Cook on a Whim: Blueberry Streusel Muffins

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Blueberry streusel muffins. Photo by Anita Parris Soule. Courtesy Cook on a Whim.

Spring is in the air and just around the corner — and, with it, the promise of fresh produce and lots of beautiful berries. This recipe is one of my favorite ways to use up all the blueberries we will soon be finding at the local markets.

I don’t remember eating a lot of muffins in my youth. My dad was a fabulous cook, and a very good baker, but muffins weren’t something he made. I didn’t really start making them until my son was a toddler.

Without a doubt, I’ve made banana muffins more than any other flavor, just because I always have a few overripe bananas hiding in the bottom of the fruit bowl. While I love banana muffins, it’s fun to switch it up, and these blueberry streusel muffins are always a hit.

Jason and I have four sons between us, so this is an educated statement and a proven fact in our house: boys love blueberries. My husband, our four boys, my dad, my grandfather … they all love (or loved) blueberry anything. I once read an article that reported a study showing that blueberry pie was, hands down, the most popular pie flavor among males.

Have you ever heard of the old-fashioned dessert “Blueberry Boy Bait”? I rest my case. Just a funny little fact.

Now, having written all of that, I have to tell you that the ladies in your life will surely love these too. I know I do. My daughter is more of a banana muffin fan, but I’m working on her.

A few muffin tips:

  • I know I sound like a broken record, but I will never stop telling you this: Do not, I repeat, DO NOT overmix your batter. Lumps are good. Even itty-bitty bits of flour still showing is fine. Muffin batter should be lumpy and ugly. Your self-restraint will be rewarded when you bite into a tender, fluffy muffin. If you overmix, you will have a tough, dense, heavy muffin.
  • There are all kinds of tips and tricks on how to get the tallest, most domed muffin tops. I’m not a fan of starting at a higher temp and then lowering. I like to just toss them in the oven and walk away. My trick? Let your batter sit for 20 minutes once you scoop it into the pans. This allows the baking powder to start doing its magic. Use this time to scurry around and clean up the mess you’ve just made.
  • My last tip: Don’t overbake your muffins. I err on the side of underdone, as they will have a little bit of carry-over cooking. Around the 15-minute mark, press the tops just lightly with your finger. If they spring back, they are done. If they leave an indentation, give them another minute or so. You can also check with a toothpick. Just insert — if you see a few moist crumbs, they are done. If you see wet batter, give them a little more time.

Blueberry Streusel Muffins

Ingredients 

For muffins:

2 cups flour

1/2 cup  white sugar

1/4 cup  brown sugar

1 tablespoon  baking powder

1/2 teaspoon  salt

1/2 cup  (1 stick) melted butter

2  eggs

3/4 cup  milk

2 teaspoons  vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

For the streusel:

1/4 cup  flour

1/4 cup  brown sugar

4 tablespoons butter

Instructions 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. Alternatively, you could spray the tin with nonstick spray — or butter very generously and flour (like making a cake).

For the streusel:

Combine streusel ingredients in a small bowl and pinch together until you have a cohesive, crumbly mixture. Set aside.

For the muffins:

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugars, baking powder and salt. Mix to combine and break up any brown sugar clumps. Melt butter, either in microwave or on the stovetop, and add to a bowl or a large, spouted measuring cup. Whisk in milk, eggs and vanilla until thoroughly combined.

Pour this wet mixture into the dry ingredients. With a wooden spoon or rubber/silicone spatula, mix until almost combined but with a few streaks of flour visible. Add blueberries and gently fold in until combined and no more flour remains. Do not overmix. Some lumps and bumps are good here, and you don’t want to break the berries.

Divide batter evenly between 12 muffin tins. Divide streusel evenly on top of muffin batter and press down very gently to make sure it sticks. If desired, add a few blueberries to the tops of the muffins and press down just slightly.

Allow batter to sit for 20 minutes at room temperature before baking in preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes.

Note 

As noted above, do not overmix your batter. The best muffins are the result of gentle mixing and a very lumpy, ugly batter. Restraint is your friend here.

Photo by Anita Parris Soule. Courtesy Cook on a Whim.
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