Friday, June 11, 2010

Lemon Sugar Crusted Blueberry Muffins

Last night was pizza night at our house, so to make up for it (not that you ever have to make up for a night off) I made these this morning and they are fantastic. I found this recipe at My Kitchen Cafe, where I find many great things, and knew I had to try them. I'm not gonna lie, there are some extra steps making these a little time consuming. But in an effort to eat less processed foods and making more and more from scratch, I'm finding I'm getting used to the extra time involved. These are as good (if not better) than any gourmet muffin from the bakery and you'll save some bucks. The only variation was I used half whole wheat flour, which is something I do often. Next time (and there will be a next time) I plan on using raspberries. Another thing I think would be great is to use orange zest in place of the lemon.

What You Need:

Lemon-Sugar Topping:
1/3 cup sugar
zest from one lemon

2 cups frozen blueberries (or 2 cups fresh)
1 1/8 cups (8 ounces) plus 1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/4 cup oil (vegetable or canola)
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the topping, stir together sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl and set aside. (I know many of my recipes including zesting. If you don't have a plane grater, invest in one. They are good for grating cheese, ginger, nutmeg, etc). *Tip: Whenever a recipe calls for orange or lemon juice, I throw the cut squeezed halves into a freezer bag and save them. The next time you need zest, pull them out and run them under water to use for the zest.*

For the muffins, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a standard muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray (or use muffin cups). Rinse one cup frozen berries under cold water and spread on a double layer of paper towels to dry well. Bring remaining one cup berries and 1 teaspoon sugar to simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing berries with a spoon several times and stirring frequently, until the berries have broken down and the mixture is thickened and reduced to about 1/3 cup, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and cool to room temperature, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Toss the berries that have dried on the paper towels in with the flour mixture. Whisk remaining 1 1/8 cups sugar and eggs together in a medium bowl until thick, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in the butter and oil until combined. Whisk in the buttermilk and vanilla until combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold egg mixture into flour mixture until just moistened. The batter will be lumpy with a few dry spots of flour – don’t overmix. This is the key to moist and tender muffins.

Using ice cream scoop or large spoon, divide the batter equally among prepared muffin cups (batter should completely fill the cups). Spoon a teaspoon of cooked berry mixture into the center of each mound of batter. Using a skewer (or a chopstick), gently swirl the berry filling into the batter using a figure eight motion. Sprinkle lemon sugar evenly over the muffins.

Bake until the top of the muffins are golden and just firm, 17-18 minutes. Cool muffins in the muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving. Yum!

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