Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Blue


Joni Mitchell wrote a melancholy song called, "Blue" that comes into my head every so often. The lyrics don't reach out to me - I don't relate to them, but the way she sings the word, 'Blue,' gets to me. The notes of that one word travel up, down and back again. A one syllable journey. The lyrics keep going, but they don't matter - I am still stuck on 'Blue'.

Blue things - eyes, skies, seas - are romanticized, but the blue on my mind right now is the berry. More specifically, the blueberry muffin. Second only to the heavenly cinnamon roll, a blueberry muffin reminds me so much of being a little girl. My mom used to work in the Coco's bakery in Carlsbad when I was six or seven, and after her shift, she would bring me home a blueberry muffin if there were any leftover from the breakfast rush. We didn't have much of anything at the time, making that muffin all the more extraordinary.


I searched a long time for the perfect blueberry muffin recipe - tender, sweet but not overly so, piled with plump, slightly tangy berries, even more delicious the day after they are baked. I've got some high standards for this muffin - anything from childhood memory has to be just so to be right. This recipe is just so right.

Here is my best blueberry muffin recipe - I have adapted my recipe from the one in Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook.


Makes 1 dozen
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-2 cups frozen blueberries
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a muffin pan with cooking spray, or use paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Working over the bowl, toss blueberries in a fine sieve with about 1 1/2 teaspoons flour mixture to lightly coat; set aside the flour mixture and the blueberries.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using a handheld mixer, beat butter and 1 cup sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined. Mix in vanilla.

With the mixer on low speed, add reserved flour mixture, beating until just combined. Add buttermilk, beating until just combined. Do not overmix. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the blueberries. Divide batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups.

Bake until muffins are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center of one muffin comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool 10 minutes. Turn muffins on their sides in their cups, and let cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.



2 comments:

Patricia said...

Haven't had a blueberry muffin in ages but now I'm inspired. As soon as the weather cools off I'm turning on the oven. Thanks for your inspired thoughts as well as recipes.

Ashley said...

Sounds delicious! I'm off to my dad's tomorrow; I think I'll make them whilst I'm there. Love you. xo