Blueberry Muffins

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Certain recipes never make their way to these pages. Blueberry muffins are a good example. I love blueberry muffins, so I try new recipes whenever I come across one that sounds good. But they’re all pretty good, because what could really be bad about blueberries and butter and sugar? Some are better than others, but it still isn’t the sort of thing that inspires me to write which means it has been six years with no blueberry muffin recipes. (Banana bread probably falls into this category, though recently I tried a recipe that may be perfect— I’ll let you know!)

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It is the odd blueberry muffin that stands out. And so today I am writing about a blueberry muffin with one simple, but significant, difference: the addition of molasses. It doesn’t sound like much, but it is enough to make this a completely different beast from any blueberry muffin I have tried in the past. The recipe is from the Bouchon Bakery cookbook, a book that I have mixed feelings about. In part, because I don’t think the pastries at Bouchon Bakery are that great (sorry!) and in part because is reads/looks like a corporate training manual. It is too much. On the other hand, some of the recipes are outstanding and I admire it’s precision and clarity. In any case, my feelings about the book aside, these muffins are quite good. Are they what I dream about when I dream about blueberry muffins? No. But that’s okay. I shouldn’t be dreaming about muffins anyway. These are delicious blueberry muffins, but darker and more complicated thanks to the small amount of molasses.

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They are also, you’ll notice, square. I decided to bake these in a square muffin tin I bought last year. For whatever reason, I haven’t used it until now. I had started to think it was a stupid purchase, but I now know it was a great purchase. Square muffins are cool. I like the way they fit together on a plate. I like the increased amount of surface area that is in contact with the pan and caramelizes. It’s another simple change that makes a big difference.

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This recipe is much easier with a scale, please use one. I got 6 square muffins out of the recipe, which is the same number of jumbo muffins you will get. If you’re using a traditional muffin pan, it might be closer to 8. I increased the salt in the streusel to from 1/4 teaspoon to 1/2 teaspoon. I would probably do 3/4 teaspoon next time. I find that the recipes in the book all seem to need more salt.

Blueberry Muffins  (from Bouchon Bakery)

  • 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons (180 grams) frozen wild blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon (10 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (86 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons (109 grams) cake flour
  • 1/2 plus 1/8 teaspoon (2.8 grams) baking powder
  • 1/2 plus 1/8 teaspoon (2.8 grams) baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon (2.4 grams) salt
  • 3.4 ounces (96 grams) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (96 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (40 grams) unsulfured blackstrap or dark molasses
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons (54 grams) clover honey
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons (72 grams) eggs (or about 1 large egg)
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.2 grams) vanilla paste
  • 1/4 cup (57 grams) buttermilk
  • Almond Streusel (recipe below)

For the batter: Toss blueberries with the 1 tablespoon (10g) all-purpose flour in a small bowl, and place in the freezer.

Place remaining  1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (86g)  all-purpose flour in a medium bowl. Sift in the cake flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add salt and whisk together.

Place butter in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, turn to medium-low speed, and cream the butter until it’s the consistency of mayonnaise.

Add the sugar and mix on medium-low speed for about 1 minute until the mixture is fluffy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add molasses and honey and mix on low speed for about 1 minute to incorporate.

Add eggs and vanilla paste and mix on low speed for about 30 seconds, until just combined. Add half the flour mixture and mix on low speed for 15 seconds, or until just combined. Add half the buttermilk and mix for 15 to 30 seconds to combine. Repeat with the remaining dry ingredients, followed by the remaining buttermilk.

Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and scrape the bottom of the bowl to incorporate any dry ingredients that have settled there. Transfer the batter to a covered container and refrigerate overnight, or up to 36 hours.

To bake the muffins: Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a 6-cup jumbo muffin pan with muffin papers and spray the papers with nonstick cooking spray. Or, alternately, grease and flour your muffin tin. Remove the batter from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes to begin to soften.

Stir the blueberries into the batter and spoon batter evenly into the muffin papers, stopping about 3/8-1/2  inch from the top (about 140 grams each). Sprinkle 30 grams or a generous 3 tablespoons of the streusel on top of each muffin.

Place pan in the oven, lower the oven temperature to 325°F, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Set the pan on a cooling rack and cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.

The muffins are best the day they are baked, but they can be wrapped individually in a few layers of plastic wrap or stored in a single layer in a covered container at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 week. Defrost the muffins still in the container so any condensation will form on the outside of the container and not on the muffins. Place on a sheet rack and refresh in a 325-degree oven for about 5 minutes, if desired.

 

Almond Streusel Topping

(Makes 3 3/4 cups, which is WAY more than you need. You can freeze the leftover for the next time you make these, or simply cut the recipe in half)

  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (120) grams all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon (120 grams) almond flour/meal
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons (120 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1.2 grams) kosher salt
  • 4.2 ounces (120 grams) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

Combine the all-purpose flour, almond flour, sugar and salt in a bowl and whisk to break up any lumps.

Add butter and toss to coat the pieces. Work the mixture with your fingertips, breaking the butter into pieces  no larger than 1/8 inch and combining it with the flour mixture. Do not overwork the mixture or allow the butter to become soft; if it does, place the bowl in the refrigerator to harden the butter before continuing.

Transfer the streusel to a covered container or resealable plastic bag. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days, or freeze up to 1 month. Use the streusel while it is cold.

This recipe makes about twice as much streusel as you will need to make 6 jumbo blueberry muffins. Just freeze the remaining streusel to use when you bake another batch of muffins.

18 comments to “Blueberry Muffins”

  1. Just curious: if you don’t care for the Bouchon Pastries, why do you have the cookbook? I’ve never heard of/ been to said bakery, by the way.
    Your previous Normcore post was so fun. I had no idea it was even a thing. Now I feel cool, just knowing what the cool kids agonize about.

  2. I completely agree with you about Bouchon Bakery. I visited in NYC….it was nice, but not worth the expense and fuss – not to me at least. I had already bought their baking book based solely on reputation, maybe I’ll relook at their pastries.

  3. It looks like gingersnap batter!

  4. So, yesterday I went up to our local farm to pick up our vegetable share and they had organic blueberries on sale in the freezer. I bought as many as I could fit in my freezer. I came home looking for something new to do with them….then this recipe appeared! How did you know?

    These look delicious and I will make them later today. That said, I wish I had a square muffin pan. I like the looks of them in that shape.

    Thank you so much.

  5. Agree that the bouchon bakery instructions are crazy meticulous sometime. I liked most of the recipes but wonder if I really need to bake eclairs at 3 separate temperatures…

    I imagine the addition of molasses here is probably like an extra dose of concentrated brown sugar? They look so cute in their square molds!

  6. I too feel so strongly about using weight not measurements when baking. In fact, if I am considering a new cookbook it is a deal breaker if the ingredients are only by volume. Thank you for this and also for publishing such an enjoyable and usable blog

  7. So funny and true about the Bouchon cookbook! I felt that way about the Ad Hoc book. I’ve been to Bouchon Bakery in Vegas and NYC and enjoyed it, but I went to the Napa one last year and thought it was awful- like a factory line, order and get out.

    Also glad to see I’m not the only one who constantly tries new recipes for banana bread. I’m also that way about chocolate chip cookies and granola.

  8. I can see why this recipe gets the thumbs up. Molasses is such a wonderful addition in baking and gives a lovely dark depth of flavour. I will be trying this out definitely!

  9. I like the addition of molasses…I also have this book…mainly for educational purposes, so I can do my own thing (baking).

  10. I just made these! agreed on the streusel – I made half the amount as you suggested and still had plenty left over. I used all sorts of whole grain flours (kim boyce <3) and didn't rest the batter overnight, but they still turned out well. I got 12 standard-sized/not-jumbo-but-still-substantial muffins. thanks for sharing a great recipe, as always! that honey-molasses flavor has been on my mind since I popped into bouchon a few months ago.

  11. I love your square muffin tin. Mine is warped and old and typically “round”. I may have to rectify that. Muffins look great!

  12. I’ve been thinking about blueberry muffins a lot lately (probably because i have a stash of berries in the freezer). I’m intrigued by the molasses in these muffins. I like recipes where molasses adds some depth of flavor, but doesn’t overwhelm. (I will not eat a molasses cookie). How strong does the molasses flavor itself come through in the final product here? Also, will it be the end of the world if i use all AP flour? I don’t have any cake flour. Thanks!

  13. Molasses is my new favorite ingredient so I thank you for writing about thiw recipe. Earlier this year, I made joy the baker’s brown butter banana bread which also includes molasses. It’s divine!

    And I totally agree about increasing the salt. So many recipes omit it or include such tiny amounts.

  14. I think I am mostly inspired by the square muffins .. i am a crust girl – even bread ends keep me happy.

  15. Those look good, but I’ll eat almond streusel on just about anything so I don’t know if I’m one to judge. Will give them a try this weekend!

  16. These look so tasty! Now I have something to do with those blueberries I bought!

  17. Oh, this is like a 101 cookbooks blueberry cake that I’ve made a few times – you’re right, there’s just something about the molasses with the blueberries. But I just used the regular Grandma’s molasses I had in the pantry – no special trip to the co-op for something more organic & unsulphured, a la Ms. Swanson

  18. Kitten Bearden says:

    October 9th, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    You really should try blueberries in your banana bread. Never woulda thunk!

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