I have dreams of cozying up on the front porch with a fresh latte where the only thing that can drag my thoughts away from my novel is the aroma of sweet blueberry muffins and buttery croissants lingering on the morning air, drawing me back to reality and down the street to the local bakery.
The type of bakery where they invite you in with an open front door and entice you to stay with the deliberately placed towers of pastry stacked in perfect symmetry with chocolate and fruit of the most decadent sort. All resting on the beautifully worn counter reminding you of the hours of love and dedication spent pushing flour into intricate french pastries, hometown pie crusts and, of course, the all American blueberry muffin.
But alas. Beautiful, historic downtown Plainfield is missing out on the pleasures of a bread baker. The cityscape is graced with Milettes Cakes who won the Food Network's Cake Challenge in the 6th season for their talents; but sadly, no crusty breads, biscotti or scones anywhere to be found.
(Hint... hint... to any bakers out there looking to set up shop!)
I simply can't bring myself to purchase mass produced baked goods with who knows how many preservatives. So here I am, channeling my inner Betty Crocker and putting my oven to work until the day I can take my early morning stroll into our neighbor's shop to pick up handmade, fresh baked goodness.
This week I invite you to warm up your home, hearts and oven to homemade blueberry muffins.
Would it really be possible to have a blueberry muffin recipe that is 100% unique after generations of families tweaking and passing down their versions? Huh. Maybe. I'm not even going to try to re-invent the wheel when America's Test Kitchen has perfected the recipe.
These are by far the best blueberry muffins I have ever tasted. It is very rare that I don't change a recipe ever-so-slightly to fit my family's preferences. However, this is one of those rare moments. This recipe alone makes a subscription to America's Test Kitchen a great choice.
(No, I don't get anything for promoting them. In case you were curious. I just really appreciate their work.)
We hope to see you soon to serve you these muffins at the Inn!
But... if you are feeling bacon and eggs instead... I won't be offended (who can pass up bacon!); stop by Southern Belle. They never disappoint.
I wish you safe and pleasant travels!
Your Inn Concierge,
For Lemon-Sugar topping
- ⅓ Cup (2⅓ ounces) sugar
- 1 lemon
- 2 Cups (about 10 ounces) fresh blueberries
- 1⅛ Cups (8 ounces) plus 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2½ Cups (12½ ounces) allpurpose flour
- 2½ Teaspoons baking powder
- 1 Teaspoon salt
- 2 Large eggs
- 4 Tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
- ¼ Cup vegetable oil
- 1 Cup buttermilk
- 1½ Teaspoons vanilla extract
(Do not substitute frozen blueberries for fresh in this recipe.)
- Pick over 2 cups (10 ounces) fresh blueberries.
- Melt 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter. Set aside to cool.
- Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray standard muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
- FOR TOPPING: Using rasp grater, finely grate 1½ teaspoons zest from 1 lemon. Transfer to small bowl. Stir in ⅓ cup (2⅓ ounces) sugar until combined. Set aside.
- FOR MUFFINS: Bring 1 cup blueberries and 1 teaspoon sugar to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing berries with wooden spoon several times and stirring frequently, until berries have broken down and mixture is reduced to ¼ cup, about 6 minutes.
- Transfer to small bowl and cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk 2½ cups (12½ ounces) all purpose flour, 2½ teaspoons baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt together in large bowl.
- Whisk remaining 1⅛ cups (8 ounces) sugar and 2 large eggs together in medium bowl until thick and homogeneous, about 45 seconds.
- Slowly whisk in melted butter and ¼ cup vegetable oil until combined. Whisk in 1 cup buttermilk and 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract until combined.
- Using rubber spatula, fold egg mixture and remaining 1 cup blueberries into flour mixture until just moistened. (Batter will be lumpy with streaks of flour; don’t over mix.)
- Using ice cream scoop or large spoon, 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.
- 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.