Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lemon Sugar Crusted Blueberry Muffins

I wasn't to wild and crazy about the first blueberry muffin recipe I posted on here so I am hoping this one is up to par. I am sure it will taste fine with frozen berries but to me fresh tastes so much better and doesn't overwhelm the batter with excess juice and water. Plus I can't wait to try baking them with my vanilla bean infused sugar (which is making everything I bake with extra vanilla-y and yummy!) I love the paring of zesty lemon and the mild blueberries in this recipe. But I'll probably half it since my hub isn't a muffin lover.

Lemon Sugar Crusted Blueberry Muffins
adapted from Cook's Illustrated

2 cups fresh blueberries
1 1/8 cups (8 ounces) plus 1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/4 cup oil (vegetable or canola)
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Lemon-Sugar Topping:
1/3 cup sugar
zest from one lemon

For the topping, stir together sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl and set aside.

For the muffins, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a standard muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Rinse one cup berries under cold water and spread on a double layer of paper towels to dry well. Bring remaining one cup berries and 2 teaspoon sugar to simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing berries with a spoon several times and stirring frequently, until the berries have broken down and the mixture is thickened and reduced to about 1/3 cup, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and cool to room temperature, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Toss the berries that have dried on the paper towels in with the flour mixture. Whisk remaining 1 1/8 cups sugar and eggs together in a medium bowl until thick, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in the butter and oil until combined. Whisk in the buttermilk and vanilla until combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold egg mixture into flour mixture until just moistened. The batter will be lumpy with a few dry spots of flour - don't overmix. This is the key to moist and tender muffins.

Using ice cream scoop or large spoon, divide the batter equally among prepared muffin cups (batter should completely fill the cups). Spoon a teaspoon of cooked berry mixture into the center of each mound of batter. Using a skewer (or toothpick or dry spaghetti strand), gently swirl the berry filling into the batter using a figure eight motion. Sprinkle lemon sugar evenly over the muffins.

Bake until the top of the muffins are golden and just firm, 17-18 minutes. Cool muffins in the muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving.

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