Wild Thistle Kitchen: Cardamom-Spiced Blueberry Jam Muffins


These cardamom-spiced blueberry jam muffins are out-of-this-world good. If you’ve never swirled jam into muffin batter, what are you waiting for? You must do it. It’s about the easiest way to add fruity flavor all year long, especially in the dead of winter when it seems like there’s no such thing as fresh, in-season fruit.

This recipe was born out of my desire to create a cardamom-scented muffin. It is such an intriguing, unique spice and I had a jar sitting in my pantry begging to be used. Did you know cardamom is the world’s third most expensive spice? Vanilla and saffron come in first and second (interesting little food nerd fact).

Anyway, blueberries were an obvious choice. Cardamom somehow makes blueberries taste more like blueberries while also adding an exotic, citrus-y note. But a little goes a long way, so don’t be heavy-handed. I found ⅛ teaspoon to be just right in the muffin batter and echoed in the jam and glaze.

I wasn’t sure how my kids would feel about the spice, but judging by the way they wolfed these down, still warm from the oven, I’m thinking they approve. My son very astutely observed, “They taste a little orange-y” — that’s the cardamom working its citrusy magic!

Feel free to use any jam you like. And the glaze is totally optional. If you follow along here or on Instagram, you’ll know I’ve been mildly obsessed with using freeze-dried fruit in my recipes. Well, here’s another example of my obsession. I pulverized some freeze-dried blueberries and made the most gorgeous, naturally purple glaze. You could also use some blueberry jam in your glaze if you don’t have the freeze-dried berries. Or just forget the glaze, because these little cakelets need no adornment!

A few muffin tips and recipe notes, applicable to these muffins and to all muffins:

  • As with all recipes, read the whole thing before you begin any prep work. Get your ingredients together and make sure you understand the recipe.
  • Don’t overmix your batter. The lumpiest, ugliest muffin batter makes the lightest, moistest (yeah, I said it) muffins.
  • Grease the heck out of your tins or use muffin liners. Even if you use liners, it doesn’t hurt to still grease the tin a little so the batter doesn’t stick around the edges. Baking spray such as Baker’s Joy is perfect for this.
  • If you let your batter sit for about 20 minutes before you bake your muffins, they will get higher, straight-out-of-the-local-bakery domes.
  • I prefer standard-sized muffins. I just think they are the perfect snacking size. But you can turn any muffin batter into either mini muffins or giant muffins. Of course, you will adjust the time up or down, depending.

More muffinspiration …

Pumpkin Banana Muffins

Easy Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

Chocolate Olive Oil Muffins with Chocolate Streusel

Buttery Blueberry Streusel Muffins

Cinnamon Sugar Cream Cheese Muffins

Peach Muffins

Cardamom-Spiced Blueberry Jam Muffins

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 18 minutes

Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom

½ cup whole milk

½ cup sour cream or plain yogurt

¼ cup flavorless oil, such as grapeseed (feel free to use 1 stick of melted butter instead)

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste

For the filling:

½ cup blueberry jam (I prefer Bonne Maman)

⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom

½ teaspoon vanilla extract or paste

For the glaze:

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom

½ cup finely crushed freeze-dried blueberries or 2 tablespoons blueberry jam

1 to 2 tablespoons milk

Instructions

To prepare the filling, mix jam, cardamom and vanilla together and set aside.

Prepare muffin tins by spraying with baking spray or lining with paper muffin liners. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and set aside. Mix wet ingredients in a medium bowl or a large, spouted measuring cup. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix gently until just combined. I use a large fork for this, then scrape around the sides and the bottom with a soft, rubber spatula to finish. Remember: lumpy, ugly batter is a good thing here.

Fill muffin cups halfway with batter. Add 1 teaspoon of jam to each muffin cup, then fill them with remaining batter. Top each with 1 more teaspoon of jam and, using a chopstick or skewer, swirl jam from top to bottom and side to side.

You can bake them right away or let them sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before baking to get an even higher rise (Pro tip: I always use this time to scurry around and clean up the mess I’ve made).

Place in preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes until puffed, golden and set. This is a good time to make your glaze, as follows:

Place all glaze ingredients in a small bowl and add just enough milk to make a smooth, pourable glaze. Add more confectioner’s sugar if too thin or more milk if too thick. You want it to be thin enough to pour but thick enough so it doesn’t all just run off the muffins.

Remove muffins from oven and let cool slightly before transferring to parchment-lined surface (cookie sheet, cutting board or large platter) for glazing.

Once muffins are cooled to room temperature, spread or pour glaze any way you like. I like to drizzle it over the top, but you could also dip each muffin top.

Notes

  • If you are totally opposed to cardamom, use cinnamon or nutmeg or just leave the spice out. The muffins will still be delicious.
  • Likewise, feel free to use your favorite jam. I just love the blueberry/cardamom combo!

Photo by Anita Parris Soule. Courtesy Wild Thistle Kitchen.

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