When I was at the grocery store Monday night, I bought a bunch of blueberries because they were buy one pint get one free. The kids love them and ate a bunch, but I wanted to bake something with them too. The problem is, my kids won’t eat anything with cooked blueberries in it. But, I saw these blueberry swirl muffins in Cook’s Illustrated and I really wanted to make them. The recipe makes 12 muffins, too many for just me to eat (though I would give it a valiant effort ) and too few for Justin to bring to school. Shoot. But, then I remembered that on Wednesday, my parents were coming over to have a picnic in the park with the kids and me. Perfect. I could unload some of my muffins on them. A peace offering of sorts.
These blueberry muffins bake up to look the way I always hoped they would. Just perfect. Honestly, they look and taste straight from the bakery. But, they do require a few steps. First you make a quick blueberry jam. That may sound hard, but I promise, it isn’t at all. You just simmer and reduce down some blueberries and sugar until it is thick. Then you make an easy muffin batter, mixed by hand, that serves as a base for the fresh blueberries and jam. Next, you make a 5 ingredient streusel, mixed together in a bowl with a fork. Finally, you scoop the batter in the cupcake wells, swirl some jam on top with a skewer, top generously with streusel, and bake. In the end, you get this delicious muffin that you are going to look at, eat and then say, “Wow, I can’t believe I made this”. I love when that happens.
Blueberry Swirl Muffins with Cinnamon Brown Sugar Streusel
Yield: 12 muffins
2 cups (10 ounces) fresh blueberries
1 1/8 cups (7 3/4 ounces) plus 1 teaspoon sugar divided
2 1/2 cups (12½ ounces) all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
¼ cup vegetable oil I used canola oil
1 cup buttermilk
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
For the muffins:
Adjust the oven rack to upper-middle position and preheat to 425F. Spray a 12 cup 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 your spoon several times and stirring frequently, until berries have broken down and the mixture is thickened and reduced to 1/4 cup, about 6 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and set aside to cool to room temperature, about 10 minutes.
Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl. Whisk remaining 1 1/8 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 1 cup blueberries into flour mixture until just moistened. Batter will be very lumpy with a few spots of dry flour. Do not overmix or your muffins will be dense.
Use ice cream scoop or large spoon, divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups (batter should completely fill cups and mound slightly). Spoon a teaspoon of cooked berry mixture into center of each mound of batter. Using a chopstick or skewer, even a toothpick, gently swirl the berry filling into the batter using a figure eight motion. Make streusel topping, recipe below, and pile evenly onto muffins. Or, prepare the alternative topping, lemon sugar, recipe below, and sprinkle onto muffins.
Bake until muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached, 17 to 19 minutes, rotating muffin tin halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving.
For the streusel topping:
Combine 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar, pinch of salt, and ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour in small bowl. Drizzle with 5 tablespoons warm, melted unsalted butter and toss with fork until evenly moistened and mixture forms large chunks with some pea sized pieces throughout. Sprinkle streusel topping over muffins before baking.
Alternative topping, Lemon sugar:
1/3 cup (2 1/3 oz) sugar
1 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest
Stir together the sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl until well combined. Set aside. The sugar is sprinkled on top of the muffins just before baking (on top of the swirled jam).
Source: Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook