Friday, March 01, 2013
Once upon a time, a long time ago, I used to have a muffin company. I baked wholesale muffins for a couple of coffee shops, mostly to keep my brain active when my kids were very young. Although my lemon ricotta mega-muffin was my best seller, the next favorite was fresh blueberry muffins. It's been ages since I baked any kind of muffin, but the blueberries in the produce section called to me this week, so on Saturday morning I baked up a batch of fresh blueberry muffins, with some Meyer lemon zest since they go so well with blueberries. When I ate my first bite, the muffins still had warm blueberries...a most delicious and decadent flavor. The muffins were not the airy, overly sweet cakey kind that you often find these days. The texture is delicate but firm, the flavors are of the fruit, lemon and butter, and they were gone in a flash.
One of the keys with muffins is much the same as with most quick breads...delicate care in handling the batter. If you whisk together the dry ingredients, toss in the rinsed blueberries, then toss gently to cover them with flour, all you need to do when you add the mixed wet ingredients is to barely combine the ingredients. Do have your pans prepared and your oven hot. In no time you will have delectable warm blueberries in a lightly lemon, buttery muffin. What a lovely way to start the day.
based on Basic Muffins in Marion Cunningham's The Fannie Farmer Baking Book
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1 cup firm fresh blueberries, rinsed
2 eggs, slightly beaten, at room temperature
1 cup milk, at room temperature
8 tablespoons (1 stick or 1/2 cup) butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons white sanding sugar (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease muffin pans or line with paper baking cups.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Add the lemon zest and whisk to combine. Add the fresh blueberries and toss to coat lightly with the dry ingredients. Set aside.
In another bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, melted butter and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredient/blueberry mixture. Pour in the egg mixture and stir to combine, just long enough to blend. Batter will not be smooth.
Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pans, filling each cup about two-thirds full. If desired, sprinkle sanding sugar on the tops of each muffin.
Bake muffins for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove the muffins from the pans and serve warm.
Makes 12 muffins
With the unseasonable weather we have been having the seedlings in the sunspace are growing very rapidly. All of the squash seedlings are now in larger peat pots, having outgrown the cell they started in. Some of the squash seeds wrapped in damp paper towels didn't germinate in time to be put into the cells, but are now large enough to go right into the pots! That is vigorous sprouting! I expect great things of these squash plants once they are settled into the garden once the soil warms enough. That might be a while...we have been having frost most nights, even if the days are warm and sunny. Some peopel are yammering on about not enough rain, but we had far more than needed in the fall and early winter, so this is just balancing things out. Bet that March is rainy again.