Blueberry Streusel Muffins

Blueberry streusel muffins

Ever since I saw these delicious looking blueberry muffins, I have been wanting to make them. But, blueberries have been expensive, so I haven’t.  When I went to the grocery store the other day though, they were $4 for a pint. Not too bad, so I bought them. I was excited to finally make these muffins. But, then I did what I usually do and didn’t read the whole recipe.  Damn. I realized I didn’t have any Sugar in the Raw and I wanted to follow the recipe as written. So, alas, I had to wait another day to go to the store AGAIN. But, actually it is okay because I found a recipe for chocolate chip cookie sandwiches filled with marshmallow fluff frosting that I want to make…so I grabbed some Fluff too. I haven’t made the cookies yet, but I cannot imagine them to be anything short of amazing. Of course, I will share. Anyways, back to the muffins. They were easy to put together and baked up beautifully with perfect rounded tops.  The cake part is fluffy and not too sweet, the blueberries are juicy, and the raw sugar gives the buttery streusel a wonderful crunch.  Oh, the muffins were just as I hoped they would be.

My picky family won’t eat these muffins as they don’t like cooked fruit. But, they sure tear the heck out of any kind of raw fruit, so I can’t complain.  As much as I love blueberry muffins, I can’t shouldn’t eat all 12 muffins myself. So, I will be bringing them to work tomorrow. Too bad there are only 12 though. Actually, make that 11 because I ate one for quality control. I mean, how else could I tell you about them? But, 11 muffins and about 30 coworkers?  Those are bad odds.  I know it will be Monday morning, but they better move fast 🙂

Blueberry Streusel Muffins
Yield: 12 standard size muffins

Crumb Topping

1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar     I used vanilla bean sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp chilled butter, diced into small cubes
1 1/2 Tbsp Sugar in the Raw

In the bowl of your food processor: Add 1/3 cup flour, 1 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar and the cold butter cubes.

Pulse for a few seconds, just until the butter is evenly distributed throughout and the crumbs just come together in tiny crumbles. Note: The crumb mixture should still be fluffy. If you pulse too much, the crumbs become heavy and sink.

Pour the crumb mixture into a small bowl. Mix in 1 1/2 Tbsp raw sugar lightly with your fingers. Set crumb mixture aside.

Muffins

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
7 Tbsp vegetable oil     (you can measure 1/2 cup, then remove 1 Tbsp)
1/4 cup buttermilk   shake well
1/4 cup sour cream
2 large egg eggs
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries    Washed, dried, and all stems removed

Preheat oven to 400F.

In a medium mixing bowl, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With a wire whisk, mix for ~30 seconds or so. Set the dry ingredients aside.

In a large mixing bowl, add 1 cup granulated sugar, vegetable oil, buttermilk, sour cream and eggs. With a wire whisk, mix until well blended, ~30 seconds. Fold the flour mixture into the wet ingredients with a rubber spatula until just combined. Note: the batter should still be a bit lumpy. If you over mix, you will not have fluffy, tender muffins. Who wants that?

Gently fold in the blueberries with a rubber spatula.

With a large ice cream scoop, divide muffin batter evenly into 12 paper lined muffin cups. Take the the crumb topping, fluff it a bit with your fingers and sprinkle the entire top of each muffin (about 1 tbsp per muffin).

Bake muffins about 18 – 22 minutes, rotating the muffin tin halfway through the baking time, until they are lightly golden and pass the toothpick test.

Cool the muffins several minutes in the pan before removing to wire rack to cool.

Source: Cooking Classy

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Brown butter blueberry streusel muffins

Brown butter blueberry streusel muffins

I was looking for a recipe to use up some leftover blueberries and well, this recipe had me at brown butter. Okay, at streusel too.  You know how I am a sucker for streusel!  Please don’t be intimidated by the brown butter. It sounds fancy, but really you just melt butter in a saucepan until it turns golden brown.  As long as you don’t burn it, that’s all there is to it.  The first time I made brown butter, I was nervous.  I almost dumped it because there was a bunch of brown specks.  I thought for sure I messed up.  It sure wouldn’t be the first time. But after a quick check online, I realized that’s just right.

I only used half the amount of the blueberries called for in the recipe because that was all baby Alex would spare.  But, I liked it this way because the berries didn’t overwhelm the taste of the muffin. And, oh my goodness, the muffin itself is delicious.  I am the only one in the family who likes blueberry muffins.  I have told you before that my family is a little crazy, right?  I didn’t want to eat all the muffins, so I brought them to work and had some very happy coworkers.  As I was eating my muffin, I was thinking how good it was, even without the blueberries.  It would make a lovely crumb cake muffin that my coffeecake-loving husband would go crazy for.  I think I’ll try that next time, maybe even with a ribbon of cinnamon sugar or sweet cream cheese?  This is the perfect base for experimenting with different flavors. But, I have to say, blueberry is a darn good place to start.

