Baskets of blueberries are rolling in from Michigan, one of the top producers of America’s favorite summer berry. Now touted as a superfood, everybody loves blueberries. They’re sometimes a bit bland, but they are good for us and we prize them. The blueberries shipped in from Chili and beyond that we find in the supermarkets in winter have little flavor, but those fresh off the bush that we see in our summer farmers markets are now at their tastiest peak. Just picked ripe blueberries bursting with juice are perfect for eating out of hand, sprinkling on cereal, adding to a salad or baking into a pie. Their tender gentle sweetness charms us all.
Before I ever had a slice of blueberry pie, I’d enjoyed blueberry muffins. Somehow back decades ago in the Southwest we found them frozen and were treated to my dad’s freshly baked (from scratch, of course) blueberry muffins on Easter morning after the sunrise service up on the Colorado National Monument. Although I enjoy the berries raw. I think they are at their peak of flavor when cooked. Blueberries in a pie, a cobbler, a sauce or in muffins take on a richer dimension of deliciousness.
Muffins have almost become cupcakes. The traditional stir and bake breakfast muffins in my mother’s 1942 Inglenook Cookbook have 1 tablespoon sugar for each cup of flour while our current standard muffin recipes average 6 tablespoons of sugar per cup of flour. The following easy recipe at least bumps up the nutrition quota with wholewheat pastry flour and plenty of berries, but admittedly it’s a cupcake. My granddaughters like them for breakfast, but I prefer them for a teacake. These muffins keep well for a couple of days in a tin or may be frozen for a few weeks.
2 oz. unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
6 ½ oz. unbleached all purpose flour (or half wholewheat) 1 1/3 cups
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
scant ½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 ½ oz. sugar** (1/2 cup)
1 large egg
4 fl. oz. milk* (1/2 cup)
4 fl. oz. plain yogurt* (1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 oz. fresh blueberries (1 cup)
*whole milk recommended but not necessary
**reduce sugar to 2 1/2 oz. (1/3 cup) for more breakfast-friendly muffins
Preheat oven to 400°. Line 8 large or 10 smaller muffin cups with cupcake paper. Or grease and flour muffin cups.
Melt butter, cool to warm.
Sift flour(s), baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar into a deep mixing bowl.
In a large measuring cup whisk together the egg, milk, yogurt, vanilla and cooled melted butter.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the egg mixture in a few quick strokes. Mix in the dry blueberries with the last traces of flour.
Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, sprinkle the tops with pinches of sugar for a glaze and pop into the preheated oven. Immediately reduce the heat to 375° and bake for 20-25 minutes depending on size or until muffins are golden and test done. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack. Makes 8-10 muffin.