Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Best Blueberry Muffins

Best Blueberry Muffin

Two weeks ago, I found the best blueberry muffins recipe (watching America's Test Kitchen online) I have baked so far, Mr. and I have also declared them to be the best blueberry muffins we ate to date, fluffy gives his nod of approval too. So when the box of 18 ounces blueberries were displayed in the cooler at Sam's club, they were calling out to me to bake them. I tried to resist, Mr. can testify, since we are trying to keep our groceries bills down, but I caved in. I reasoned I can gift them away to neighbors and friends for this holiday season, who doesn't want freshly baked muffins?

I started making the blueberry jam yesterday and planned to bake them early this morning at 6am so that Mr. could have them for breakfast before he drove to work. I didn't woke up till 6:52am. I still might be able to make them before he stepped out of the door if I hurry, I told myself. I can tell you now that it's not a good idea to rush when one is half awake. I measured my dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, and salt) and whisked them together. Melt the butter and whisk the wet ingredients together (buttermilk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla essence). Incorporate the blueberries, wet and dry ingredients together. The mixture looked different than what I had the first time I baked these, I tasted the batter.... I FORGOT the sugar! I didn't want to throw away the sugarless batter, so I added the sugar to the already rubbery dough, hoping for the best.

Out from the oven

While waiting for the failed muffins to bake in the oven, I mixed another batch of blueberry muffins, this time carefully followed the instructions, at least I will have some good ones to gift away. Verdict - the 1st and 2nd batch of muffins taste similar to me, 2nd batch is slightly bigger.

2nd batch on the left, 1st on the right

The 2nd batch raised more than the 1st, possibly due to over-mixing.
The recipe calls for under mixing the batter

what should I do with the leftover Lemon-Sugar Topping?

Best Blueberry Muffins from America's TEST KITCHEN

Makes 12 muffins.


Lemon-Sugar Topping
1/3 cup sugar (2 1/3 ounces) (I used Turbinado Sugar)
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated zest from 1 lemon

2 cups fresh blueberries (about 10 ounces), picked over
1 1/8 cups sugar (8 ounces) plus 1 teaspoon
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk (may substitute with 3/4 cup plain whole-milk or low-fat yogurt thinned with 1/4 cup milk)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  1. FOR THE TOPPING: Stir together sugar and lemon zest in small bowl until combined; set aside.

  2. FOR THE MUFFINS: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray standard muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Bring 1 cup blueberries and 1 teaspoon sugar to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing berries with spoon several times and stirring frequently, until berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced to ¼ cup, about 6 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.

  3. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl. Whisk remaining 11/8 cups 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 and vanilla until combined. Using rubber spatula, fold egg mixture and remaining cup blueberries into flour mixture until just moistened. (Batter will be very lumpy with few spots of dry flour; do not overmix.)

  4. Following photos below, use ice cream scoop or large spoon to divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups (batter should completely fill cups and mound slightly). Spoon teaspoon of cooked berry mixture into center of each mound of batter. Using chopstick or skewer, gently swirl berry filling into batter using figure-eight motion. Sprinkle lemon sugar evenly over muffins.

  5. Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm, 17 to 19 minutes, rotating muffin tin from front to back halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving.

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