Sunday, June 21, 2015
My father loved carbohydrates. I think this as I dunk some of my blueberry muffin in my coffee the way he would. The tender, warm muffin tears, releasing a summary of our lives at The Lake: Blueberry picking; the plop of each berry in the large, old metal pot with a thin handle that swung like a bucket; the cobbler mom made in the electric skillet; dad’s deliberate footsteps on the floorboards. Him dunking a wedge of muffin in his coffee, leaning in to catch the drenched sweet in his mouth before it fell to the table. The piece of white silver birthday cake placed on the plate so the icing fell to the right or was it the left? So he could approach it handily. He was left-handed. He attacked the remaining cake batter with a spoon, controlling the silence with every lick of the lips—his fix, his salvation. Now it is my turn.
BEST BLUEBERRY MUFFINS
Using the “Mostly Muffins” book (St. Martin’s Press, 1984), I turned to the blueberry muffins recipe as the foundation; I found when I substituted part of the sugar for brown sugar, the muffins turned out wonderfully moist with a hint of nuttiness that went beyond the walnuts’ inclusion. Enjoy warm out of the oven; they freeze well and make an excellent
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (preferably not quick oats)
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups fresh or thawed, drained frozen berries*
1/2 cup walnut pieces
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease or coat with vegetable spray six large muffin cups.
In a large bowl, stir together flour, oats, 1/2 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, stir together milk, butter, egg and vanilla until well blended. Make well in center of dry ingredients. Add milk mixture and stir slightly. Mash 1/4 cup of the blueberries and add to batter, folding just to combine. Add rest of whole blueberries and walnut pieces with just a few quick strokes. (It’s important not to over-mix muffins, as they will become tough.)
Spoon batter into prepared muffin tins until nearly full and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake in middle oven rack for 20 to 25 minutes or until top of muffin springs back when lightly touched and they are slightly golden brown.
Place muffin tin on wire rack and cool 5 minutes before removing muffins; remove muffins and finish cooling on rack. Serve warm or cool completely and wrap snugly in aluminum foil and freeze.
To reheat in the microwave, take muffin out of foil and place on plate in center of microwave. Heat 1 to 2 minutes, reposition muffin and microwave until completely warmed. In oven, heat frozen muffins at 350 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes.
*For frozen blueberries, use one 16-ounce bag, thawed and drained.