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My baby wants blueberry blueberry|Blueberry muffins

blueberry

The husband is preparing to leave for a three week out of town job, which means he gets whatever he wants (more or less). So when he said “are you going to make the blueberry muffins in the Cook’s Illustrated?” well, of course I was.

There’s not much to say about these except that they are delicious, which will just add fuel to the “Kathlyn’s trying to get a job at Cook’s Illustrated by always saying good things about their recipes” fire. Burn on. The muffins are lovely, I said it. Unfortunately, I had to use frozen blueberries that may have been in the freezer since the Carter administration, so I think the juicy berry goodness factor was a little lower than it might have been, but the cake (ooooooh cake!) was just about spot on. Light and moist, not cloyingly sweet and not dense like store bought muffins can be. The sugar topping was also just about perfect…there really isn’t anything wrong with this recipe, which makes for fairly boring reading, but Cook’s tests their recipes so rigorously that if there was anything wrong with them, there’d be something wrong. So if you want to read about trials and tribulations, click here and subscribe (yes it’s an affiliate link, but I wouldn’t tell you to buy something unless it was really worth it. If you hate affiliate links, just google “Cook’s Illustrated” and subscribe through them). Otherwise, just follow the recipe below and have a muffin!

Cheers.

Best Blueberry Muffins From Cook’s Illustrated (with some snark from me)

Makes 12 muffins.*

If buttermilk is unavailable, substitute 3/4 cup plain whole-milk or low-fat yogurt thinned with 1/4 cup milk.**

Ingredients

Lemon-Sugar Topping

1/3 cup sugar (2 1/3 ounces)
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated zest from 1 lemon

Muffins

2 cups fresh blueberries (about 10 ounces), picked over***
1 1/8 cups sugar (8 ounces) plus 1 teaspoon
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter , melted and cooled slightly
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk (see note)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. FOR THE TOPPING: Stir together sugar and lemon zest in small bowl until combined; set aside.

2. FOR THE MUFFINS: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray standard muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Bring 1 cup blueberries and 1 teaspoon sugar to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing berries with spoon several times and stirring frequently, until berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced to ΒΌ cup, about 6 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.

3. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl. Whisk remaining 11/8 cups sugar and eggs together in medium bowl until thick and homogeneous, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in butter and oil until combined. Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla until combined. Using rubber spatula, fold egg mixture and remaining cup blueberries into flour mixture until just moistened. (Batter will be very lumpy with few spots of dry flour; do not overmix.)

4. Use ice cream scoop (ok Cook’s – whatever!) or large spoon (that’s more like it) to divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups (batter should completely fill cups and mound slightly). Spoon teaspoon of cooked berry mixture into center of each mound of batter. Using chopstick or skewer, gently swirl berry filling into batter using figure-eight motion. Sprinkle lemon sugar evenly over muffins.

5. Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm, 17 to 19 minutes****, rotating muffin tin from front to back halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving.

* I made a half recipe, which came out brilliantly and yielded 8 muffins! Unless you’re making really big muffins (and there’s no shame in that) or you have a lot of people to feed muffins to, I recommend halving. Leftover baked goods aren’t all that scrumptious. If you do halve the recipe, use a scale – it’ll make the halving a lot easier. Also, try printing out the recipe and writing down the “half” measurements next to the regular measurements. Seems kind of stupid, but actually really helpful!
** I used whole milk like the recipe said, and it turned out beautifully, just like the recipe said. There are two sources you can count on for the truth – me, and Cook’s!
***You can use frozen berries (hopefully not in your freezer since the mid-70s) – you’re supposed to rinse the cup you’re not making into jam and then dry them off. Huh? Why? Not sure, but like I said, Cook’s really tests these recipes, so if they tell me to do something, I usually do it. Even if you don’t rinse them, do thaw them completely and dry them. You don’t want extra water in your batter.
**** I baked my muffins longer than 19 minutes, but calm down, that’s not because Cook’s was lying. It’s because my oven is waaaaaaay off. How off? Not even going to measure it off. Yours may be too, that’s why you should test it. Or don’t and just obsessively check on your baked goods and use your eyes to judge when they’re done. If you’re using my oven (hey, it’s nice to see you! Want a muffin?), you’ll need about 5 extra minutes and about 50 “extra” degrees.

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