Friday, August 22, 2014

Blueberry Muffins

I realized I had never posted this recipe. It is one of my favorites. 

This recipe originally came from America's Test Kitchen, but I have changed quite a few things:
1. I reduce the sugar
2. I use all or mostly whole wheat flour
3. I use applesauce instead of oil
4. I add almond extract and almonds to the batter and an almond sugar topping (which is one of the alternative recipes they suggest, but the original has a lemon topping - I have never made them with lemon). We had blueberry almond muffins on our honeymoon and they have been a favorite of mine ever since. I have tried so many recipes to find one that was as good as the one our bed and breakfast made.  These, in their non-healthy version, come close. :) But we really like the healthy version too. 

Almond Sugar Topping:
1/3 c. Finely ground almonds
4 tsp. sugar (the larger grain sugar is better, but I never have it and just use normal sugar)

I throw 2/3c almonds in my mini food processed and grind them up. You can see I leave some larger chunks in the pictures. Half of these nuts go into the flour mixture and half of them are for the topping. I don't ever measure, but I do usually dump a bit more of the nuts into the flour.  I have found that too much topping falls off the muffins. So I err on the side of less topping. 

Mix together almonds and sugar. Set aside for later. 

2 cups blueberries
1-1/8 cup sugar (I use 3/4 c) plus 1 tsp. 
2-1/2 cup flour (I usually do half or all whole wheat, I have never made them with all white flour) 
1/3 cup finely ground almonds
2-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
4 T butter melted
1/4 cup veggie oil (I use applesauce)
1 cup buttermilk or 3/4 c yogurt + 1/4 c milk
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract (optional, I have made these without this and they are still delicious)

*preheat oven to 425 degrees. 

**if they sold almond extract as a perfume, I might wear it. I wish there was an almond extract candle that smelled just like almond extract. 

1. Put 1 cup blueberries and 1 tsp sugar in saucepan and cook until it has thickened. I start mine at the beginning of my recipe and then do all the other things. By the time I am finished with the muffins and need these blueberries, they are cooked. You are trying to make a semi-jam. They tried using jam, but it was too sweet, so they made their own. Smash the blueberries and stir them every so often. 

2. Whisk together dry ingredients, flour, finely chopped almonds, baking soda, and salt. 

3. Whisk together sugar and eggs for about a minute. Add the applesauce and melted butter. Stir. Add the yogurt/buttermilk and vanilla and almond extract. Stir. 

4. Fold the blueberries and liquid mixture into the flour until just combined. You want it to be slightly lumpy and have streaks of flour.  Portion into a greased muffin pan. I usually use an extra container to make one more muffin; maybe my muffin tins are smaller than normal, but I seem to have too much batter. The batter is very thick. 

5. Take the blueberry jam mixture that has reduced as thickened in the stove and put a teaspoon on each muffin. Take a table knife or toothpick and swirl the blueberries into the batter. 
Sprinkle the almond and sugar topping on each muffin. 

6. Bake for 17-19 minutes. Cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes. Remove to cooking rack. 

Even Martin loves muffins because they begin with M, which is also his letter. Actually, he just loves toys that I only pull out every so often. :) Rotate your toys; it is the best. 

He also seems to enjoy playing with the bag I made to hold the blocks. Whatever is clever, as my brother would say. 

This morning I let him play with different size cups and bowls of water while I baked.  He dumped it all over the kitchen floor, hence, the lack of shirt in these pictures. But that is what towels are for. 

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