Friday, August 12, 2011

Distinctly American

Chemically leavened with an open crumb texture, the muffin is perhaps one of the most American of foods.  Yes, the British have the yeast-based crumpet (what we can an English muffin), but the chemically leavened muffin is distinctly American. 

In the 1980s muffins underwent a metamorphosis--they went from being standard and rather ordinary fare to being anything but. They can be sweet or savory; chemically or yeast leavened; tiny, regular or jumbo; have a snazzy topping or not--but no matter which—they are delicious.  In our household we tend to prefer the simpler, more traditional muffins.  Our general rule, if it’s too sweet to tolerate a pat of butter, it’s not a muffin. 

It’s blueberry season in Vermont, and as I was casting about for something blueberry when this recipe came to mind.  Easy and quick these muffins are moist, not too sweet, and chock full of blueberries.  Although you can put a pat of butter on them, they do very well without.  And, yes, the photographs show ingredients for a double batch -- my solution to the rapid consumption problem!

Notes for this recipe:  Do not over mix when adding the flour and milk or when folding in the blueberries.  Over mixing will result in a less tender muffin.  
Blueberry Muffins

2-1/2 c. blueberries, divided
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg (1 tsp. jarred)
½ c. milk
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
½ c. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 375.  Grease 12 regular muffins cups or line with papers.  Set aside.

In a small bowl mash the ½ cup blueberries with a potato masher being sure to pop all of them.  Set aside.  In a bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.  Stir to combine.  Set aside.  Measure milk into a measuring cup, add vanilla extract, and set aside. 
In a medium-large bowl beat the butter on high speed until pale and light.  Add the brown sugar and beat until the mixture is very fluffy.  Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture at a time alternately with ½ of the milk/vanilla mixture, beginning and ending with the flour.  Mix only until combined. Fold in the mashed blueberries, just until combined.  Fold in the remaining blueberries. 

 Using a ¼ c. scoop fill the muffin cups with batter.  Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown and a tester inserted into the middle comes clean.  

Remove muffin tin to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.  Use a knife to loosen muffins from the tins and carefully remove to wire racks to cool completely.  


  1. Mmm. It's nice to see a muffin recipe that isn't virtually indistinguishable from cake!

  2. Adele--You are so right! Muffins and cupcakes are not interchangeable. Which is why I say--if it can't tolerate a pat of butter, it's not a muffin!