Blueberry muffins

I’ve been neglecting my blog – I think I do this every year about this time and I suspect others do too. Journalists call this the silly season: there’s so little news (and so few journalists about to report it) during the summer that there is a trend towards fluffy, odd little pieces of news. I imagine this year, though there is plenty of people taking leave, that there is enough ‘non-fluffy’ news to report on. We’ve managed a wet week in Cornwall ourselves, and for the rest of our two weeks’ leave I have just not been able to face sitting at the makeshift, uncomfortable ‘desk’ until i’d had some clear time away from it, so the blog has been a casualty.

I know you’re thinking why on earth do a blueberry muffin recipe; there’s plenty about? I’ve seen a few appear over the past couple of months and they’ve struck me as basically recipes for large fairy cakes (cup cakes). Not muffins: cake. Muffins need some element of sour dairy in their ingredients. Here I’ve developed one which uses milk + lemon juice, rather than buttercream (which is more traditional, but not always easy to get a hold of).

By adding a sour element, it helps the baking powder chemical reaction to work and gives both a tang and a really springy texture to the muffin.

Notes

  • You can substitute any in-season fruit. I tested this recipe twice with blueberries and once with picked hedgerow blackberries. I can imagine it’d be perfectly adaptable to raspberries, chopped up plums/nectarines/peaches/apples, slightly stewed rhubarb, gooseberries and more.
  • Do put the baking powder in last. Any chemical leavener starts its reaction immediately but due to the amount of lemon juice and fruit in this recipe, the chemical reaction will be quick and vigorous and needs to happen in the oven, not while you’re still mixing! For further information please see my Chemical leaveners / raising agents post.
  • Makes 8 large muffins or 10 smaller ones (using fairy cake cases).
  • If you don’t have pearl sugar, you can substitute a large granulated sugar instead.
  • Takes about 45 minutes – 20 minutes prep, 25 minutes bake time

Equipment

  • One large bowl
  • One small bowl
  • Bun tin with 12 bun cavities (or two x 6-cavity trays)
  • Muffin cases (or large fairy/cup cake cases)
  • Wooden spoon
  • Flexible spatula
  • Large spoon and a fork
  • For measuring: scales, teaspoon, tablespoon and small liquid measuring jug

Ingredients

  • 1 small yellow or slightly browning banana (or half a large banana)
  • 30 ml milk
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 medium eggs (approx 125g weight including shells)
  • 70g caster sugar
  • 55g demerara sugar
  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 135g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 100g blueberries

plus:

  • 1 tablespoon of pearl sugar (sometimes also called nibbed sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons of flaked almonds

Method

  1. Turn on your oven to warm: 170 C for a fan oven or 190 C for a conventional oven
  2. Place your muffin cases in the bun tin(s) – this makes 8 large or 10 regular size muffins
  3. In the small bowl, mash the banana with the back of a fork with the lemon juice and the milk. Leave to one side
  4. In the large bowl cream the sugars and the butter together
  5. Break in the eggs and add the flour (do NOT add the baking powder yet). Mix until thoroughly combined
  6. Mix in the banana mixture and then add the baking powder and give a thorough, quick stir
  7. Add in about three quarters (approx 75g) of the blueberries into the mixture and stir gently in (no need to weigh, this can be a best guess!)
  8. Portion out the mixture between the cases. You should fill each case to just under level with the case edge – that is, they should be pretty full
  9. Portion out the remaining blueberries equally on top of each of the filled muffin cases and just slightly push each blueberry down a little into the batter. Don’t fully submerge them. This is so that the blueberries are nicely distributed through each muffin as you bite into them
  10. Now sprinkle over the flaked almonds and the pearl sugar
  11. Place straight into the middle of the oven
  12. Bake for 25 minutes and leave to cool before eating
Blueberry muffin recipe - inksugarspice website

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