One of my favorite things about summer is fresh fruit. As much as I love chocolate and all other unhealthy foods, if fresh fruit wasn't such a rarity at all times except summer, I'd probably be much healthier (I can say this since it'll never happen). Blueberries work with everything: breads, muffins, pies, pancakes, ice cream, smoothies. What a dynamic little fruit.

Back in the day when I was applying to colleges I saw an essay contest for the North Carolina Blueberry Festival (because apparently I come from a blueberry-loving state) where you could win some sort of scholarship just for writing about blueberries. I remember thinking, seriously...an essay about blueberries? That's it? I LOVE BLUEBERRIES! How could I not win?

Well, procrastinating and never writing the essay is one way. A few months down the road I was talking with a friend of mine who was laughing about how he won a scholarship for writing an essay about blueberries, and that he didn't even like blueberries. Naturally I've been kicking myself ever since. I'll spare you all from my long-overdue essay on blueberries, but I will give you this amazing blueberry muffin recipe.

Blueberry muffins should be bursting with fresh blueberries. The key is not to have a single bite without a blueberry. This recipe takes things up a notch by adding a homemade blueberry jam on top and swirling it around a bit. And just in case you still felt like taking things up even more, you then add a crunchy lemon sugar topping. You can taste the crunch of the sugar, and oh is it good. I added about 1/4 cup extra blueberries to the pan while cooking down the blueberries because I wanted as much blueberry flavor as possible. I doubt that was necessary, but mission accomplished.

Enjoy!

Blueberry Muffins

Recipe from The Little Kitchen
Yield: 12 Muffins

Ingredients

Lemon-Sugar Topping:

1/3 cup sugar (2 1/3 ounces)
1 1/2 tsp finely grated zest from 1 lemon

Muffins:

Non-stick cooking or baking spray, I used Baker's Joy
2 cups fresh blueberries (about 10 ounces), picked over
1 1/8 cups sugar (8 ounces) plus 1 tsp
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp table salt
2 large eggs
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

FOR THE TOPPING: Combine sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl and stir. Set aside.

FOR THE MUFFINS: If not already done, move oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray muffin tin with baking spray.

Add 1 cup blueberries and 1 teaspoon sugar to a small saucepan at medium heat. Allow to simmer and cook, mash the berries with the back of a spoon until all of the berries are broken down. Stir frequently and cook until mixture is thickened and reduced to about ¼ cup, about 6 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Add flour, baking powder, and salt to a large bowl and whisk.

To another bowl, add 1 1/8 cups sugar and eggs and whisk until thick, about 45 seconds. Whisk in butter and oil slowly, until combined. Then, whisk buttermilk and vanilla in, until combined.

Using rubber spatula or a wooden spoon, fold in egg mixture and remaining cup blueberries into flour mixture until just moistened. (Do not overmix. The batter will be lumpy and that's fine.)

Using an ice cream scoop or cookie scoop, add batter evenly to each of the muffin cups. The muffin cups will be full. Take one teaspoon of the cooled blueberry jam and add to the top of each mound of batter. Using a chopstick or skewer, swirl the jam into the batter a few times. (Cook's Illustrated says to use figure eight motions.)

Add the lemon-sugar topping evenly over all of the muffins.

Bake the muffins until they are just about gold on top, about 17-19 minutes. Halfway through the baking time, be sure to rotate the muffin tin. Allow muffins to cool in the muffin tin for about 2-3 minutes. Using a butter knife or offset spatula, remove the muffins from the tin and allow them to rest at an angle. Cool for another 5 minutes and place on a cooling rack. Serve with softened butter.
These muffins can be stored in a zippered plastic bag for 2-3 days.



3 comments

David said... @ July 23, 2013 at 1:42 PM

Those pictures are fantastic!

Sarah said... @ July 23, 2013 at 5:49 PM

Thank you, David! My photography skills are still a work in progress, so that's always great to hear!

Faye said... @ July 27, 2013 at 9:14 PM

These muffins look great! Can't wait to try the recipe.

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