Everyone knows about muffins, right? Everyone at this point understands that they are nothing more than cake in small, tapered, cylindrical shapes. Right? If you don’t know that, I’m sorry to break this to you, but muffins are cake. In some instances they are less healthy than cake. (Unless we’re talking about frosting, which we are not)
So I’m sorry if this message is tantamount to hearing that the Easter Bunny doesn’t exist, or when I found out that, in real life, Mos Def is kind of a jerk (but he’s so cute in Be Kind, Rewind! i know. listen, ladies…he has fathered 8 children with 4 women. this points to the conclusion that Mos Def is probably kind of a jerk. or at the very least…a man. OHHH ZING! good thing i only have like 3 male readers). But really, if you didn’t know that, you need to know. It doesn’t mean you still can’t eat muffins, but I want you to be aware of what you’re getting.
Which is not to say that there aren’t some muffins that are healthier than cake. There are. Corn muffins, carrot muffins, zucchini muffins. But those? Sorry friends. They’re just quick-breads. In a muffin shape.
But you know all this. And we’re here to talk specifically about these blueberry muffins, so let’s stay on topic here. I’m assuming you also know that blueberry muffins are the best kind of muffins, right? Because, really, what compares? Remember making them from the package with that delightful streusel topping? God they’re fucking delicious. And then sometimes you get some from the deli or the supermarket or wherever and they taste kinda poison-y? What is UP with that? All I know is that there is no greater discrepancy between home-made and store-bought than as is displayed by the blueberry muffin.
All the more reason for you to make this recipe. Which you should, because these are really phenomenal blueberry muffins. They even got an enthusiastic thumbs up from my roommate’s boyfriend, who is an aspiring chef. So they’re the real deal.
Plus you get to swirl blueberry sauce in with a chopstick! FUN TIMES IN THE KITCH. So go on and eat muffins for breakfast. You can even tell yourself they’re healthy, because they have blueberries!! God knows how many times I’ve used the But It Has Berries In It justification for eating something really sugary and buttery (berry pies i am looking RIGHT AT YOU). Because although the jig is up….it’s still a jig, right? So LET’S DANCE (hahaaaa, but seriously, why do you even READ this blog? i’m completely unbearable).
Best Blueberry Muffins
From Cook’s Illustrated, May 1, 2009
Makes 12 muffins. (or about 40 mini muffins)
If buttermilk is unavailable, substitute 3/4 cup plain whole-milk or low-fat yogurt thinned with 1/4 cup milk.
1/3 cup sugar (2 1/3 ounces)
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated zest from 1 lemon
2 cups fresh blueberries (about 10 ounces), picked over (I used frozen berries, defrosted under warm running water)
1 1/8 cups sugar (8 ounces) plus 1 teaspoon
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk (see note)
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: Adjust oven rack to 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 ¼ cup, about 6 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl. Whisk remaining 11/8 cups 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. Following photos below, use ice cream scoop or large spoon to 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 to 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.