Last summer, my sister gave me a gallon of freshly picked frozen blueberries. I was so excited because I would have access to beautiful summer blueberries all winter long, and yet there they sit in my freezer, with barely a dent made into them. I've used handfuls here and there for smoothies, and I think I made waffles once, but other than that they have been sorely neglected.
As I was browsing Cook's Illustrated's website one day, I came across a recipe for "Best" blueberry muffins. Since most everything they put out is awesome to me, if they label something as being the best, then it makes me want to try it! They had a variation for using frozen blueberries, so I was set.
There are a few noteworthy comments on this recipe. Other than just adding the blueberries to the batter, the blueberry flavor is two-fold. First, a quick blueberry jam is made, and it is swirled into the top of the muffins. Second, the tops are sprinkled with a lemon zest-sugar mixture, which not only gives them a nice sweet crunch, but also a nice subtle burst of lemon flavor.
These muffins were just coming out of the oven as Joey came home from work, and he immediately asked if they were ready to eat. Even though I was already starting on dinner, he ate 2 right then and there. Warm from the oven, slathered with a little butter, these were just awesome. But reheated for about 15 seconds in the microwave, they are still just as delicious. They are tender and sweet, with juicy berries in every bite. And the lemon sugar positively makes them. I still have almost a full gallon of blueberries to use, so I have a feeling I'll be making these very often from now on.
Cook's Illustrated, May 2009
makes 12 muffins
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
- 2 cups frozen blueberries
- 1 cup + 2 Tbs + 1 tsp sugar
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 large eggs
- 4 Tbs (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 425 and adjust the oven rack to the upper-middle position. Generously spray a muffin tin with cooking spray, and set aside.
In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup of blueberries with 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring and mashing the blueberries often. Continue to cook until the mixture has thickened and reduced to about 1/4 cup, 5-6 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
Rinse the remaining blueberries, drain and pat dry.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Toss the dried blueberries into the flour mixture. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and remaining sugar until thick and homogeneous, about 45 seconds. Whisk in the butter and oil, buttermilk, and vanilla extract.
Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the wet ingredients into the flour-blueberry mixture, being careful not to overmix. There should be lumps remaining and the batter should be just moistened.
Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, portion the batter into the muffin tins. Drop a scant teaspoon of the blueberry jam onto the top of each muffin, and use a toothpick to swirl into the batter. Sprinkle the lemon-sugar over the top of each muffin.
Bake 17-19 minutes, rotating once, until the tops are golden and firm. Cool in the muffin tin 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack before serving.