It’s almost apple picking time, but our local summer fruits are in their glory. Before they disappear, please whip up a batch of these muffins, using the freshest, plumpest, tastiest fruit you can find.
My favorite recipe comes from a cookbook called Muffins, written in 1985 by Elizabeth Alston. There are rare times when you can stop searching or tweaking a recipe, because you found the best! This is one of those times.
The recipe originated in a Boston-based department store called Jordon Marsh and they had a bakery that sold muffins. The store closed in 1996, but their blueberry muffin recipe is worth passing down to the next generation.
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups unbleached all-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup milk
2 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh preferred
1/4 cup sugar, for topping
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a standard 12-cup muffin tin; or line the tin with papers, and grease the papers.
In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until well combined.
Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl and beating well after each addition.
Beat in the baking powder, salt, and vanilla.
Add the flour alternately with the milk, beating gently just to combine. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.
Mash 1/2 cup of the blueberries. Add the mashed and whole berries to the batter, stirring just to combine and distribute.
Scoop the batter by the heaping 1/4-cupful into the prepared muffin pan; a muffin scoop works well here.
Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon granulated sugar atop each muffin, if desired. It’s traditional — go for it!
Bake the muffins for about 30 minutes, until they’re light golden brown on top, and a toothpick inserted into the middle of one of the center muffins comes out clean.
Remove the muffins from the oven, loosen their edges from the pan, and after about 5 minutes transfer them to a rack to cool.
Yield: 12 muffins.
My cookbook recommends adding 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg to one tablespoon of sugar that is sprinkled over the muffins before they are baked. I also used the large muffin tin, so you can relish a bigger crunchy top and a bigger delicate center.
This is muffin nirvana.