It’s easy to assume that blueberry muffins are nothing but a freezer-friendly breakfast option that doesn’t require much effort or attention.
But they are, in fact, a robust baked good every home-baker should fiddle with until they come out exactly right.
Or alternatively terribly wrong, which is the exact moment in time I will lie on the kitchen floor, sobbing.
There’s no point in denying anyone stashing their freezer with muffins – but you should be aware that even the greatest of muffin turns into a mediocre muffin after spending some time in your trusted ice box.
There is also something to be said about the difference between a muffin you grab on a day you ignored
the whining kids for 30 minutes the alarm clock and a glorious muffin worth your full attention – the latter of which, in my humble opinion, is the category the least of all muffins fall into.
More often than not these, ahem, sickeningly sweet “breakfast” cakes are thrown together hastily with little regard towards texture and flavor, relying on the fact that enough sugar and fat in the batter will make them appealing to our brains. They’re just breakfast after all, why bother?
(Make no mistake, I’m guilty of this too at times. It would be scenario #2 to result in crying on the floor, right next to getting irresponsibly drunk, but (luckily for me) that’s not the point of this story.)
With the delicate yet still humble muffins I’m sharing today, I’m making a point about refining a common (usually defrosted) coffeeshop grab to the point of savoring it for brunch just as much as a good Mimosa.
Let’s be real though, they’re oversized cupcakes, so you’ll be fine eating them for afternoon tea, as dessert or as birthday cake with a candle stuck in the middle.
Bottom line, if you’re looking for a recipe for blueberry muffins that delivers not only in terms of taste but also looks and interest – but not necessarily one that’s the fastest to put together – you’ve come to the right place. Let’s escape into muffin making together for a minute.
The first thing a decadent blueberry muffin needs is a crumb topping. There’s just no way around it. I know, hypocrisy right here, as I have plenty of blueberry muffin and bread recipes without crumb toppings (notably these Healthy Blueberry Lemon Muffins, which are a great whole wheat breakfast option, but certainly not the kind of single-serve-sized cake I’m talking about today).
I cannot stress this enough and for the sake of grabbing your attention, let me put it in all-caps: DO NOT MELT THE BUTTER FOR YOUR CRUMB TOPPING.
Please. I’m begging you. Cold butter, worked into the sugar and flour quickly (as you would with pie crust), then refrigerated until you’re ready to bake will result in the best outcome.
Second in line is adding layers of flavor. Lemon zest, you’re thinking? No, you’re wrong (sorry, Buttercup). Not every single sweet needs lemon zest, as much as not every baked good needs vanilla extract and not every savory dish needs black pepper.
A beautiful touch of late summer nights in the endless fields of the Provence on the other hand? Now you’re right, a hint of lavender is just what this recipe for blueberry muffins needed to take it from good to absolutely scrumptious.
We grow this fresh lavender in our garden, but I used dried food grade lavender for them muffins. Chopped, then rubbed into the sugar will not only make the most of its flavor while baking, but also give your fingers a delicate hint of southern France.
Note that the flavor of the lavender is more prominent once the muffins have had the chance to cool completely and it is even stronger the next day.
The third trait of a good blueberry muffin is a soft yet crumbly interior. The blueberries should evenly speckle the batter, which you achieve by making the same quite thick and sturdy. That way it can support the weight of the berries and carry some of the moisture they release during baking.
Use fresh berries (frozen ones are notoriously good at turning your pale-yellowish muffin batter into a grey mass), dry them off well and optionally toss them in flour before folding into the batter.
Tossing them in flour will result in the most beautiful interior, not tossing them will allow more blueberry juice to flow into the muffin and create almost custard-like pockets (which is my personal preference in blueberry muffins only, but I want to encourage you to try both ways and decide for yourself).
Finally, the dome. Oh, the much coveted dome. It is, actually, not too hard to achieve a nicely rounded top that doesn’t overflow. You’ll set your oven to a temperature seemingly way too hot for something as small as a muffin.
You will fill your muffin cups up so high you’ll curse me in advance for ruining your oven (though do place your muffin tin on a lined baking sheet, just in case).
Then you’ll drop your oven temperature to 400°F, give the muffins a handful of minutes in the heat, drop the temperature to 360° and watch them grow into the most beautiful hills of soft and crumbly goodness, marbled with the purple juices of the plump berries.
Now you’re facing two options: Either let them cool completely before removing them from their liners, otherwise they’ll stick and you’ll end up wasting half of your lovingly coveted muffins.
Or throw all caution into the wind, grab a spoon and eat your muffin right out of the cup as you would a mug cake – though I cannot promise you won’t polish off the entire batch by yourself that way.
Because this, my friend? This is the only recipe for blueberry muffins you’ll ever need – truly.
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For the Streusel
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 cup cold butter (cut into smallish chunks)
For the Muffins
- 1/3 cup melted coconut oil or butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup regular yogurt
- 1 teaspoon lavender (chopped)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup fresh blueberries ((optionally tossed in a tablespoon of flour))
Make the Streusel
- Place all ingredients in a medium bowl and rub together with your fingertips until crumbs form. Refrigerate.
Make the Muffins
- Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners. Preheat the oven to 425°F (yes, really).
- Whisk together all wet ingredients.
- Rub the chopped lavender into the sugar in a separate large bowl, then whisk together with the remaining dry ingredients.
- Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined - a few lumps are fine. I generally try to not add more than 20 strokes, but that might just be part of my OCD tendencies.
- Fold the blueberries into the batter and evenly divide between the muffin cups (this is ridiculously easy with a cookie scoop, I wish I had found out about this roughly 26 years ago).
- Sprinkle the muffin batter with the chilled streusel, then reduce the oven temperature to 400°F.
- Place the muffin tin on a lined baking sheet (in case any dripping occurs) and bake the muffins for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 360°F and finish baking for around 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the muffin tin for 5 minutes, then remove on a wire rack to cool completely.