Saturday, August 10, 2013

Main Course: Blueberry Muffins

August 4, 2013

Blueberry Muffins
Crispy Fried Bacon
Scrambled Eggs
Home Fries

Blueberry Muffins from Cook's Illustrated

Breakfast pastries: I like to make them, I like to eat them, and I'd like to write about them. But I cook dinner, not breakfast, and getting up several hours early to bake before breakfast does not appeal to me. The solution, of course, is to have breakfast for dinner. There are several things on my list of breakfast pastries to make including doughnuts, beignets, monkey bread, and morning glory muffins. (Will cronuts be added to the list?) With plentiful fresh fruits available, though, from all of these delicacies, I elected to make blueberry muffins.

I reviewed several recipes and ended up adapting one from Cook's Illustrated that was designed for frozen blueberries. In the original recipe half of the berries are cooked to make a jam which is swirled into the batter just before the muffins are baked. Rather than do that, I added all of the berries to the batter whole. One concern when doing this is that the berries will all sink to the bottom of the muffins. Happily this did not happen; coating the berries with flour may well have prevented them from sinking. This recipe uses the classic muffin method where the wet ingredients are gently mixed into the dry. Some other recipes creamed the butter and sugar together.  The muffin method leads to a coarser crumb while the creaming method gives more uniform cake-like crumb.

The muffins were good, enjoyable, and well worth making, but they were nothing extraordinary. They have a wonderful crispy top that is rich with lemon flavor that greatly enhances the muffins. There were a lot of blueberries in the muffin, perhaps even too many if that is possible, so they had a lot of summer-time blueberry flavor.

The rest of dinner was standard breakfast-for-dinner fare: crispy fried bacon, scrambled eggs, home fries, and mimosa (half orange juice, half Champagne). I plan to publish a home fries recipe but this attempt came up a little short so I still have work to do on that, though I made some good progress. If I can have a Sunday Dinner with blueberry muffins as the main course, there is nothing to say I couldn't have a meal with home fries as the main course, too.

I froze half of the muffins and stored the others in an air right container the same way I would store cookies. While they didn't have the crisp top of the fresh muffins they kept well and I enjoyed them for breakfast all week. I warmed them in the microwave and anointed them with butter.

Kitchen tip
When spraying a baking pan with vegetable spray, open the dishwasher and hold the pan over the open door. Any stray spray then goes in the dishwasher and not on your counter tops.

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