Monday, July 25, 2011

A late summer breakfast treat.

Lately, the grocery store has had a steady supply of blueberries. Blueberries are a fantastic late summer fruit (or early summer, if you live farther south) and I love them. Although lately branded a "super fruit" for their nutritional value, their versatility in cooking cannot be denied. From pies and pancakes to muffins, sauces, salads, etc. picking up a couple of containers this time of year when their fresh and inexpensive is never a bad idea.

I found myself with a few containers this week and when I stumbled across a recipe for blueberry cornbread muffins I knew they had to be made. Although we both love muffins, Jared is quite fond of cornbread and with all of my birthday and holiday baking I often overlook making him this favorite treat. However, this recipe had a few problems: 1. It called for pastry rings and making 6 gigantic muffins 2. it did not include salt. The pastry rings, I simply don't have but the salt? Whether you prefer your cornbread from North or South of the Mason-Dixon line, it needs at least a little salt.

These muffins are delicious for breakfast or an afternoon snack. They aren't a dainty, cakey muffin but they are far from dense. Serve them with a cup of coffee or a tall glass of cold milk.

Blueberry Corn Muffins
Adapted from Martha Stewart

Note: If you're like me and sometimes forget to soften the butter until just before you're ready to bake, just put the cold butter in a large zip-lock bag or between 2 big sheets of parchment paper and pound it with your rolling pin until softened. This should take just a few minutes, which is definitely faster than letting it come to room temperature.

Another note: I always sprinkle my baked goods with turbinado sugar (like Sugar in the Raw) but you can always use table sugar. Turbinado sugar is crunchier and adds a nice sparkle that I prefer.

Makes 24 muffins

1 cup (2 sticks) plus 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
3 tablespoons honey
2 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/2 cup milk
1 cup blueberries, washed, dried and picked through for stems

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line 2 standard muffin tins with paper liners.

2. Place butter, sugar, and honey in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. On medium-high, beat until light and fluffy (about 4 minutes). Add eggs one at a time, beating each until incorporated.

3. Whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. With the mixer on low, add to the butter mixture and beat until just combined. It will look shaggy for a bit, but comes together soon after. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the milk, beating until just combined. Fold in the blueberries.

4. Divide the batter evenly among 24 muffin cups; they should be almost full. Sprinkle the tops with sugar. Bake until the tops are browned and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 22-25 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Let the muffins cool in the pans on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove from the pan to cool completely on the rack.

To store, place the muffins in a container with a tight-fitting lid.

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