Saturday, March 06, 2010
There is so much I love about these muffins. I love that they make me think of Mama and the blueberry muffins she made us girls when we were small. I love how the big, bright blueberries make the muffins turn a whimsical violet. I love that these muffins are filled with blueberries that Daddy grew and that we picked last year at the height of spring, amidst the bugs and sunrays through the backyard pines. I love that they are warm and fluffy in the middle but have a crisp, sugary top that shatters when you take a bite. I love that they come together in a flash and that they make exactly one dozen. And I love that they crumble when you eat them, encouraging you to pick at the crumbs left on the plate as so not to miss one delightful taste.
My sister was at my house when I was baking these muffins, and she said she had been trying to eat a lot of blueberries to help her skin. Berries in general are said to help the skin make collagen, which keeps skin supple and smooth. Blueberries especially are filled with antioxidants, which help neutralize free radicals (that are caused by too much time in the sun, for example) and can lead to cell damage and premature aging. And besides all of those good things, well, they just taste good.
You can generally find blueberries all year in the grocery store, but as Elaina said they just aren't quite as tasty out of season. We are spoiled when it comes to having fruit at our fingertips all year, but I've found that I can't quite handle the taste of spring and summer fruits harvested and shipped to our stores in winter. Sometimes I wonder if I was to close my eyes and take a bite could I still identify what I was eating? Lucky for me I don't have to buy those hard, tasteless berries when I need a muffin fix. My freezer is filled with blueberries, strawberries and blackberries from last spring and summer just waiting to be piled into baked goods. Plus, frozen berries - unlike cooked, canned ones - maintain their nutrients and phytochemicals so while these muffins may make my cheeks chubby they'll also make those same cheeks young and beautiful! There is always a trade-off, isn't there? Fortunately this is one I can handle...
Blueberry Breakfast Muffins
Adapted from Aida Mollenkamp, via Chow
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
3/4 cup sugar, plus two teaspoons, divided
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1. Put oven rack in middle position, and preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Spray 12-cup muffin tin, or use paper liners.
3. In large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
4. In separate bowl, whisk 3/4 cup sugar, melted butter, milk, eggs and vanilla. Add wet ingredients and berries to flour mixture. Stir until just mixed; a few lumps should remain. Be sure not to overmix the batter.
5. Fill muffin cups completely. Sprinkle batter with remaining two teaspoons of sugar. Bake about 20 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pan, on wire rack, about five minutes. Remove and serve warm.
* My muffins weren't finished baking at 20 minutes. I let them go five minutes longer, and they were perfect.