Monday, January 28, 2013

brown butter blueberry muffins

I have to wake up at the crack of dawn tomorrow morning to job-shadow my orthodontist. I can recall being quite excited when he agreed to my proposition, but the lazy, whiny baby in me is beginning to regret sacrificing an entire morning for it.

On a brighter note, with a bunch of berries back inside my refrigerator and a multitude of hours to spare, I took to baking with blueberries once again this afternoon and experimented with a failsafe recipe from the Williams-Sonoma baking cookbook. (I consider anything published inside a cookbook to be "failsafe".)

In place of 1 stick of butter, melted, I substituted 1 stick of butter, browned, and I've never browned butter before but it seemed fairly straightforward and bakers across the blogosphere have been raving about its effects. I've never thought to use brown butter until now, and since I've never tried these muffins without brown butter, I can't vouch for how much it enhances a recipe.

But I can and will vouch for these blueberry muffins. The result is moist and chewy, very soft and plush and it holds its shape. Each muffin has a wealth of blueberries and the best part, in my humble opinion, is that the top of the muffin isn't sticky or greasy at all. It's almost like a cupcake, but more dense and thick and hearty.

The recipe I'm about to post below contains 1/4 tsp cinnamon more than the original cookbook's recipe, because I'm a cinnamon-lover and there will rarely come a time when I do not add cinnamon where it is allowable.

Blueberry muffins are just so classic. These ones are sweet, buttery and spiced, and sister bird, who, as a rule, only ever eats one of anything I make, had two. I think that's a fair testament to how much my family loved these muffins. Mother bird was impressed with the texture, but her all-time favourite muffin is Second Cup's maple walnut muffin, which I'm hoping to try to replicate in our kitchen once I get my hands on some walnuts!

I find that these taste absolutely wonderful once they're cooled and rested for a couple of hours. Then again, I don't care much for hot or molten blueberries, so I prefer them when they're just a little cold and chewy. It's been nearly five hours since the blueberries came out of the oven, and they've been sitting on a plate, covered, at the breakfast table ever since, and they're still nicely soft and moist.


(yielded 12 large muffins)

muffin ingredients -
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, or 2 cups + 2 tbsp cake flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, browned
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup blueberries (heaping or scant, to your preference)

directions -
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and either grease a muffin pan or line with liners.
  2. In a bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk.
  4. Brown the butter. (Whisk over medium heat until butter turns amber in colour, then remove from heat and continue whisking for approximately thirty seconds.) Immediately add it to the milk and eggs mixture from Step 3 - (it will foam!) - and combine.
  5. Add the combined dry ingredients from Step 2 into the browned butter mixture from Step 4 and stir until just blended.
  6. Fold in the blueberries until incorporated.
  7. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pans, filling each cup about three-fourths full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.
  8. Let them cool in the pans for 3-5 minutes, then remove. 

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