Sunday, May 10, 2009

Cook's Illustrated Best Blueberry Muffins

In the past week, blueberry muffins have been circulating around my personal hemisphere like butterflies fluttering around the garden.

It started in the blogs I follow. For the Love of Cooking posted a recipe for Blueberry Surprise Muffins with Streusel Topping and Dinner for a Year and Beyond posted a recipe for Blueberry Crumb Muffins. Then I opened up the May/June 2009 issue of the Cook's Illustrated Magazine which arrived in the mail and there the muffins were again, under the name Best Blueberry Muffins.

Okay, Whoever is Up There Craving Blueberry Muffins, I get the hint.

Blueberries remind me fondly of summer. In July, we hike up to the scrubby top of a New Hampshire mountain to pick wild blueberries. The kids complain on their way up the steep inclines, but once they see all those clusters of blue studding the low bushes, big smiles cross their faces. They eagerly get to work as the birds grudgingly watch them stealing their secret stash.

In the Cook's Illustrated article, the author wanted to mirror the flavors of fresh-picked wild blueberries using blander supermarket blueberries. Her solution was to create a concentrated jam out of some of the blueberries and mix a teaspoonful of the jam into each muffin. To that, she added a sugar-lemon topping and a quickbread batter that would be hearty enough to hold up the fruit and heavy jam.

Are these "the best blueberry muffins," as advertised? I think it depends on what kind of muffin you like. I will admit that I have a preference for cakey, buttery muffins, but these were delicious too.

Cook's Illustrated Best Blueberry Muffins

The recipe can be found in the May/June 2009 issue of Cook's Illustrated, which can currently found on newsstands at the time of this posting, or at the Cook's Illustrated website. It is also available at Basically Baked, which got permission to post the recipe. Enjoy!

Clockwise from top left: Batter in which the wet and dry ingredients were brought together until just combined (do not overmix); swirling in the jam with a chopstick; muffins with their lemon-sugar topping before they go into the oven; muffins cooling on the countertop.

Ninette's Notes: 1) I just bought a silicone muffin pan to use when steaming Filipino puto, but I wanted to see how silicone performed when cooking regular muffins in the oven. Would silicone stand up to regular metal?

The muffins came out like a charm -- no greasing the pans or running a knife around the edges of the cooked muffins. The muffin tops browned nicely and the sides cooked but were not as browned as in regular muffin pans.

If you're thinking of using silicone pans, you have to decide whether it's worth losing a little bit of browned bottoms to not have to grease the pans and worry about them not coming out easily.

I don't think cleaning the pan was worse or better than cleaning a regular muffin tin.

2) When I make blueberry muffins, I mix the blueberries with a little flour before I add them to the batter. This way they don't sink to the bottom but stay suspended in the muffin.


Christie @ Fig & Cherry said...

Great photos! I've never added the blueberry mixture to the muffin and swirled in the tin before - excellent idea. Thanks for the inspiration!

EAT! said...

I really wish I had made a few more blueberry muffins!! Thanks for the link. Have a great day.

Jenn@slim-shoppin said...

I love Cook's Country! I just started getting it a few months ago. The best thing about it, is that they have already tried so many different varieties and figured out which one is best. I have that issue, so I will check that out!

Thanks for posting it!

Anonymous said...

Your muffins look very tasty. I really enjoyed these when I made them and look forward to making them again!

Pam said...

Your muffins look really, really delicious. I am loving the topping.

Thanks for the shout out.

Jescel said...

your blueberry muffins look soo pretty... i love that muffin top. i just baked one myself, but haven't posted it up yet :oD

Culinary Cory said...

How funny. I've been looking for a good blueberry muffin recipe that has a slightly crumb topping. Yours look wonderful.

SweetThings said...

I really feel like blueberry muffins now! Thanks for sharing this wonderful post!

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