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Blueberry Muffins

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!)

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.

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.

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 [1])

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)

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.