Today’s forecast: a fierce southwesterly, piles of cookbook edits, earaches all around coughs that won’t quit. On the upside: a batch of warm muffins. Welcome to spring break in Tofino.
We’ve run out into the storm twice for essentials – coffee, Pringles (I’m easily convinced when under the weather) and meds – and both times had to retreat out of our wet clothes back in to PJs upon walking in the door. The second time I cranked the oven on first, before taking off my yellow rubber rainjacket, craving the warmth and comfort of a working oven plus a buttery, crunchy-topped muffin to go with my rained-in coffee. Generally I make muffins with grainier flours and healthier oils, but have you seen it outside? It’s a day for cupcakes passed off as muffins.
And yes it’s pouring and blowing, but things are green and growing…
In the freezer there was a flat of blueberries left over from last year – the very best kind for baking, I think, versus the bagged kind that come already frozen and with ice crystals that can turn your muffins blue-green. And so when W asked if I could PLEASE JUST MAKE SOMETHING NORMAL THIS TIME.. WITH NOTHING WEIRD IN IT? I promised to make muffins of the Tim Horton’s variety.
This is a pretty basic muffin formula – the cupcakey kind, really, with a buttery crumb and crunchy top made even crunchier by a sprinkle of sugar before going into the oven. You could make a rubble of butter-flour-sugar for streusel-topped muffins, or use other berries or chopped fruit in place of the blueberries, or sub in some tweedier flour for the all-purpose. I had a lemon on the countertop and so grated some zest into the butter and sugar; this is entirely optional, but very delicious – you could instead add a big shake of cinnamon, or orange zest, or whatever else you like in your blueberry muffins. (PS: This is also a great way to use up milk or yogurt that’s heading past its prime, or that half & half you stashed in the freezer that’s perfectly fine, but separated enough that no one wants to put it in their coffee.)
Blueberry Lemon Muffins
1/2 cup butter, at room temp
1 cup sugar
grated zest of half a lemon (optional)
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk or (3/4 cup thin yogurt)
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (or dump in as many as you like)
sugar, for sprinkling (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375F. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar (with the lemon zest, if you’re using it) until pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
Add half the flour along with the baking powder and salt and stir just until combined; stir in the milk, then the remaining flour along with the berries, still frozen if they began that way.
Divide the thick batter between 12 paper-lined muffin cups, filling them full; if you like, sprinkle the tops with sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden and springy to the touch. Serve warm. Makes 1 dozen muffins.