I had a forehead thumping moment recently when a friend asked me for a blueberry muffin recipe. In all the years I’ve been running zoebakes.com, I’ve never posted the most basic of breakfast treats. How did I get away with this, especially when they are one of my favorites?
For me the perfect blueberry muffin is light, fluffy and bursting with blueberries. I add a touch of ginger because it perks up the flavor of the berries, but not so much that it’s overpowering. The topping is buttery, sweet and bakes into a lacy crust.
I like to bake them in large “Texas-sized” muffin cups, so there is lots of muffin top and just as much of the berry center. They are great small, but I am always left wanting more and for some reason, I feel less guilty eating one big one, instead of two little ones.
Blueberry Muffins with Crumb Topping
Makes: 6 large or 12 regular muffins
Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 30 minutes
For the batter:
1 1/2 cups self raising flour
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (or 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest)
1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries (if using frozen berries, keep them frozen when you stir them in the batter)
For the topping:
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoons cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, chilled
To make the muffins:
Preheat oven to 400°F (the higher temperature insures a crunchy top. Be sure to bake in the center of the oven.)
Prepare a muffin pan with 6 Giant Muffin Cups or 12 normal sized papers.
In a large bowl whisk together the self raising flour and nutmeg. In a separate bowl combine the melted butter, sugar, egg, milk, vanilla and ginger. Gently stir the wet into the dry ingredients only until combined. Gently fold in the blueberries. If using frozen berries, do this in as few stirs as possible or the batter will turn purple.
Divide the batter into the prepared muffin cups.
To make the topping:
In a bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Grate the butter over the top of the dry ingredients.
Quickly mix the butter into the flour mixture, which will break up the butter slightly, but it should still stay cold. If the butter warms up too much, stick the bowl in the freezer for about 5 minutes.
Divide the topping over the muffins.
Bake for about 30 minutes (about 20 minutes if using the smaller cups), or when golden on top and a tester comes out clean.
Allow to cool on a rack for 5 minutes.
Serve warm or room temperature.
Zoë François, author of Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day and Artisan Pizza and Flatbreads in 5 Minutes a Day, studied at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. She now calls Minneapolis her home, where she has worked with some of the top talent in the culinary world — Steven Brown, Andrew Zimmern and many chefs at the D’Amico company. In addition to writing, Zoë teaches baking classes and consults at restaurants. You can find her writing and recipe creations on Devour, on her baking blog, zoebakes.com and on the site, www.breadin5.com.