I feel like the title of this post is misleading. It’s so tame. Blueberry muffins – everyone has them, right? Every bakery has tried blueberry muffins, they’re a staple at most baked good outlets. You can get them at your local supermarket in myriad forms and brands.
These muffins are not like those muffins.
These muffins are magical. The batter tastes like caramel, the blueberry-to-batter ratio is about 1:1, the crumble is the icing on the cake, quite literally.
I think because of the over-saturation of the blueberry muffin – the overabundance of choices in the market, you might say – I’ve been a little ambivalent to blueberry muffins in the past. Sure, I’ve tried one or two, but I’ve been disappointed and so dismissed the blueberry muffin as a concept as outdated and nostalgic, something people eat just because it’s an old favourite rather than because of any intrinsic wonderfulness about it.
Oh, how wrong I have been.
Do not shun the blueberry muffin (as I have previously done) simply because you have been burned in the past. Fakers abound in this world and we must learn to see past their trickery, their over-glossed, shiny mounds, their under-blueberried depths, their fluffy yet bland substance. Do not be fooled by quantity over quality, do not reach for simply what looks ok.
And if you, like me, have been ambivalent towards the humble blueberry muffin in the past, why, look no further for redemption. My housemate, who, on her many family day trips which inevitably involve a bakery/picnic-style luncheon, was once a connoisseur of the sausage roll; she has since moved on to find the perfect blueberry muffin, searching in every bakery and coffee shop. My housemate has declared this one a winner, with its mounds of blueberries, moist crumb and perfectly complementary topping.
It is best enjoyed in the Julie-morning, a phenomenon rather like the shift worker’s morning (except we’re not shift workers. Shh, don’t tell!) which begins about six hours after a regular person’s morning. Extra props if you enjoy them with a cup of tea or coffee. They are delicious both straight out of the oven or cold the next morning, although good luck if they last that long.
Much love, friends.
The Best Blueberry Muffins
Adapted (only slightly) from the Joy the Baker cookbook
100 g unsalted butter
1/3 cup milk
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups plain flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 cups blueberries (If you use frozen berries, as I did, you will either have to defrost them and drain the excess fluid or add about five minutes to the baking time.)
For the topping:
40 g butter, cold and cubed
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C and line a 12 cup muffin tray with paper cases.
In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Don’t stir it – all you have to do is listen. Once all the butter is melted, it will start to crackle and spit. Don’t be alarmed. When it’s gone quiet, it’s perfectly browned and it will be delicious. Turn off the heat and pour the butter – including all of the delicious brown bits stuck to the bottom of the saucepan – into a bowl to stop it from cooking more.
Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. In a small bowl or jug, whisk together the milk, egg, egg yolk and vanilla, then add in the butter.
Make a well in the centre of the dry mixture and pour in the wet mixture all at once. Fold together until just incorporated. Gently fold in the blueberries.
To make the topping: Whisk the flour, sugar and salt together in a small bowl. Rub in the butter using your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Divide the batter among the 12 muffin cups. Top each with about a tablespoon of topping. Bake for 18-20 minutes if using fresh or defrosted blueberries; bake for 20-25 minutes if using frozen berries.
Let cool for five (agonising) minutes in the muffin tin before devouring all the muffins before anyone else gets any. I mean, share with your housemates with a lovely cup of tea.