the edges. But, most of the store bought are lacking in berry flavor. It has that box mix after taste and way too much additives. I have tried many muffins recipes. But, I think I may have found the taste I was hoping for. Here is my recent baking attemps using the recipe from Cooks Illustrated. Their secret is making a jam and swirling in the batter before baking. It does give an extra burst of blueberries. They also made a lemon zest and sugar topping that I did not really care for. Next time, I will use a standard walnut struesel topping instead for a crunch texture.
Best Blueberry Muffins
Source: Cooks Illustrated
Makes 12 Muffins
Lemon Sugar Topping
1/3 c. (2 1/3 ounces) sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest from 1 lemon
2 cups (about 10 ounces) fresh blueberries, picked over
1 1/8 cups (8 ounces) plus 1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. For the topping: Stir together sugar and lemon zest in small bowl until combined; set aside.
2. For the muffins: Adust oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray standard muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Bring 1 cup blueberries and 1 teaspoon sugar to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing berries with spoon several times and stirring frequently, until berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced to 1/4 cup, about 6 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and cool to room remperature, 10-15 minutes.
3. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl. Whisk remaining 1 1/8 c. sugar and eggs together in medium bowl until thick and homogeneous, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in butter and oil until combined. Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla until combined. Using rubber spatula, fold egg mixture and remaining cup blueberries into flour mixture until just moistened. (Batter will be very lumpy with few spots of dry flour; do not overmix.)
4.Divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups (batter should completely fill cups and mound slightly). Spoon teaspoon of cooked berry mixture into center of each mound of batter. Using chopstick or skewer, gently swirl berry filling into batter using figure-eight motion. Sprinkle lemon sugar evenly over muffins.
5. Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm, 17-19 minutes, rotating muffin tin from front to back halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving.