I realize I’ve been on a bit of a berry kick lately, but bear with me. It is, after all, summer. Berries are one of the best parts of it!
Soon, we’ll be getting into blueberry season in Connecticut. Blueberries really bring me back to my childhood: lazy August afternoons at my grandparents’ cottage on the lake, and taking the fishing boat into the swampy area to pick wild berries. I left the operation of the small motor to my cousin J, too afraid of accidentally inflicting injury upon myself with the moving parts. But the buckets of berries were worth the slow trek across the small lake. We’d perch among the practically floating bushes, chatting away without concern. It was a private paradise.
I really should bring my kids over there this year. It’s been far too long since my wild blueberry picking days. And while we’re trying to grow some in pots in our patio area, it’ll be a few years before we have an endless bounty of them from which to choose. So much better than store-bought.
For the time-being, however, store-bought will have to do. I scoop up as many pints as I can find when they’re on sale, glad that my children enjoy their healthful little bursts of pleasure. Soon… soon we’ll have our own. If the chipmunk doesn’t steal them first.
When I realized I amassed a couple pints too many this week (oops!), I knew I had to make something with them–fast! Muffins are an old standby, guaranteed to please just about all palates without much fuss. This is the first time I’ve made a muffin recipe in which butter was used instead of oil and I think it made a real difference. I may try this again with coconut oil, just to see how it works out. I did make a couple alterations: I swapped out the all-purpose flour for white whole wheat flour and I used all turbinado sugar (Sugar in the Raw) instead of the more processed granulated in the batter and turbinado on top. Small touches that make them a little bit healthier without compromising the taste. My kids are pretty adventurous, but anything that’s too “healthfood-like” won’t get eaten by The Big Guy. We have to keep everyone in the house happy.
- 2 cups white whole wheat flour (Trader Joe’s or King Arthur Flour are both good)
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- 2 cups fresh blueberries (if using frozen, do not thaw first)
- ½ cup (8 Tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup turbinado sugar (Sugar in the Raw)
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup whole milk
- 2 Tbsp turbinado sugar (Sugar in the Raw) for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare your muffin pan for 12 muffins (line with paper liners or if you use silicone, you don’t have to do anything because they pop right out when they’re cool–that’s what I did).
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Transfer 1 Tbsp to another mixing bowl and add to it the blueberries. Toss the berries lightly until coated with the flour mixture (this helps prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the muffins). Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and 1 cup turbinado sugar. Beat for a few minutes until it is fluffy. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Beat in the vanilla. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture. Add the milk, mixing until just incorporated. Remove bowl from stand mixer and gently fold in the blueberries with a silicone spatula, being careful not to crush them.
- Using a large cookie scoop, transfer batter to the prepared muffin cups, filling ¾ of the way. If using silicone, place the pans on a metal cookie sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle is clean when removed. Cool for at least 10 minutes before trying to remove from pans.