Sunday, October 23, 2011

BEST Blueberry Muffins

Ah blueberries. They have never been my fave. I have always found this small berry to be mushy, flavorless and the skins too tough for my liking. However, one Saturday many Saturdays ago I was sitting watching my FAVORITE cooking show on KBYU - America's Test Kitchen and they were making these muffins. While I don't LOVE blueberries I do LOVE me a good muffin. Maybe I was extra hungry that day, I don't know, but I just knew I had to give these a try. I had had blueberry muffins in the past which left me feeling blah. I wanted to change my attitude about blueberry muffins and knew that if anyone could do it, it was the folks at America's Test Kitchen. As always they did not disappoint. These beauties were wonderful. Great texture and great blueberry flavor and the lemon sugar topping adds an extra unexpected wow factor. My faith in blueberry muffins has been restored and this recipe now has a permanent home in my heart!

Best Blueberry Muffins
America’s Test Kitchen

For the Lemon-Sugar Topping
1/3 cup (2 1/3 ounces) sugar [I recommend sanding sugar]
1 1/2 tsps finely grated zest from 1 lemon

For the Muffins

2 cups (approximately 10 ounces) fresh blueberries, picked over, with stems and bad blueberries thrown out
1 1/8 cups (8 ounces) plus 1 tsp sugar
2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp table salt
2 large eggs
4 Tbsps (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tsps vanilla extract

For the Topping
Stir together the sanding sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl until combined. Set aside.

1. Adjust the oven rack to upper-middle position, and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a standard muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Bring 1 cup blueberries and 1 tsp sugar to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, mashing berries with a spoon (I find a fork works very well, maybe even better) several times, and stirring frequently, until the berries have broken down and the mixture has thickened and reduced to 1/4 cup (you will just have to eyeball this measurement), approximately 6 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl, and let cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.

3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

4. Whisk remaining 1 1/8 cups of sugar and the eggs together in a medium bowl, until thick and incorporated, about 45 seconds.

5. Slowly whisk in the butter and oil until combined. Whisk in the buttermilk and vanilla until combined.

6. Using a rubber spatula, fold the egg mixture and the remaining cup of blueberries into the flour mixture until just moistened. The batter will be very lumpy with few spots of dry flour. Do not over mix the batter, or your muffins will be tough.

7. Use an ice cream scoop or large spoon to divide the batter equally among the muffin cups. The batter should completely fill the cups and mound slightly. You should have enough batter for exactly 12 muffins.

8. Spoon a teaspoon of the cooked blueberry mixture into the center of each mound of muffin batter. Using a chopstick or a skewer, gently swirl the blueberry filling into the batter, using a figure-eight motion.

9. Sprinkle the lemon sugar evenly over the muffins.

10. Bake until Muffin tops are golden and just firm, 17 to 19 minutes, rotating the muffin tin from front to back, halfway through baking tin.

12. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and let cool 5 minutes before serving.

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