The Secret of Blueberry Muffins is All in The Topping

Blueberry muffins are a sensory memory for me that go quite aways back. When I was a kid and we would go visit my maternal grandparents.The first morning we were there my grandmother always made a batch of blueberry muffins. It was something right out of a Norman Rockwell painting to wake up to the smell of fresh blueberry muffins coming out of the oven. 

Many years later, well after the passing of my grandmother, I found myself being nostalgic. I wanted to make blueberry muffins that would make her proud.  I dug around for recipes but each one was missing something. If you have ever been a fan of the TV sitcom “Friends” I felt like Monica trying to duplicate Phoebe’s grandmothers chocolate chip cookie recipe. I would keep trying yet something was eluding me no matter what I tried.

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After many attempts I happened to mention to my mother that I was trying to recreate Grandma’s recipe and wish I had hers. My mom then reveals, “I think it was a box mix”… I was dumb founded. I always thought my grandmother made everything from scratch. It didn’t lessen the memory but I moved forward trying to create something that would make her proud.

It wasn’t till years later that I discovered the secret to the memory I had from my childhood and it just so happened to be a recipe from Americas Test Kitchen. I happened to be watching an episode when they covered their recipe. They had some good ideas for boosting the blueberry flavor but it was the topping that was the key. Their topping was lemon zest mixed with granulated sugar. All this time the various “streusel” toppings left me wanting. The key was that bright zing of lemon that you get when you bite into the muffin. The sweet, the sour, and the nutty make up this delicious muffin. Since discovering the secret is in the topping I have since played with the recipe to make it a little more interesting.

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Blueberry Muffins

Being with preheating the oven to 425º F. Prepare the muffin tin, spraying with a non-stick spray and line with paper wrappers. Then, in a small bowl melt:

  • 56 grams Unsalted Butter

Add  to that:

  • 56 grams Pecan Oil (You can use any oil you like. I enjoy adding a hit of nuttiness.)

Set aside to cool slightly. In a large bowl whisk together:

  • 2 large Eggs
  • 200 grams Granulated Sugar

Add in the butter and oil, whisk smooth. Add in the:

  • 8 fl ounces Buttermilk
  • 1 ½ Vanilla Extract

Whisk till smooth and creamy. Then add in the dry ingredients:

  • 8 ounces All-purpose Flour
  • 4 ½ ounces Oat Flour
  • 2 ½ teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt

Fold in the dry ingredients just until you don’t see any flour streaks. Then add in:

  • 148 grams Fresh Blueberries
  • 148 grams Homemade Blueberry Jam, preserves, or jelly (make sure it’s well mashed before adding)

Fold in the blueberries then scoop out into the prepared tin. Make the topping. In a small bowl, mix together with a fork:

  • Zest of 1 Lemon
  • 66 grams Granulated Sugar

Sprinkle the lemon sugar on top of the batter. Try not to get it on the tin as it will burn and or harden. I put a spoonfuls in the center on the top with a small spoon then with the back of the spoon I push it out to the edges.

Bake for 19-21 minutes. Let fully cool in the tin before removing. Tearing into the muffin you can see all sorts of blueberries as well as streaks of the jam. Depending on how I am feeling when I am making the muffins I might add more of the jam punching up the blueberries. Feel free to take liberties.

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