Posts Tagged ‘buttermilk’

Blueberry Muffins from Cook’s Illustrated

March 29, 2009
An excellent muffin!

An excellent muffin!

Yesterday I made the blueberry muffin recipe from the May/June issue of Cook’s Illustrated. The recipe is by Yvonne Ruperti. As I was making them I felt they had a lot of unnecessary steps. Melting and cooling butter, making jam, letting it cool, and making a topping. Maybe I was a little out of sorts because yesterday I wasn’t sure the muffins were special enough to warrant all of that fiddling. They’re muffins after all. There are thousands of recipes for blueberry muffins, most of which don’t require much fuss and that’s what I’m used to.

Even so I noticed how much I liked the grated lemon zest and sugar topping. It gives the muffins a little tang, and a little crunch. I also noted that I liked the crumb of the muffins. They’re moist and the flavors are very clear. They don’t require any additional butter or jam or at the table. They’re excellent just the way they are.

By the time afternoon tea rolled around I had decided that these muffins were worth every little step detailed in the recipe and I was sorry for my bad attitude towards them in the morning.

This morning before heading over to the gym I had one for a pre-work out snack, and my affection for these muffins was confirmed. They’re everything I want from a blueberry muffin.

I have some research to do about muffin tins. I thought mine was  a standard size muffin tin, but it’s very old, so maybe standard size has gotten bigger over the years. I had more batter than I could comfortably fit into twelve muffin cups but I did it anyway and my muffins are not as attractive as they could have been.

Moist crumb with good blueberry flavor.

Moist crumb with good blueberry flavor.

My photographs represent the most attractive of the twelve, and the cross section doesn’t represent how many blueberries there are in each muffin. There are plenty of blueberries and even though I had to use frozen fruit the blueberry flavor is excellent. I’m going to ask for permission to post the recipe and if I receive permission I’ll update this post. If I don’t get permission please refer to page 21 of the May/June issue of Cook’s Illustrated.

This post has been edited to include the recipe with permission from Cook’s Illustrated !

Best Blueberry Muffins

Makes 12 Muffins

Lemon Sugar Topping

1/3 c. (2 1/3 ounces) sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest from 1 lemon


2 cups (about 10 ounces) fresh blueberries, picked over

1 1/8 cups (8 ounces) plus 1 teaspoon sugar

2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

1/4 c. vegetable oil

1 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. For the topping: Stir together sugar and lemon zest in small bowl until combined; set aside.

2. For the muffins: Adust oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray standard muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Bring 1 cup blueberries and 1 teaspoon sugar to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing berries with spoon several times and stirring frequently, until berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced to 1/4 cup, about 6 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and cool to room remperature, 10-15 minutes.

3. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl. Whisk remaining 1 1/8 c. sugar and eggs together in medium bowl until thick and homogeneous, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in butter and oil until combined. Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla until combined. Using rubber spatula, fold egg mixture and remaining cup blueberries into flour mixture until just moistened. (Batter will be very lumpy with few spots of dry flour; do not overmix.)

4.Divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups (batter should completely fill cups and mound slightly). Spoon teaspoon of cooked berry mixture into center of each mound of batter. Using chopstick or skewer, gently swirl berry filling into batter using figure-eight motion. Sprinkle lemon sugar evenly over muffins.

5. Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm, 17-19 minutes, rotating muffin tin from front to back halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving.

To substitute frozen berries. Cook 1 cup as directed in Step 2. Rinse remaining berries under cold water and dry well. In step 3, toss dried berries into flour mixture before adding egg mixture. Proceed with recipe as directed.


Baking Powder Biscuits

January 11, 2009
Baking Powder Biscuits

Baking Powder Biscuits

Does that picture make you want to eat a biscuit? I sometimes hesitate to post about a recipe because I have to take the picture at night with the artificial light in my kitchen. Food photography after dark is challenging and not always appetizing so if you have an opinon or suggestion regarding the photo, I’d love to read your feedback.

The biscuits were made with buttermilk, butter, all purpose flour and an egg! For many years I’ve made buttermilk biscuits with shortening and no egg, so these were different in a good way. The flavor was far better and the texture and moisture content were better as well. They are the best biscuits I’ve ever made, and they smelled terrific. My husband and son both gave them thumbs up.

Buttermilk Biscuits

2 c. all purpose flour

2 t. sugar

1/4 t. salt

2 t. baking powder

1/2 t. baking soda

5 T. cold butter

1 egg

2/3 c. buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Whisk together the dry ingredients. In a smaller bowl lightly whisk the buttermilk and egg. Cut the cold butter into smaller pieces. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the dry ingredients. The mixture should have little clumps about the size of peas. Stir in the buttermilk and egg mixture just until everything in the bowl is evenly moistened. Lightly flour your countertop and hands and pat the dough to an even 1 1/2 thickness. Cut with biscuit cutter and place on ungreased baking sheet. Pat the dough back together and continue cutting. Brush the biscuit tops with buttermilk and dust with flour if desired.

Bake until golden, about 10-12 minutes.

Makes 10-12 biscuits.