Blueberry Muffins

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January probably isn’t the time of year you think of for blueberry muffins, but for some reason the idea of making them has been stuck in my head all weekend. Maybe it’s because I just spent a long time at home and they remind me of walking to the bakery when I was little to get a “Boo Boo Muffin”, or maybe it’s just because blueberries were on sale at A&P earlier this week so they stood out to me. Either way, I decided to make them to bring to work tomorrow, since we have a faculty meeting and that usually means the staff room could use a bit of a morale booster.

The recipe I have is called “Cable Blueberry Muffins”. When my mom was redoing her kitchen a long time ago, I agreed to copy all of the recipes in her recipe box onto new cards so they’d be easy to find. I painstakingly went through the recipe cards, magazine clippings, and scraps of paper to make sure I didn’t miss anything, and this was one of the ones clipped out of a newspaper at some point, on a page with maybe three other recipes. I assumed it must be important if my mom had it in her special box, so I asked about it later, thinking they must be the best blueberry muffins ever, but she said she’d never heard of Cable Blueberry Muffins. Oh well.

Anyways, I apparently also at some later date copied it onto an index card for myself, and when I was cleaning my apartment yesterday, it was miraculously sitting on top of a pile of cookbooks as if it knew I was making blueberry muffins this weekend. So I used it.

First, separate the egg whites and yolks, and put the egg whites in a small bowl. Beat them with a hand mixer on medium speed, and add 1/4 cup of sugar, continuing to beat until foamy.

 

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In a large bowl, cream the butter using a hand mixer on medium speed.

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Add the vanilla, remaining 3/4 cup sugar, and egg yolks to the butter and beat until smooth.

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In a medium bowl (I realize that you will likely use your entire set of bowls to make this recipe – it’s kind of satisfying when that happens despite the extra clean up), combine the flour and baking powder.

 

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Alternate adding the flour mixture and milk to the main batter mixture (that’s the one with the butter in the large bowl), beating after each addition until completely combined.

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Fold in the blueberries. I have one spatula that’s considerably sturdier than my other one, and I use it almost exclusively to fold things in. Definitely worth investing in.

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Finally, fold in the egg whites, again using your sturdy spatula.

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Spoon the batter evenly between 12 lined muffin tins. They will be about 3/4 full.

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Bake at 350°F for 20 to 30 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

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Allow to cool slightly in the pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool further.

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Obviously, blueberry muffins are best enjoyed warm with a hefty pat of butter. However, they will also keep for a couple days at room temperature if you store them in an airtight container. Alternatively, if you want to always have emergency blueberry muffins on hand, they freeze and thaw pretty well, too.

Enjoy!

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Blueberry Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries

Directions:

  1. Beat the egg whites in a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup sugar and beat until foamy. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, use a hand mixer on medium speed to cream the butter. Add the vanilla, remaining 3/4 cup sugar and egg yolks and beat until smooth.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder.
  4. Add the flour mixture and milk in alternating portions to the main batter, beating after each addition until completely combined.
  5. Fold in the blueberries using a rubber spatula.
  6. Fold in the egg whites.
  7. Spoon batter evenly among 12 lined muffin tins. Bake at 350°F for 20-30 minutes or until edges are golden. Remove to wire rack to cool.

Lemon Blueberry Ricotta Cookies

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Do not despair, my loyal followers, I’m back.  I’m sorry for not giving you a sugar fix last weekend, but in all honesty I did try.  I had this whole grand plan in place.  I was going to post a picture like this:

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of my mom and me in Chicago at that awesome bean thing.  I was going to write:

Happy Memorial Day! SMiLes by Meg will return next weekend!”

and then, so you didn’t feel completely deprived, I was going to assure you of my sweets consumption and the quality of my future posts by giving you this picture as well:

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But, alas, it was not meant to be.  Wordpress does in fact have a mobile app, so I thought I was in the clear, but whenever I tried to post a picture it just showed me a link to the picture, not the picture itself.  It may have worked, but I didn’t want to risk the integrity of my blog.  I figured it would be better to skip a week then post with the promise of pictures that didn’t show up.

So again, I apologize.  Now we can move forward.

This weekend, I had the privilege of being invited to a birthday party of a friend at work.  Naturally, I wanted to bake something.  However, she can’t eat gluten, which caused me to turn to my aunt Beth, also a celiac, for advice.  Beth sent me this great recipe for lemon ricotta cookies, which I decided would go nicely with blueberries in them.  They are very cakey in consistency, sort of like the Half Moon Cookies I’ve made before, and actually would make a really good gluten free substitute in that recipe as well (just leave out the blueberries and lemon).

Additionally, you could probably make some pretty awesome mini cupcakes without altering the ratios of ingredients – just lower the heat on the oven and bake them a little longer.  Some lemon meringue frosting would make them perfect.

Anyways, back to the cookies.  First, cream the butter in a large bowl using a hand mixer.

 

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Then, add the sugar and continue to beat until well creamed.

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Next, add the ricotta, eggs, and vanilla extract.  I was very excited when I realized I’d get to try my new toy: a kitchen scale.

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I measured out 8 oz of the ricotta into a bowl, and was good to go!

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Expect some of my recipes in the future to start to show up in weights – I’ve had a cookbook for well over 2 years now that I haven’t been able to use because I didn’t have a scale.  There are tons of recipes in it I’ve been dying to try.  And in my perfectionist quest, it is supposed to be more accurate.

Once you’ve got everything creamed, add the lemon zest and beat.

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It’s entirely possible I had more lemon zest on my hands from trying to get it off the grater than actually made it into the recipe, but it’s the thought that counts, right?

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In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond flour, gluten free flour, baking powder, and baking soda.

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Beth, the gluten-free expert, recommended King Arthur gluten free flour, but my local A&P did not have the most extensive selection, so I had to use the Bob Red Mills, even though she expressly recommended against it (sorry, Beth!).

Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and mix until combined.

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Now, here’s a little secret when you’re baking with blueberries: freeze them before you mix them into something.  Unless you are making something where you want them to get mushy and smear the batter, freezing them in advance will help them keep their shape and texture a little better.  I put a cup in the freezer early this morning while I prepared everything else.  Then, when I was ready to stir them into the mix, I pulled them out.

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Line the baking sheet with parchment paper and drop by the teaspoon onto the sheet.  The cookies will spread, so don’t put them too close together.

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Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes, until edges are slightly golden.  Allow to cool 5 minutes on the sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Another suggestion: if you want to use chocolate chips instead of blueberries, I’d recommend either swapping the lemon zest for orange zest or leaving out the fruits altogether.  I know fruit desserts aren’t everyone’s thing (frankly, they usually aren’t mine), so I won’t be offended by that modification.

Enjoy!

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Lemon Blueberry Ricotta Cookies

   Ingredients:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 pound ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest from one lemon
  • 1 1/4 cups almond flour
  • 1 cup gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries, frozen

Directions:

  1. Cream butter in a large bowl.  Add sugar and cream together.  Add ricotta, egg, and vanilla and beat until blended.
  2. Add lemon zest and beat until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together almond flour, gluten free flour, baking powder and baking soda.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until combined.
  5. Stir in frozen blueberries.
  6. Drop by rounded teaspoon on parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
  7. Cool for 5 minutes on sheet before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.