A hint of lemon, a tang of buttermilk, and a little extra vanilla, add flavor to these berry season delights!
During blueberry season, there will be quite a few special dishes served up. However, blueberry muffins can be made all year long with the local treasures since the fruit freezes so easily.
I had a small container of fresh wild blueberries I got at the market. Precious! Half of them, I ate greedily since the taste was intense blueberry of my childhood. The other half cup I reserved to add as much flavor to my muffins as possible by crushing them and adding the to the batter. This is an old technique made popular by the Jordan Marsh department store in Boston, which offered some immensely popular muffins to the public before they closed. These muffins had almost a cult following!
In a pinch, frozen works too!
You can use frozen blueberries in this recipe, and you might be able to find wild Maine blueberries in the freezer section in your market.
The Jordan Marsh muffins used a blend of all purpose and pastry flour. I wanted to add another nod to nutrition by using white whole wheat flour. You can also use gluten-free baking mix in this recipe. To compensate for the heaviness of the whole grain flour, I swapped out 1/4 cup of the flour for cornstarch, and I sifted them all together, a technique my mom always used making scones to keep them tender.
I used the buttermilk because I had it on hand leftover from another recipe, but I’ll make the muffins the same way the next time, even if it means I’ll have buttermilk left over to use in yet another recipe…
I used buttermilk in this recipe because I had some left over from another dish! That was the reason, but it enhanced the flavor, so I’ll use it again. You can use plain milk, or milk mixed with yogurt or sour cream if you like to add a little tang. To make this dairy free, use 1 cup of plant milk of choice and add a tsp. of white vinegar.
You can also substitute any sweet summer berry of choice here.
Buttermilk Blueberry Muffins
- 2 1/2 cups blueberries, wild if you can find them
- 1 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. non-aluminum baking powder
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- Zest of one lemon
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 stick unsalted butter, or vegan butter, 4 ounces
- 2 large eggs
- Turbinado sugar to sprinkle on top
Line a 12-cup muffin tin with papers, or spray with neutral oil. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a medium bowl, sift the flour, cornstarch, salt, baking powder, and mix well.
In a liquid measuring cup, mix the buttermilk with lemon juice, zest, and vanilla extract, set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the butter with the sugar until well combined, then add the eggs, one at a time, and continue mixing until well blended.
With mixer on lowest, or by hand, gently mix in one third of the flour, followed by half the milk mixture, then half the remaining flour, the last of the milk, and the last of the flour. Stop beating and switch to a wooden spoon or spatula. You don’t want to activate the gluten in the flour, so the less mixing the better in muffins The batter will be very thick.
Mash 1/2 cup of the blueberries (this is where I used the wild ones) and combine with the rest of the berries.
Gently fold the berries into the batter just until they are well distributed.
Using an ice-cream scoop, fill the cups.
Sprinkle the turbinado on top. You can also use white sugar.
Bake for 30 minutes and check. A toothpick should come out clean, unless you hit a blueberry, in which case it will come out blue. The muffins should be firm to the touch, browned, and the house should smell really good. They may need an additional five minutes.
Let cool a few minutes, then loosen gently and place on a wire rack. It is essential to remove them from the pan or they will continue to cook from the heat of the tin.
Let cool completely. This is the most difficult part of the recipe, but if you don’t let them cool, the wrapper will be difficult to remove, and they need time to firm up!
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