Brown butter blueberry streusel muffins

Yield: 12 muffins

For the muffin:

7 Tablespoons unsalted butter cut into a few pieces

1/3 cup buttermilk    I used regular milk

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups fresh blueberries   I used about 1 cup

Place rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat to 375 F. Line a standard muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.  Set aside.

Place a small skillet (not nonstick or you won’t see the color change) over medium heat.  Add the 7 tablespoons of butter.  Move the butter around with a spoon until it is melted, turns a medium brown color and smells nutty. Remove from the heat right away, before it turns black.  Transfer to a bowl to cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, yolk, and vanilla until well combined. Stir in the cooled brown butter.

In a separate medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Pour in all the milk mixture and stir gently with a spatula. Do not over mix. Carefully fold in the blueberries then divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin pan.  I used a medium cookie scoop.   Make the streusel topping.

For the streusel topping:
3 Tablespoons very cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar

Combine the 3 ingredients in a small bowl.  Rub together with your fingers until the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the muffin batter in the cups.

Bake the muffins for 20 – 22 minutes, or until a little golden.  Test with a toothpick.  Cool in the muffin tin for 15 minutes before removing. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Source:  Joy the Baker Cookbook via Pennies on a Platter

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

Last fall, when we went apple picking my daughter asked if we could go strawberry picking next.  I wasn’t so sure it would be easy to find a place when we live in the Chicago suburbs.  But, after looking a bit online, I found a place called Stade Farm in McHenry, about 45 minutes from where we live.  Thank goodness they have a newsletter to subscribe to because there is no way I was going to remember this come June and I’d totally miss it.  I was so excited when I got an email that the berries were ready to be picked on Saturday.  But, my son had a baseball game, so we’d have to wait until Sunday.  Then I get an email on Saturday night that all the berries had been picked and wouldn’t be ready again for at least 5 days.  Ugh!  We were so disappointed.  But, it worked out for the best because I talked some of the moms from Sammie’s preschool into coming with us the following week.  So, that was much more fun with all the kids so excited to be there and trying to pick the most strawberries or the biggest ones.   We had perfect weather and everyone had a blast.  On the way out, in true Kim fashion, I realized that my car key fell out of my pocket somewhere in the field.  Well, this is a major problem, as you can imagine,  for many reasons.   The fields were large, they could have been buried in the plants, if I couldn’t find them my house is 45 minutes away and I’m not even sure where the spare is.  Thank goodness when I asked at the register if someone had turned in my keys, an employee was just bringing them in.  Phew!!  Major, major disaster averted.  I am never this lucky.

Jack will always smile for me, Sammie usually not.

The strawberries were pretty small, but super sweet.  We ended up with about 7 pounds.  Since strawberries don’t last very long, I was trying to figure out what to do with them.  Then I remembered seeing this strawberry frozen yogurt recipe on Eva Bakes and thought my kids would love it.   It is just 5 ingredients.  How great is that, especially compared to some of the ice cream you buy at the store.  Here’s the rare occasion where I can actually say that I made something healthy.  Mark your calendars, you probably won’t see this again for awhile. 😀   The color of this ice cream is amazing and it tastes so intensely of fresh strawberries, it’s unbelievable.  I don’t make ice cream very often because I have found that any time I make it with heavy cream, though it tastes good, my husband and I notice a weird film in our mouths.  I can’t figure out why that is so if anyone has any ideas, I would love to know because I love ice cream.  But, this recipe uses yogurt instead, so I didn’t have that problem.  In late August, raspberries will be available for picking at the farm.  We are already so excited to go and I think I have an idea of what to do with them.  Raspberry frozen yogurt anyone???

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

Yield:  About 1 quart

1 pound (450g) strawberries, rinsed and hulled
2/3 cup (130g) sugar
optional: 2 teaspoons vodka or kirsh   I omitted and added a splash a vanilla instead
1 cup (240g) plain whole milk yogurt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Slice the strawberries into small pieces. Toss in a bowl with the sugar and vodka or kirsch (if using) until the sugar begins to dissolve. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours.   Stir every so often.

Transfer the strawberries and their juice to a blender or food processor. Add the yogurt and lemon juice. Pulse until the mixture is smooth. If you wish, press mixture through a mesh strainer to remove any seeds.  I strained it.

Chill for 1 hour, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Source:  David Lebovitz via Eva Bakes

How cute are these strawberries?

How cute are these strawberries?

Blueberry Swirl Streusel Muffins

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 :D) 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 

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