Best Buttermilk Blueberry Muffins

Summer is around the corner and everyone loves to have a delicious fruit muffin recipe in his or her repertoire. Here is a recipe that works well with all sorts of seasonal fruit. These blueberry muffins are absolutely delicious. The extra step of stewing some of the berries is well worth the trouble. These muffins are more like a coffee cake with its crumb/streusel topping. I am a huge fan of streamlined baking recipes that do not call for creaming the butter and sugar. This muffin recipe is fairly low in  fat and  yet it stays moist. Many muffins get dried out very quickly. I published a cake recipe last summer that called for  the cooked fruit method and it really does adds flavour, texture and moisture. (This recipe has been adapted from Cook’s  America’s Test Kitchen.)

I pick my blueberries each summer at a local farm called Patch of Blue in Penetanguishene, Ontario. I use frozen berries all year round and I love having them in my freezer to make these muffins, compote for my desserts and pancakes, to add to my morning cereal, to add to crisps and to use in smoothies.

One of the great benefits of country living is that I am near several pick your own farms. I have always loved picking my own fruit and vegetables with my children and we still do it every summer and fall. I recall picking strawberries when my eldest daughter was just a baby and she sat patiently in my snugli baby carrier. The Chef in me is very happy  when I stand in the heat and stare at a sea of berry bushes begging to be picked.

This summer I strongly suggest that you pick your own fruit and that includes blueberries or buy local organic- you will be very happy you did. I see it as a great way to spend a few hours getting to know how berries are picked, (including how much hard work it is) it also helps to release your inner harvester-and it is fun to witness your own ability to decide on berry ripeness and to snack along the way- your blue lips are a dead give away. Bring a hat and wear sunscreen.

Yield: Makes 12 Muffins


 Ingredients:
For the Crumb Topping

1  cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Ingredients for the Batter:

2 cups (about 10 ounces) fresh or frozen blueberries, picked over  and then separated into two amounts of 1 cup each

1 cup (about 8 ounces) white sugar

1 Tablespoon sugar for cooking the blueberries
2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/3 cup neutral flavored oil
1 cup buttermilk or soured milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract


Directions:

1.Make the crumb topping: Whisk together flour, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl. Pour in melted butter and toss mix  until large crumbs form.

2. For the muffins: Adjust oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray standard muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray or line with large parchment paper liners.

Bring 1 cup blueberries and 1 tablespoon sugar to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook gently while crushing berries with potato masher or whisk and stir frequently, until berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced to 1/4 cup, about 6 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and stir the berry mixture until it  cools to room temperature, 10-15 minutes.  To speed the process up place the mixture in the fridge.  (¥ou can do this ahead if you like or even substitute thinned down jam.)

3. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in large bowl. Whisk the 1 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 vanilla and almond extract. Using a rubber spatula, fold egg mixture and remaining cup blueberries into flour mixture until just moistened. (The batter will be very lumpy, be careful not to over-mix.)

4.Divide half of the  batter equally among prepared

muffin cups. The cups should be about half full. Spoon teaspoon of cooked berry mixture into center of each mound of batter. Using a skewer or the handle of a spoon, gently swirl berry filling into batter to evenly distribute the mixture. Cover the berry mixture with the rest of the batter.  Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over muffins. Pressing the crumb mixture gently into the batter so that it sticks to the batter.

5. Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm, 15-20 minutes, rotating muffin tin from front to back halfway through baking time. Place the cooked muffins on a wire rack and let the muffins cool for 5 minutes, then remove them from the muffin tin to finish cooling. If you use parchment paper which prevents sticking this job will be much easier. (They are delicious while still warm, try spreading some butter over the muffins.)

 

Santé

Chef Elizabeth

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