Blueberry Muffins

A good blueberry muffin is one of life’s most perfect things. To my mind it should be moist, tender, fine-textured, just barely sweet, but sweet enough to balance a generous amount of plump tangy berries suspended in it. Several summers ago, I set out to create the perfect blueberry muffin. We enjoyed my different versions throughout the summer until I finally bit upon the balance I was after. I have to admit that the most important element, the proper degree of moistness, came about entirely by accident when I was making a half batch and forgot to halve the milk. To my amazement, the additional liquid did not make the texture heavy or pasty as it would in a cake. The next time, I cut it back only slightly and had everything I was looking for in a blueberry muffin. I am also indebted to Elizabeth Alston’s Muffins (Clarkson Potter) for the lovely idea of mashing some of the berries into the batter and making the tops crunchy with a sprinkling of sugar and nutmeg.

I like to serve these muffins to guests for breakfast in the country. I measure the ingredients the night before and, in the morning, quickly mix and bake them to serve with the freshly squeezed orange juice and coffee.

Read more
Preheat the oven to: 375°F.
Baking time: 20 to 25 minutes
KEEPS: 3 days at room temperature, 3 months frozen.
INGREDIENTS MEASURE WEIGHT
room temperature volume ounces grams
unsalted butter 4 tablespoons 2 ounces 57 grams
sugar ¾ cup 5.25 ounces 150 grams
lemon zest, finely grated teaspoons 3 grams
1 large egg 3 tablespoons 1.75 ounces        50 grams

(weighed without shell)

pure vanilla extract ½ teaspoon
fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried, divided cups 5.5 ounces 155 grams
bleached all-purpose flour 1 cup (dip and sweep method) 5 ounces 145 grams
baking powder 1 teaspoon 4.9 grams
salt ¼ teaspoon
milk liquid cup
Topping
sugar ¾ teaspoon
nutmeg, grated teaspoon

Method

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

In a large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer set on medium speed, cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla.

In a small bowl, mash ¼ cup of the berries. Beat this into the butter mixture.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add half the flour mixture with half the milk and, using a rubber spatula, fold it in. Repeat with the remaining flour and milk, folding in just until the flour disappears. Fold in the remaining 1 cup of blueberries.

Spoon or pipe the batter into the muffin cups, filling them almost to the top.

*I find it easiest to scrape the batter into a heavy-duty gallon zip-seal bag, zip it shut and cut off the tip of one of the bottom corners. It functions as a disposable piping bag.

Topping

In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and nutmeg for the topping. Place it in a small strainer and, using a spoon to help press it through, dust it over the top of each muffin.

Pour a little water into any empty muffin cups to prevent uneven baking. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the muffins spring back when pressed lightly in the center. Unmold the muffins onto wire cake racks to cool, top sides up. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Loading
Loading
Loading