I should have known. Most of the time I’ve been crediting my upbringing and genes for my joys in the kitchen, but could countless mornings of finding this beneath the pool of cereal and milk be partly to blame for what I’ve become today? Look at her, this Blueberry Muffin: smiling, baked goods in hand, off to share with others. When I was little, I loved Strawberry Shortcake and her gang of sweet-smelling chums! How could you not love characters named after baked goods?
While I don’t have a gang of chums with names like Apricot, Lemon Meringue, and Huckleberry Pie, I do have a host of very dear friends. I’ve hopped, skipped, and jumped my way around parts of the country, and while many of my short stays felt more like guest appearances than residences, many of the friendships I found are long and true. So when I went to Milwaukee this weekend for a women’s missions convention focusing on all the information I could absorb, I was pleasantly surprised to find many familiar faces–sisters (and a few brothers, too) who share in the joy of carrying out God’s work to the ends of the earth–the four corners of which he seemed to fold together for a few short days. It was extremely humbling, amazing, and uplifting! God’s love for all sinners is astounding; that I get to share it with others is awesome; that I get to work with others–my friends–and that we get to support each other in sharing God’s love is a gift beyond all measure!
After an incredible weekend of meeting up with friends old and new, I share an incredible muffin with you, the likes of which I would love to bake many times and share with my dear friends. I’m sure you will also agree.
Best Blueberry Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
If buttermilk is unavailable, substitute 3/4 cup plain whole-milk or low-fat yogurt thinned with 1/4 cup milk. (I also have used sour cream in place of the yogurt.)
I’ve also skipped this when I don’t have lemon, or I simply sprinkle something like Sugar in the Raw on top.
- 1/3 cup sugar (2 1/3 ounces)
- 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 (see note)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
FOR THE TOPPING: Stir together sugar and lemon zest in small bowl until combined; set aside.
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.
- Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl. Whisk remaining 1 1/8 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.)
- 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.
- 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.