We woke up to a thunderstorm this morning. Waking up to wild weather on a weekend when you don’t have anywhere you have to be is one of life’s great pleasures, and after two trembling Bichons were fed, walked, and towel dried within an inch of their lives, I sat down to enjoy it. I love the serendipitous quality of coastal storms. It’s black as night one minute, and then rays of light break through the clouds the next. Pounding rain alternates with a silent drizzle.
We’re out of Thomas’s English Muffins, our go-to breakfast. That, combined with the dark cozy ambiance of the storm, and the fact that there is a pint of blueberries sitting in a colander next to the sink made me think of blueberry muffins. Muffins are possibly one of my top ten favorite foods. I have been searching for the perfect recipe for years…the kind I would be able to call up at a moment’s notice on a morning like this and whip up with whatever’s at hand. They would be light, fluffy, moist and full of fruit and nuts. But for some reason the perfect muffin has always eluded me.
This morning I did a quick Internet search for—not particularly imaginative, but it’s early—the best blueberry muffins. I figure confidence is a good marker here…I want to quickly get passed all the mediocre muffins and head right for the winners. I went with To Die For Blueberry Muffins, A good title, and almost 5,000 reviews. A promising starting point.
When I’m looking for a basic recipe I usually bypass my cookbooks. Cookbook recipes tend to be complex and quirky, as if the authors feel like they have to justify themselves by being super creative. Ironically I won’t turn to my beloved Fannie Farmer for this either, because vintage muffin recipes don’t yield the super-sized, fluffy, chocked full of stuff kind of 21st century muffin that I crave. There’s definitely a muffin generation gap going on here.
The recipe below reflects my changes…I added almonds, and almond and vanilla extracts for crunch and flavor, and substituted buttermilk for the milk. I omitted the crumb topping and just sprinkled sugar on them. They turned out great.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 heaping cup fresh blueberries
- 3/4 cup sliced almonds
- sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
- Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt, baking powder and almonds. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough buttermilk to fill the cup. Add the extracts. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Fill 6 muffin cups, (they will be heaping) and sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done