Recipe for Mixed-up Blueberry Streusel Muffins below.
This morning the dear husband asked for blueberry muffins- with crumb topping. I’ve been talking about making blueberry muffins for weeks now and yet still hadn’t bought All-Purpose (AP) flour. I’ve gluten-free flours (chickpea, almond, hazelnut, and GF-AP) in the cabinets but I’ve not experimented with them for muffins. And, really, while K enjoys some of my GF cooking (e.g., my inside-out cookies), he’s not a GF fan in general.
So, I thought I’d take the easy route and go with a gluten-loaded muffin recipe because, at the very least, I have bread flour for making challah. Somewhere along my food blog travels I’d read about using bread flour for muffins… so a quick Google search and voila!
There actually weren’t a ton of options…but I did like what I saw at ChewNibbleNosh but, as we didn’t have some of the grocery list, decided to adapt. And, hell, it’s what I seem to do with recipes.
I sat down and thought about level of sweetness and sugar ratios (brown and white) as well as liquids to substitute for freshly squeezed orange juice. I went with sour cream and vanilla because I’m not a huge citrus-muffin fan. And, thus, I wrote out the recipe.
I pulled out three glass mixing bowls (for dry ingredients, wet ingredients, and streusel ingredients) and gathered all of the necessary food stuffs. I measured them out into their respective bowls, snapped a picture or two for food-blogging posterity, set the streusel topping aside, and began to fold the wet mixture into the dry mixture. And, well, it didn’t look quite right. In fact, it looked terrible. The mixture was crumbly- not enough liquid.
I realized upon looking back at the original recipe that I’d completely overlooked the need for additional liquid (milk). Oy vey. Based on a few baking assumptions about fat and liquid ratios, I added more oil (3 Tbsp) and 1/2 cup of a “milk” mixture I created from half+half and water (so sue me, it’s all I had). I added the new liquids, completely aware that I was now over-mixing the batter (a sure pre-cursor to chewy baked goods). I took a deep breath, threw in the frozen blueberries, and scooped 12 muffins into the pan. A quick streusel topping addition later and they were in the oven for 28 minutes. I admit, I was anxious waiting for the muffins to arrive out of the oven. 1. I wanted to give my hubby a good breakfast, 2. I wanted to give myself a good breakfast, 3. I wanted to see how my recipe-adapting skills played out, and 4. I wanted to be “successful”. This last one is a bugaboo. I think every cook or baker wants to be successful. In general, our culture is driven toward success. I did have to remind myself that if the recipe didn’t turn out well, I could always start again, another day, with new knowledge to draw upon in my recipe adaptation.
And you know what? The muffins turned our perfectly. Moist, filled with juicy blueberries, slightly crumbly, sweet but not cloying. Yum. The bread flour does give a distinctive flavor- more savory than sweet. If you’re really a sweet tooth you could up the sugar, but I’d argue that the streusel topping takes care of it. Either way, these muffins are meant for enjoying warm and yet also hold up when cooled off. Heat up a cup of coffee, sit down with a good book, and try to enjoy just one. Believe me- I ate two for breakfast and also gifted two each to my upstairs neighbors who polished them off quickly and sent “Yum”-texts with a thank you!
So, what’s the lesson of the day? In the midst of it, things may not look like they’re going well and you may feel as though you’ve really mixed thinks up, but if we draw on the knowledge we have to adapt/experiment, look at the situation as an opportunity to learn, and enjoy the process, all will turn out well. Let’s see if I can adapt that lesson to other areas of my life 😉
- 2 1/4 cups bread flour*
- 1/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 6 tbsp canola oil
- 1/2 cup low-fat milk
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 2 eggs (room temperature)
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups blueberries (frozen)
- 1 Tbsp white sugar
- 2 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup + 1 heaped Tbsp flour (bread flour is fine for ease of baking…)
- 1/2 stick butter (melted)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Pull out three (glass) mixing bowls (small, medium, large).
- In the largest mixing bowl, measure out the muffin dry ingredients (*Note: Always spoon out flour into the cup measure; if you scoop the flour with the cup measure you’ll pack the flour and risk measuring out too much).
- At the same time, in the smallest mixing bowl, measure out the streusel topping dry ingredients. (Note: this is major a time-saver).
- Whisk together dry ingredients in each bowl. Set the streusel bowl aside.
- In the medium mixing bowl, measure out the muffin wet ingredients. Whisk together.
- Create a well in the muffin dry ingredients (in the large mixing bowl). You can do this by holding the tip of a spatula in the middle of the bowl at an angle and rotating the bowl clockwise. You should end up with the dry ingredients stacked along the edges of the bowl and a hole or “well” in the center. (See photo)
- Pour the wet ingredients into the well. Using a firm spatula or wooden spoon, mix ingredients together until just combined. (Note: DO NOT over-mix- this will over-activate the gluten and lead to chewy muffins. Over-mixing also messes with the amount of bubbles/carbon dioxide in the batter, which may cause the mix to bake unevenly and/or create more holes in the final product.)
- Add frozen blueberries- mix until just combined. (Note: Really, DO NOT over-mix unless you want purpley-grey batter. As you scoop out the muffin mix into the pans the blueberries will be distributed pretty evenly.)
- Dish mixture into greased 12-item muffin pan (I coated min with cooking spray for ease).
- Remember that streusel mix you set aside? Grab it now.
- Melt butter and add to dry streusel ingredients.
- Spoon a heaped teaspoonful of streusel onto each muffin. If there is extra, divide evenly over muffins.
- Place tray of muffins in oven and bake for 24-28 minutes, or until the muffins are turning golden and a sharp knife or cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean. (Note: If you’re using frozen blueberries, it’ll be closer to 28 minutes. If you’re using fresh blueberries, you’ll need less time.)
- Remove from oven. Cool in the pan for 2-5minutes (until you can touch them), then use a small spatula to remove muffins from tray. Place on a wire cooling rack. (Note: If you leave the muffins in the pan too long, the moisture from the cooling process will make the bottoms chewy).
- Serve warm (butter optional) and enjoy!
Finally, I found a fun Fine Cooking resource for bakers who like to adapt recipes but may turn out with less-than-fantastic products (Yup, I’ve been there). In the middle of the article, the author lays out common baking snafus and culprits.