today’s taste: blueberry lemon muffins
We thoroughly enjoyed our Labor Day (only 42 more to go) – and hope you all did too! But we would be lying if we said nothing was amiss during the delightfully long weekend. We had separation anxiety: from each other, but, more severely and importantly, from our kitchen. We both tried to fill the holes in our hearts; Emily made a seafood pasta for her friend’s parents, and Morgan tested a new raspberry bar recipe (which may be hitting the blog soon!) on her guinea pig boyfriend. But it wasn’t the same.
So, after the holiday, we craved something homey and classic; is there anything more homey and classic than blueberry muffins? They are brunch favorites and crowd pleasers, and that is exactly how we debuted them: to a crowd of friends we hosted for brunch on our back patio (we’re soaking in every last minute of summer outdoors). We made a near-disastrous mistake in preparing for brunch: we didn’t have coffee before doing a morning grocery store run. After completing the shopping list – or so we thought – we returned home to discover that our carton of blueberries did not, in fact, contain blueberries. The poor seedless grapes had not been getting much attention, and therefore did their best to imitate their more popular shelf neighbors – and we fell for it. Thankfully, one gracious brunch guest stopped for blueberries on his way to the house, and we were able to dive into the baking with all necessary ingredients.
Nobody likes experimenting with complicated and extravagant recipes more than we do; but sometimes, the simple ones are the best. This recipe is one of those: it’s easy, classic, and adaptable. We chose blueberries (and added lemon) because of the tart flavor reminded us of summer – although good blueberries are available year-round (just because pumpkin spice is in the air doesn’t mean you can’t have a good blueberry muffin in your hand). However, most fruits will work in this recipe, which is why it’s a great one to keep around. Strawberries, bananas, peaches, apples…if you’re craving a breakfast treat but not the accompanying grocery store visit, just use whatever fruit you have in your kitchen! Chop the larger fruits into the rough size of blueberries. Changing the fruit is also a fun opportunity to play with flavors; the pairing of blueberries and lemons creates a nice balance of tart and sweet, but other fruits might have better matches. For example, the fallish feel of apples could warrant the addition of some cinnamon and nutmeg; bananas and walnuts work notoriously well together (we promised our housemates a nut allergy-friendly treat for this brunch occasion, though!).
Regardless of the type of fruit and flavor, be sure to coat the pieces in flour (we did this in our blackberry peach coffee cake as well) to prevent them from sinking – if you’re the kind of (evil, but understandably so) person who takes the muffin top and leaves the bottom for some unfortunate soul, you want to keep much of the juicy and purple sweetness near the top. Be sure to have a napkin handy whenever you sneak a bite; otherwise, a trail of inevitable crumbs will lead your displeased housemates straight to you!
- 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 3⁄4 cup white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 cup milk
- 1⁄4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1⁄2 cups blueberries
- zest from 1 lemon
- Preheat oven to 400°F and grease (or line with muffin cups) a 12-muffin pan.
- Stir together the 2 cups of flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, beat egg with a fork.
- Stir in milk and oil.
- Pour all at once into the flour mixture.
- Add lemon zest to bowl.
- Mix quickly and lightly with fork until moistened, but do not beat (batter will be lumpy, but overmixing creates tough muffins and lumps dissolve in the oven).
- Stir together blueberries and 2 tablespoons of flour in medium bowl until blueberries are coated.
- Fold blueberries into mixture.
- Pour batter into muffin pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.