I don’t know where I got my love and baking from scratch because most of my childhood breakfast memories involve things from boxes and bags. Don’t get me wrong, cereal is one of my favorite foods and something that is breakfast, snack, and occasionally dinner in my world. And every once in a while, it’s ok to eat a Pop-tart. But only the S’mores or Cookies n’ Cream variety. Not that nasty, “fruit” filled stuff. If it’s going to be bad for me, it’s going to be REAL bad.
But one breakfast food that is not ok out of a bag? Muffins. We ate blueberry muffins growing up. Blueberry muffins out of a bag that only required water. What?! How is that even possible? You get this mix with so many chemicals in it I’m instantly preserved after eating one and floating around in that powdery substance are blueberries dehydrated to near extinction. At least, I think they’re blueberries. Add the water, and you have a substance perfect for using as a substitute for plaster or glue, but not for consumption.
But these blueberry muffins. These blueberry muffins are legit. Legitimately delicious. They are filled with blueberry goodness, topped with a homemade blueberry reduction, and then topped with lemon sugar. This makes for moist, smooth muffins that will not last beyond breakfast. So make different plans for dinner.
The Best Blueberry Muffins
makes 12-16 muffins
⅓ cup sugar
zest from one lemon
2 cups frozen blueberries (or 2 cups fresh)
1 ⅛ cups plus 1 tsp sugar
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
4 tbsp butter, melted and cooled slightly
¼ cup oil (vegetable or canola)
1 cup buttermilk
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
*Note: I found that there was not quite enough of the cooked berries for the tops of all of the muffins. Next time, I would increase it to 1 1/2 cups of blueberries for the reduction, making the total 3 1/2 cups of blueberries.
- Stir together the lemon zest and sugar in a small bowl for the topping and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Rinse one cup of the blueberries under cold water and spread them on a double layer of paper towels to dry well. (I forgot this step and suffered no ill consequences.)
- In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the remaining cup of blueberries and 1 tsp of sugar to a simmer. Cook the blueberries until reduced to about 1/3 cup, around 6-8 minutes, stirring and mashing with a spoon frequently. The blueberries will be broken down and the mixture thick.
- Transfer the cooked berries to a small bowl and let cool to room temperature.
- Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Toss the remaining cup of blueberries in with the flour mixture and set aside.
- In another bowl, whisk the remaining 1 1/8 cup of sugar and eggs until thick, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in the butter and eggs until combined. Whisk in the buttermilk and vanilla until combined.
- Using a rubber spatula, fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined. The batter will be lumpy with a few spots of flour throughout but resist the urge to continue to mix! This is what makes moist and delicious muffins!
- Fill a prepared muffin pan 3/4 of the way with the batter. Spoon a teaspoon of the blueberry reduction onto the top of each muffin and gently swirl with a toothpick in a figure eight motion.
- Sprinkle lemon sugar evenly over the top of the muffins.
- Bake until the tops of the muffins are golden and just firm, 17-18 minutes. Cool in the muffin tin for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack for 5 minutes to cool before serving.
Source: adapted from Cook’s Illustrated via Mel’s Kitchen Cafe