My choir had an intensive workshop last Saturday, so I took along some blueberry muffins to share with everyone. They were very well received (that means they were all eaten), and people asked me for the recipe. The only problem is…. I don’t actually have a recipe. I’ve used various recipes for blueberry muffins in the past, but found them all a bit stodgy and cakey, so for the past few months I’ve been trying to develop my own. I think I’ve almost gotten it right now, or at least, right enough to share.
First of all, preheat your oven to 200 degrees, or maybe just a bit more. Then prepare the blueberries. In my case, this means getting them out of the freezer and defrosting them. They need to be thoroughly defrosted. Then drain them, so that you don’t have lots of extra fluid going into the mix. I use about 1 and 2/3 cup of frozen berries, which yields about a cup of defrosted and drained berries.
I use a basic muffin base of 1 and 1/2 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 2 teaspoons of cream of tartar. You could use 1 and 1/2 cups of self raising flour and omit the rising agents, or you could use 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder instead of using baking soda and cream of tartar. I tend to use the baking soda and cream of tartar mix for fruity muffins, and baking powder for chocolatey or savoury muffins.
Sift the flour and rising agents and add 1/2 cup of sugar.
Set the dry ingredients aside, and prepare the wet ingredients. First melt 50grams of butter, and set it aside to cool a little. Then beat together 1 egg, 1 cup of plain yoghurt, and 1/2 cup of milk.
Next, prepare the grated rind of one lemon, and set it ready for use.
At this stage, you should have a bowl of dry ingredients, and the wet ingredients, including the blueberries, all ready for use. The last thing to do is to prepare your muffin pans. Use a standard 12 cup muffin pan. I used to use paper muffin pan liners, but eventually I decided that they made the muffins too moist, so these days I use my metal pans, thoroughly greased. I use a canola cooking spray to grease them, but butter smeared over each cup works just as well.
From now on, you will want to work very quickly. Beat the lemon rind through the yoghurt and egg mix, and then pour it into the dry ingredients. Mix it through, but while you still have flour showing, add the melted butter, and mix again. Then just before the last bits of dry flour disappear, sprinkle the blueberries over the top, and fold them through. The trick for getting a lovely light muffin is not to mix too much. If you overmix them, they get chewy. This is where your mix will go awry if the blueberries are still a bit icy. The cold will make mixing difficult, so you will need to do more of it, and your muffins will be so chewy that they will bounce back at you if you drop them on the floor (this is the voice of bitter experience speaking here). I also find that blueberries are quite fragile, so they break apart and turn into a smudgey mess if you mix them too much (also the voice of experience).
Spoon the batter into the muffin pans, and put them into the oven for 12 minutes.
While the muffins are baking, prepare the lemon glaze. Juice the lemon you have used for lemon rind, and put the lemon juice into a cup with 6tsp of sugar (extra). Leave the cup sitting on the bench while you wait for the muffins to cook.
The muffins will take about 12 or 13 minutes to cook. They should feel springy on top when they are done. Take them out of the oven, and let them rest for a minute. Then lever them out carefully. Because these are fruity muffins, they can come apart easily if you have ended up with several large chunks of fruit touching the metal of the pan. However I find that I can usually get them out intact if I take it slowly.
Put the muffins on a drying rack. Then straightaway, while they are still hot, glaze them with the lemon and sugar mix. Put a teaspoon of mix onto the top of each muffin, using the back of the spoon to spread the mix. The juice will run off the sides, so it pays to put something underneath the drying rack to collect the drips. I use a very old metal baking pan. Then leave the muffins to dry.
This muffin mix is very light. I think that you could add another 1/4 cup of flour (add more rising agents: 1/4 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp more cream of tarter, or 1/4 tsp more baking powder should do the trick). Or you could cut the milk down a little, to 1/3 of a cup.
You could also use this base for other fruity muffins. I’ve been experimenting with rhubarb recently. When I’ve got that recipe about right, I’ll share it too.