18 January, 2017
Lemon Blueberry Muffins
As promised, I have prepared, for your viewing and baking pleasure, a mid-winter pick-me-up of one of my favorite summertime flavor combinations: Lemon and blueberry.
Now, as I told my mom while making these, I could eat lemon blueberry anything for days. It’s the perfect balance of tart and sweet, just like cranberry orange bread (which I could also eat for days). Usually, I see these sweet and tart delicacies prepared as breads in the conventional loaf form. I don’t know about you, but I like to have my cake and take it with me, too, so I decided to do a spin on the usual and make the bread into a muffin. It’s the same cakey bread batter we all know and love, but in a conveniently portable form.
Most of the time, when I enjoy a lemon bread of some sort, it’s topped with a glaze. I didn’t use a glaze for this, but if you’d like to, it’s a simple lemon juice, confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, and water mixture. Another option is to sprinkle coarse-ground sugar on top of the uncooked muffins before putting them in the oven. That makes a nice crackle on top (something I personally favor on top of my blueberry muffins). Otherwise, these muffins have a nice, crisp top of their own that is just right.
Onto the recipe!
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp lemon juice (fresh is best)
1/2 cup milk
1 cup blueberries (use fresh if you can)
1 tbsp flour
Let me just start out by saying that I finally have a little handheld zester tool, so I didn’t risk a replay of what happened the last time I made a lemon treat. This one ended up being 100% finger-free. Those cookies were, ah, grate, but I’m not sure I would sacrifice my thumb to the cause again if given the choice. Anyway, The only collateral of using my new zester was that I had a hard time getting the zest into the little bowl I was grating into, so I ended up with a lemony countertop. Again, not too bad considering the alternative.
Alright, to get cooking, here’s how it goes:
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Something I learned from my reading about baking muffins is that cooking them at a higher temperature gives you better peaks (as opposed to flat-topped muffins, which are comparatively sad-looking and usually what I would pull out of the oven. Today I learned).
So, preheat to 400 and grease a 12-cup muffin pan.
Next up, in a medium bowl, gently whisk together the 1 1/2 cups of flour, the baking powder, and salt. In a larger bowl, combine the melted butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, lemon zest, and lemon juice (we haven’t gotten to the milk yet, so don’t mix that in).
Once the liquids (other than the milk) are just combined, start folding in the flour and the milk. Add in half of the flour, mix it, then add in half of the milk, mix it, then the rest of the flour, mix it, then the rest of the milk, and mix that until it’s just incorporated.
In a separate bowl (I just reused the flour+ bowl), toss in the blueberries and their 1 tbsp of flour. Shake the berries around until they’re coated in flour, which will keep them from sinking in your batter as it cooks. After they’ve been coated, gently fold the berries into the lemon batter and scoop out portions into the muffin cups so that the wells are half full with batter. I ended up filling 14 wells (I wanted a couple extra for testing the cook time, so, sorry for the weird number).
Bake in the 400 degree oven for 17-19 minutes or until the sides touching the pan are golden brown. Let them cool and either enjoy them as is or add a glaze to the top.