Blueberry is one of the most popular muffin flavors at a bakery. You will typically find this flavor alongside chocolate, bran and lemon poppy seed. For me, though, I grew up baking and eating blueberry muffins from a box. I remember Betty Crocker had a blueberry muffin mix that came with a can of wild blueberries from Maine – you drained the blueberries and folded them in at the end before baking. The muffin batter was rather ordinary but the wild blueberries, bursting with intense flavor, made up for it. Then I finally had a blueberry muffin from a fancy bakery. Since they used fresh local California blueberries, I expected the muffin to be spectacular but I was a bit disappointed. The muffin itself was good, but the blueberries were lacking in flavor.
So what makes a good blueberry muffin? First and foremost, intense blueberry flavor. You want the blueberry flavor to seep into the batter. I’ve made blueberry muffins with fresh local berries but find that frozen wild blueberries from the Northeast had the best flavor, at least for baking. Second, you want a dense but moist muffin. You achieve this by not overbeating the eggs and by using sour cream and oil in the batter instead of butter. The reason I usually don’t use butter in most of my muffin recipes is because, since it is solid at room temperature, it tends to harden the muffins once they are a day old. Finally, I like to add sugar crystals on the top to create some texture. It gives the dome a nice crunchy top. Try this recipe and let me know what you think. Enjoy!
Wild Blueberry Muffins
Yield: 1 dozen
1 1/3 cups frozen organic wild blueberries*
1 tablespoon of sugar
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil (or a neutral flavored oil like organic canola)
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sour cream
Sugar crystals* or raw sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 350° and line a muffin pan with 10 cupcake liners. Set aside.
2. Take the frozen blueberries and 1 tablespoon of sugar and toss together in a small bowl. Set aside.
3. In large bowl, add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk and set aside.
4. In a glass measuring cup, whisk the milk and sour cream. Set aside.
5. In a stand mixer, beat the coconut oil and granulated sugar on medium speed for 1 minute.
6. Reduce the speed to medium low. Add the the eggs, one at a time, beating until just blended. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
7. Add the milk and sour cream mixture and vanilla. Beat until just combined.
8. On the lowest setting, slowly add the flour until just combined. Don’t overbeat.
9. Remove the bowl off the mixer. Add the blueberries to the batter and fold gently with a rubber spatula until just combined. Be careful not to crush the blueberries.
10. Scoop the batter with a large ice cream scoop into lined muffin pan. Sprinkle with sugar crystals.
11. Bake in the oven on the center rack for about 20-25 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Turn the oven to the broil setting and broil for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and remove the muffins from the muffin pan. Place the muffins on a wire rack to cool. Cool for about 15 minutes. Serve with butter.
*You can find frozen wild blueberries at specialty markets like Trader Joe’s.