First block day, which means that this recipe was prepped, created, eaten and cleaned up in an 80 minute time period (instead of the usual 40).
We had a recipe for blueberry muffins that left me wanting more. I decided to go a’searching. First spot I check is ALWAYS America’s Test Kitchen… I usually search no further, as I find just what I was looking for!
This recipe is no exception. It IS more complicated than the standard, simple, muffin recipe. I think it pays off, though; these muffins are perfectly sweet, VERY blueberry-y, with a crunchy, sweet, fresh topping instead of the usual, distracting crumb topping.
My kids did GREAT with this today, seeing as it was only their third time in the kitchen! If they could do it, YOU can do it
Cast of Characters:
From the left: Lemons, buttermilk, salt, canola oil, butter, eggs, vanilla, baking powder, blueberries, flour and sugar.
First step, wash and zest that lemon. You want two teaspoons, which you should get just fine from one large lemon.
(that boy has large hands).
See? Lots of zest. Now, LISTEN! DON’T grate all the way to the white. It’s called the “pith” and it tastes bitter and nasty. You probably know this because you try to peel it off your oranges before you eat slices. ONLY get the colored part, the zest; it has all the oils, fragrance, and wonderfulness.
The zest (2 tsp.) gets combined with 1/2 c. sugar to make your topping. Set aside.
Next, combine 1 c. blueberries (fresh or frozen, preferably wild) with 2 tsp. sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 7 minutes or until reduced to about 1/4 c. Set aside to cool.
Up next, your dries. Whisk together 2 1/2 c. flour, 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder, and 1 tsp. salt in a large mixing bowl.
In another bowl, mix 2 eggs with 1 1/8 c. (or 1 c. plus 2 tbsp… same thing), until pale, about 45 seconds.
In a smaller bowl, combine buttermilk (1 c.), 1/4 c. oil, and 1/4 c. melted and cooled unsalted butter.
Combine these two “wets” bowls.
Next, pour wets into dries bowl. FOLD! Why do we fold? We fold to combine two things efficiently but GENTLY. You do it (with a rubber spatula )by cutting down through the center, scraping your rubber spatula up the side closest to you, and flipping up and over to where you started. Then you turn the bowl a bit, and do it again. It ends up being a quick process. DON’T OVERMIX! You want your pancake and muffin batters to be nice and LUMPY!
Ok this is mid-fold.. keep going till it looks like this:
Beautiful, lumpy, muffin batter.
Spoon into lined muffin tins (OR just spray with cooking spray, that is what I do at home).
Drop some blueberries into each muffin, and push down with fingers (or whatever is easiest for you).
Just like that.. good job kids.
Next you spoon a tsp. of the blueberry jam into each muffin, and swirl around with a skewer, chopstick, or toothpick (easier with the first two).
Lastly, top with your lemon zest sugar!
Into the 450 degree oven for about 16 minutes (between 16 and 19). I found 16 to be perfect.
Let cool for a sec then put onto wire racks to cool completely before digging in. Enjoy!
FYI: These kids didn’t push their berries as far down a they could have. Remember to push them all the way down!
1 cup blueberries
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1-1/8 cups (8 oz.) sugar
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk (or clabbered milk)
1 cup fresh blueberries
1. Make the jam: Combine berries and sugar in small saucepan over medium heat. Break berries with spoon and cook down to 1/4 cup (about six minutes). Let cool.
2. Make the topping: Mix sugar and zest together in small bowl. Set aside.
3. Make the Muffin: Heat oven to 425F.
4. Set baking rack to upper middle of oven.
5. Line two large muffin tins with paper liners.
6. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together in large bowl. Set aside.
7. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar till light, about 45 seconds.
8. In a medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, oil, vanilla, and buttermilk.
9. Add egg mixture and continue to whisk till well combined.
10. Fold wet mixture into flour mixture with a spoon or spatula.
11. Mix lightly and leave the batter slightly lumpy.
12. Divide batter evenly among tins.
13. Divide the blueberries evenly among the muffins, pressing them down with your fingers.
14. Spoon about 1 tsp. of jam onto tops of muffins.
15. Swirl the jam into the muffins using a skewer or chopstick and a figure eight motion.
16. Sprinkle each muffin with some of the lemon-sugar mixture.
17. Bake 16-19 minutes, or till tops are set and toothpick inserted near center returns with just a few crumbs.
Cool in pan 5 minutes before transferring to rack to finish cooling.
*We didn’t actually use buttermilk, we used clabbered milk that I made before the kids arrived. What is clabbered milk? It’s homemade buttermilk. I actually never buy buttermilk unless I need to use the whole container. This is how you make it:
1) Take out a liquid measuring cup.
2) Measure out 1 tbsp. of lemon juice, lime juice, or white vinegar and pour in the bottom of measuring cup.
3) Fill to the 1 c. line with cow’s milk. Most buttermilk is made with 1 % milk but I have done this with skim and 2% milk. Worked fine.
4) Give it a quick stir, let sit about 10 minutes. Voila! Buttermilk!