A couple of weeks ago, I picked up a container of blueberries from the grocery, fully intending to give a go at a weekend project of blueberry pancakes. But when the weekend came and went, with no pancakes in sight, I had to turn to plan B to help use those blueberries up. It came down to a weeknight project of doing blueberry muffins, something I haven’t baked in a quite a while.
I ended up needing two tries to get this recipe ironed out. On my first attempt, the flavor of the muffins was good, but I didn’t think that the texture was quite there yet. On the second go-around, with a few additional flavoring tweaks, I knew I had a winner.
The sweet flavors from the blueberries and vanilla are balanced by the addition of lemon zest, making these muffins hard to resist.
Makes 12 muffins
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup + 2 tsp white sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup milk
2 cups blueberries
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp lemon zest
Special Kitchen Items:
KitchenAid mixer or electric hand mixer
Microplane or grater
- Using a Microplane or grater, zest your lemon to get the 1 tablespoon quantity you’d need for the muffins. (I only needed the single lemon for the zest amount, but based on the size that you buy, it’s possible you might need a second.)
- Measure out a 1/2 cup of blueberries and place them into a separate container. Using a fork, crush up the blueberries and set them aside for incorporation into the batter later.
- For your remaining blueberries, pat them dry with a paper towel and set them aside in another container.
- In a separate bowl, crack your 2 eggs and beat them well with a whisk. Set aside.
- Measure out your 2 cups of flour, and then measure out 2 tablespoons from that. We’ll use that portion later to toss the blueberries in to help prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the muffins while baking.
- With your remaining 1-7/8 cups of flour, add in your baking powder and mix that together until it’s evenly distributed.
- (Before diving into this section, quick shout-out to this page from Pastry Chef Online that helped teach me the appropriate technique to get the texture I wanted from the muffins.)
- In your mixing bowl, combine your sugar, butter, lemon zest, and cinnamon. Cream everything together until it has obtained more of a fluffy texture. (I’ll outline the process I used in the next step.)
- On my KitchenAid mixer, I went on medium-low speed for about 90 seconds to get everything initially combined. I scraped down the sides of the bowl and then took the speed up to medium for another 3 minutes before scraping down the sides one last time. After another 30 seconds on medium, I felt like the mixture was sufficiently creamed together.
- At this point, while your mixer is still on medium speed, take your beaten eggs and add them into the mixture 1 tablespoon at a time. Before adding the next tablespoon, visually make sure that the egg you just added was able to get incorporated into the batter.
- Once the eggs are incorporated into the mixture, add in your vanilla extract and let that combine for about 3 seconds.
- Turn off your mixer and bring over your dry ingredients, milk, and crushed blueberries. Take about half your dry mixture and add it into the bowl. Start the mixer on low speed and let that incorporate for about 5 seconds.
- Then, take your milk and add half of it in a steady stream into the mixing bowl while the mixer is still running. Do the same for the crushed blueberries and then let that mix for another 2 seconds or so.
- Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in half the remaining dry ingredients to the bowl before starting up the mixer on low speed again. Incorporate that for 5 seconds, add in the rest of the milk and crushed blueberries, and mix for another 2 seconds.
- With the mixer off again, scrape down the sides of the bowl before adding in the remaining dry ingredients. Fold everything in before using the mixer on high speed for about 3 seconds.
- At this point, the only thing left to do is incorporate the remaining blueberries into the batter. Take your portioned 2 tablespoons of flour and toss it into the 1-1/2 cups of blueberries. Using a covered container or Ziploc bag, shake everything up until the blueberries are evenly coated. Add that into the muffin batter and fold them in.
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Using a 12-cup muffin tray, place your cupcake liners into each opening before adding in your muffin batter. The batter should be right around level with the top of the liner, so while the muffins bake, they should rise to make a nice top.
- Use the 2 teaspoons of sugar and sprinkle that over all the muffins before putting the tray into the oven. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes.
- I’d recommend doing a check at 30 minutes to see if they’re ready. To tell, insert a toothpick into the muffin and pull it back out. If there is no batter stuck to the toothpick, you’re good to go.
- Let the muffins rest in the tray for about a minute before moving all of them over to a cooling rack. Finish cooling them off for at least 30 minutes before enjoying.
I was definitely out of practice with making muffins, but the second try turned out the way I wanted them. The inside texture of the muffin was fluffier, with the revised mixing process helping to get the muffins to expand more and not feel as dense. The lemon zest is really key, providing that bright flavor to contrast the sweetness from all the other ingredients. The leftover muffins made for a great breakfast or snack, and I found myself eating these pretty much two at a time because they were just so good.
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