A week ago today I went to the Ferry Plaza farmer’s market with my friend Katie. We bought all kinds of fantastic spring produce. I was seduced by a huge tub of first-of-the-season blueberries. They were good, not great yet but, still good. I realized today I still had a couple cups left so, instead of letting them go bad in the back of the fridge I figured I’d make muffins.
I love good, moist fruit muffins. They’re actually not as easy to get perfect as you might think. I’ve learned over the years that the addition of buttermilk or yogurt makes a huge difference. It keeps the muffins nice and tender and the acidity keeps the fruit from sinking to the bottom of the muffins.
In my recent issue of Cook’s Illustrated they had a recipe for blueberry muffins with a twist. In addition to the buttermilk batter, they had you cook a cup of the berries with a tsp of sugar until they transformed into a thick jam. After scooping each muffin into the paper, you spoon the jam on top and swirl it into the batter with a toothpick. Let me tell you-if you saw this muffin at your morning coffee shop, you would not be able to resist it. It’s gorgeous to look at and delicious to eat.
Next time you over shop at the farmer’s market, try these fantastic muffins.
Blueberry Muffins (from Cook’s Illustrated)
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 1/8 cups sugar plus 1 teaspoon
2½ cups flour
2½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup butter, melted and cooled
¼ cup vegetable oil 1 cup buttermilk
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
Adjust oven rack to the upper middle position. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with muffin papers.
In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup of the blueberries with 1 teaspoon sugar. Heat over medium heat, stirring and mashing the berries occasionally, until the mixture thickens and reduces to ¼ cup. Set aside to cool.
In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 1/8 cups sugar and eggs until thick. Add the butter, oil, buttermilk, and vanilla and whisk until well combined. Using a rubber spatula fold the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture, along with the remaining cup of blueberries. The mixture will be lumpy with some small chunks of dry flour, this is fine.
Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, distribute the batter between the muffin cups (it should come up to the top and mound just slightly). Spoon 1 teaspoon of the cooled blueberry mixture on top of each muffin and use a skewer or toothpick to swirl it into the batter, mixing it throughout as best you can. Bake the muffins until they are golden and just firm, 16-18 minutes. Cool on a rack.