I am now the proud owner of not one, but two muffins tins! And the best part? They’re mini-muffin pans, each making just six healthy-sized muffins, which is perfect for my pint-sized New York City oven. For those of you who might remember the last time I tried to make muffins, this is a huge upgrade in my baking life.
Another upgrade in my baking life came last Saturday, when I treated my mom to a baking class at ICE as a Mother’s Day gift. Baking has always been something my mom and I have bonded over, and is really a part of our hearts and souls. Together we’ve spent so many hours, usually during the holidays, using our old hand-mixers to beat cookie and cake batter (KitchenAids take a lot of the fun out of baking, if you ask me), rolling out dough, baking tray upon tray of cookies, teaching my three-year-old cousin how to frost and decorate a Santa cookie with sprinkles… Yes, baking with my mom has always held a special place in my heart.
And now it’s obvious where I get my determined and serious cooking facial expressions from!
At ICE we learned just how easy it is to whip up homemade muffins, scones, and biscuits from scratch. In this case, we did have a KitchenAid mixer helping us out. But I wasn’t the least bit disappointed because this meant that our team of two was able to whip up five different confections in just over three hours!! It didn’t really all sink in until after the class had ended and we reflected on our haul…
Buttermilk cheddar biscuits, oatmeal raisin scones, bran muffins, lemon raspberry muffins and blueberry crumble muffins, oh my! In my head I was running a roster of all the people I could unload these baked goods on, and immediately put a box together for Cara.
My absolute favorite of the day were these blueberry crumble muffins. As a kid, I used to love blueberry crumb muffins – in fact, I loved crumb everything, and coffee cake was often my number one choice for dessert! Anyone remember those cute little two-packs of Hostess coffee cakes? I ate those things like crazy when I was a little kid (I think this constant supply of sugar probably explained a lot of my childhood hyperness, come to think of it). And blueberry crumb muffins will always remind me of long family road trips, where we’d stop at the bagel shop before hitting the road and I would get a blueberry crumb muffin with an OJ for the ride. The preferred method of eating would be to pick off each crumb one at a time, enjoying those first before devouring the soft, fluffy, tangy muffin.
These muffins were just like the ones of my childhood! The crumble on top is slightly crunchy, loaded with cinnamon and melt-in-your-mouth perfect. The muffins themselves are cake-like and airy, with sweet-sour just cooked blueberries studded throughout. We used fresh blueberries in these, which I’d highly recommend doing, but you could also use frozen ones – just don’t defrost them before adding to the batter, or berries will turn to mush.
The best thing about this muffin recipe? It’s totally adaptable. Take out the blueberries, and throw in any other fruit you like! We made a variation that used the same muffin base, but added fresh raspberries, lemon zest and a touch of lemon juice. You could also toss in chocolate chips, or bananas and walnut, or spruce up the crumb topping by using brown sugar instead of white. With this recipe in your pocket, the world is your muffin, so to speak! I look forward to hearing about how other readers have personalized this recipe to recreate their own favorite muffin
Blueberry Crumble Muffins – Makes 14 to 16 muffins
Adapted from Jordan Marsh’s Blueberry Muffins, originally from the NYTimes
For the muffins, you’ll need:
- 8 T (1 stick) of soft unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups of sugar, plus extra for sprinkling on top if you desire
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup buttermilk or milk
- 2 cups of all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 pint of fresh blueberries, rinsed, drained and dried
- A muffin pan and paper liners
Plus this stuff for the crumble:
- 8 T (1 stick) of unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees.
Cream the butter and sugar together by hand or with an electric mixer until light and airy. Beat in the eggs one at a time until smooth. Separately, combine the flour and baking powder. Then add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter/sugar mixture, alternating with the buttermilk and stirring to combine after each addition.
Fold in the whole blueberries (you can crush half of them before adding if desired, but we opted not too). Spoon the batter into the muffin tin, filling each cup about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way full.
Make a quick crumble topping by melting the butter in a bowl, and then adding the remaining ingredients and combining. Let the mixture set for a minute, than break into large crumbs by hand and sprinkle over the muffin batter.
Bake muffins for about 30 minutes, until well risen and deep golden. Cool muffins in pan before removing.
PS – For those of you who are interested in learning how to bake, or cook anything for that matter, the Institute of Culinary Education has nearly infinite options when it comes to recreational cooking and baking classes. It was here that I first took a Techniques of Italian Cooking class and solidified my passion for pursuing cooking as a career. No matter what your interest, skill level or availability, there’s an ICE class for you – check out their website to sign up for a class today!