Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Blueberry Muffins

Cervantes once said that "all sorrows are less with bread." What he neglected to add was that all sorrows are even less with blueberry muffins. Sure, bread is lovely, but muffins... warm, moist, a little crumbly, soft with sweetness and spilling with the dark mystery of blueberries... If I may be so bold to interpret the great writer, these little cakes transcend the prosaic. In fact, I hesitate to even call them muffins -- next time, they will be reincarnated as wee little bundt cakes and we will all be much, much happier.

I'm not really sure when my love affair with muffins began. I think it was in high school when the most wonderful bakery opened a few blocks away from my house. One of the chief attractions of this place (besides the absolutely mind-boggling array of muffins -- strawberry, rhubarb, blueberry with streusel top, be still my heart) was the management's penchant for hiring hot bakery boys. This was top notch marketing because after school and on weekends, the shop was crammed with giggling and blushing 16-yr old girls hoping for a glance from the dreamy muffin-dispensing staff. My best friend and I, of course, were too cool for anything but dignified hair-flips at these silly creatures (the girls), but in secret, we had crushes on all the boys who worked there and referred to them (with much creativity) as "Bakery Boy 1, 2 and 3" respectively. Sure, it all seems funny now, but imagine Christian Bale or George Clooney or Antonio Sabato Jr. (google him, just trust me on this one) offering you himself *and* a hot, buttery muffin for dessert? I'm sure there is a way for life to get better than that, but I can't think of one right now.

Blueberry Muffins/Cakes
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream and 1/2 cup whole milk*
(*OR just 1 cup sour cream)
8-11 oz blueberries
1/4 cup slivered almonds for topping

Preheat oven to 350. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and 1 cup of sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, until well blended. Stir in vanilla.

In a separate bowl, whisk together baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add half of the flour mixture to the creamed butter and mix until incorporated. Then, add the sour cream and milk. Mix until incorporated, scraping down the bowl. Add the rest of the flour mixture.

In a separate bowl, mix the blueberries with the 1/4 cup of sugar. Gently fold the blueberries into the batter so that the berries do not break.

Spoon into a muffin pan, either greased or lined with muffin cups, or into a greased mini-bund-cake pan. If making muffins, top with a pinch of slivered almonds.

Bake for about 20-22 minutes or until the tops of the muffins are golden and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the muffin comes out clean. Enjoy with your favorite bakery boy a cup of hot tea.


Linnea Eileen said...

Yum! Did you use fresh or frozen/defrosted blueberries?

Cannelle Et Vanille said...

i love that you started quoting cervantes! i can never get enough of any kind of muffin, especially blueberry!

Irene said...

Linnea, I use fresh blueberries when possible. They just taste so much better to me!

Aran, I love the nuances of Cervantes. :)

Heather B said...

I love blueberry muffins! Yours look packed with juicy berries! yum!

Linnea Eileen said...

Thanks for the clarification!

Jessy and her dog Winnie said...

That looks delicious! I love the sprinkled almonds on top!

Anonymous said...

Oh my, that looks delicious. Specially hot out of the oven. And for the record, I was a fan of Bakery boy 1!

Irene said...

Heh heh, he *was* The Original! :)

Jessy, as you can tell from the pictures, I tried with almonds and without almonds, and, like you, loved the "with" version. My next mission, should I choose to accept it, is the perfect lemon-poppyseed muffin. *Cue theme song* :D

Anonymous said...

OMG, these are muffins with a buried treasure of blueberries in the middle! I want to be a muffin pirate and steal it all away from you!