Saturday, February 18, 2012

Blueberry Muffins

I love blueberries. I remember making "jam" when I was camping with my family, my cousins and I would spend several hours picking berries from the nearby bushes and then mashing them up with a rock. We added sugar packet upon sugar packet in the violet staining, muddled, clumpy mess. Then it would be spooned into a jar and given to our grandmother... who knows if she actually ate it. Honestly, I hope she didn't, I can't remember if we washed the rocks or rinsed them off in the lake before pulverizing the lovely ripe berries.

My grandmother also made the best blueberry pie for my birthday too... So, blueberries have a special place in my heart. I've been looking at different recipes, always searching for that perfectly textured muffin. This is a combination of 2 different recipes.  One is based of Cooks Illustrated (found here) and the other is from The Cookie Scoop blog (found here). 

I really loved the idea of a blueberry compote, (practically blueberry pie filling!), mixed into the muffins, so I wanted to incorporate that step. The recipe called for 1 cup of blueberries with 1 tsp of sugar, heat over medium heat and then mash down as they heat up, let it cook until its reduced by about a 1/4 cup. I just dumped a bunch of berries into the pot, I figured I could use the compote on toast or an English muffin if I had that much left over. I also had a few raspberries that I threw in mix. :) Love berries. I let it cook down until it smelled so yummy and was thick and jam-y. While the berry mixture was cooling I started on my muffin batter. 

I mixed the dry ingredients together and then mixed the wet ingredients in another bowl. Now, muffin batter is very delicate, do not over mix. Mix until JUST combined and not a moment longer. Combine the wet ingredients in with the dry ingredients, and add the berries in. 

Spoon the mixture into prepared muffin tins, fill about half way. Then add a spoonful of the compote into the middle, and cover with more muffin batter (until 2/3 filled). These muffins don't rise too much. Bake about 15 minutes or until the tester toothpick comes out clean.  
These are denser muffins, almost a biscuit type texture. Imagine the muffin heated in a pan with some butter?? Yum! And the compote was essentially blueberry pie filling - I would (and maybe did) eat this with a spoon!

Both recipes had glaze or sugar crunch toppings which I didn't do because I lacked the ingredients. 

These muffins freeze well too.

Blueberry Muffins
Makes 9-12 
Spoon batter & compote into prepared tins
1 1/2 cup frozen or fresh blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg slightly beaten
1/3 cup apple sauce
1/3 cup milk (I used light cream because that was in the fridge)
A few tbs of Lemon juice 

Heat 1 cup of berries with 1 tsp sugar on the stove. Mash the berries as they heat up until they are broken down and the mixture is thick and gooey and reduced down to about 1/4 cup. Transfer into a bowl and allow it to cool. (My berries were frozen so it took about 10-15 minutes for this step)

Mix sugar, flour, baking powder, salt in a bowl
Combine egg, apple sauce, milk, and lemon juice
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients
Stir in the rest of the berries

Spoon batter into the prepared muffin tins about 1/3 filled, put in a healthy spoonful of the compote, and top with some more batter.

Pop into the 400 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. 
Let cool on a rack!


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