Last week I bought two packs of blueberries that have been sitting in my fridge while I waited for inspiration. Berries are the kind of food item that is expensive enough that I worry and fret about how to use it, and I couldn’t seem to just indulge myself in a handful of superfoody goodness for breakfast until they were gone. I want to showcase the blueberries somehow and draw attention to them at their best (when they’re fresh there always seem to be some that are mealy or past it mixed up with their sharp, juicy little friends.) I toyed with various tarts (as it were) but in the end came back to muffins – easy, quick and snackable. If they last, which they might well not. These were lemony and a little gritty in texture from the cornmeal, which I rather like – it helps them feel less like a cake. Given that this was a baked good, I followed Martha’s recipe pretty closely, though as always, I have some tweaks and suggestions. In terms of timing, this took one Bugle from start to oven, which is pretty efficient for a Saturday morning, I think.
– Preheat the oven to 375 F or local equivalent
– Cream together one stick/4oz butter and 3/4 cup/6oz sugar in a large mixing bowl (pop the butter in the microwave for 10 seconds or sit it on the preheating stove – the softer, the easier.) Break two eggs into the bowl and mix in.
– Rinse and dry 2 cups blueberries (or thereabouts. I used two 6oz/170g punnets, the standard packaging in these parts. You could always add more – nobody likes an understuffed muffin.) Squish 1/2 cup, or about 1/4 of your total blueberry haul, through a fine-mesh sieve into the mixing bowl, and keep the rest back to add later.
– Add the grated zest of one lemon and mix together. The mixture will look curdled and gross at this point, but stick with it.
– In a separate bowl, weigh out and mix together one cup all-purpose flour, one cup yellow cornmeal, 2tsp baking powder, and 1/2 tsp salt. If you can’t get cornmeal, or don’t like the texture, I’m sure* another cup of flour would do the trick.
– Measure out 1/2 cup whole milk.
– Add about 1/3 of the flour mix, half the milk, 1/3 more flour mix, the rest of the milk, and the rest of the flour, combining everything between each addition.
– Add the blueberries, and mix everything together. Divide the mixture into the baking pans of your choice – this quantity made six large muffins and tons (24) of little tiny ones in my mince-pie pan, but you could easily get twelve big ones out of it instead. The tiny ones are bite-sized and cute, but a little bit ridiculous, I realize.
– Bake for about 20 minutes (if you’re making mini muffins) or closer to 30 for large muffins, but check frequently and judge by your oven’s particular foibles. They are quite accommodating – they’re basically done when they look and smell done, but you should do the toothpick/sharp knife test to make sure. Let them cool as long as you can – I think I lasted about 45 seconds. They smell like citrusy heaven.
(*OK, I’m not “sure” exactly. But it sounds about right.)