Thursday, August 22, 2013

Blueberry Muffins

Before we get to these muffins, I have to share a funny little anecdote from this weekend...

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Matthew woke up yesterday morning and announced to the world: "I is a superhero!"

Paul and I largely ignored him and went about fixing him breakfast, which he gobbled down voraciously. Afterwards, he climbed down from his chair, washed his hands in the bathroom, and then came zipping out to the kitchen while crying: "I flying! I a flying superhero!" Paul and I noticed that he had rotated his bib to the back of his neck, making a tiny little cape to enhance his superhero facade. He continued to fly about the room making whooshing noises and declaring: "I a superhero with the power of INVESTIGATION!!!"

Where he gets this stuff, I will never know.

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Okay, back to these muffins...

The blueberry harvest this year has been out of control. The local farms are practically begging for people to come out and pick all the fruit. We went this weekend and the branches were practically buckling under the weight of the berries. There were so many on each branch that you could pick an entire gallon while just standing in one spot! They were out of control!! We came home with so many berries that baking something delicious with the fresh ones was a necessity.

And what better way to use blueberries than in a simple muffin recipe?

Blueberry muffins are one of my favorite breakfast treats. I like them simple, unadorned (with the exception of perhaps a little bit of lemon zest) and not to sweet. the perfect vehicle for a light smearing of jam or butter. This recipe meets all those requirements and takes less than 10 minutes to whip up. After 20 minutes of bake time, a dozen beautiful, piping-hot muffins can be on the breakfast table ready to be devoured. A perfect recipe.

If you would like a sweeter muffin, I would up the sugar by 1/4 cup. Next time, I will add some lemon zest to the sugar and rub it together so the oils perfume the sugar and lend that additional flavor to the batter. I would not substitute low fat sour cream - the results are just not as good.

Simple Blueberry Muffins
adapted slightly from The New Best Recipe

2 cups all-purpose flour (about 10 ounces)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) sour cream
1 1/2 cups blueberries (I carefully selected the smallest berries)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees with a rack set in the middle position. Fill a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. In a second bowl, whisk the egg until light colored, about 20 seconds. Add the sugar and whisk vigorously until well combined and creamy looking. Add the melted butter in 2 additions, whisking well to combine. Add the sour cream in 2-3 additions, whisking just until combined.

Add the blueberries to the dry ingredients and toss gently to coat. Add the sour cream mixture and gently fold together with a spatula just until everything is moistened. Use a light hand - the batter will be very thick and it is very important not to over-mix or the muffins will come out on the tough side!

Carefully spoon the batter evenly into the prepared muffin liners. Bake until the muffins are lightly golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (about 25-30 minutes). My muffins were still rather pale when finished so do not look to the browning as your cue that the muffins are finished baking. Immediately invert the muffins onto a wire rack, stand them in an upright position, and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

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