Friday, September 12, 2008

Strawberry Muffins

So sorry that I've been MIA for so long. I've been cooking and taking photos but have utterly failed at posting. Oi oi oi. Well here is my attempt to get back into the game before I leave for Australia on Tuesday. (by the crazy kids who have been traveling really need to post photos!)

Now that I'm back in San Diego I've been hanging out with my nephews a lot. I went over to their house a few days ago to bake some blueberry muffins. (Cooking with kids is SO FUN!) My sister in law insisted that she had some fresh blueberries. Unfortunately they were all moldy when we pulled them out of the fridge. But since I'm not one to accept defeat, we substituted some fresh strawberries instead and made strawberry muffins. Well...they turned out beautiful and the muffin cake itself was DELICIOUS. But the strawberries given the recipe I had were just too tart for the muffin. So, my nephews and I are determined to give it another try later but for now, here are some photos for you to enjoy.

By the way, the recipe we used is one that I'm testing for America's Test Kitchen. I love calling myself a "recipe tester." =) And here is the original recipe we were supposed to use for the blueberry muffins

Best Blueberry Muffins
from America's Test Kitchen
Makes 12

Turbinado sugar is commonly sold as Sugar In The Raw. Demerara, sanding sugar, or other coarse grain sugar can be substituted.

2 cups (about 10 ounces) fresh blueberries, picked over
1 1/8 cups (8 ounces) plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/4 cups (6 1/4 ounces) unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) cake flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon zest from 1 lemon
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 teaspoons turbinado sugar

1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a standard muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. Bring 1 cup blueberries and 1 teaspoon sugar to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing berries several times and stirring frequently, until berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced to 1/4 cup, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat and cool, 10 to 15 minutes. Whisk flours, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl.

2. Whisk remaining 1 1/8 cups sugar, zest, and eggs together in medium bowl until thick and homogenous, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in butter and oil until combined. Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla until combined. Using rubber spatula, fold egg mixture and remaining fresh uncooked berries into flour mixture until just moistened (batter will be very lumpy). Do not overmix.

3. Using ice cream scoop or large spoon, divide half of batter equally among muffin cups (cups should be about third filled). Place teaspoon of cooked berry mixture on top of batter. Scoop remaining batter on top of berry filling. (Batter should fill muffin cups almost to the top). Using butter knife, gently swirl berry filling into muffin batter. Sprinkle turbinado sugar on top of muffins.

4. Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm, 17 to 19 minutes, rotating muffin tin from front to back halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool for 5 minutes before serving.


So I just made these blueberry muffins tonight again with my nephews again. Unfortunately, they really didn't live up to the expectations and I'm going to have to withdraw my suggestion to make these muffins. Accordingly, I also gave a pretty negative review of the recipe to America's Test Kitchen. The second time round, the overall muffin was still way too tart and it just didn't rise like I would expect a bakery style muffin too. Additionally, there wasn't an ultra crispy top to the blueberry muffin, as expected. So...I'll be on a search for a better muffin but until then, I'll try the recipe that Karen suggested from Eggs on Sunday.


Karen said...

Hi Van! How exciting that you are a recipe tester!! I'll look forward to hear more about your testing experiences. As for strawberry muffins, I highly recommend these guys from eggsonsunday:
They have lemon zest in the batter, like yours, and a yummy cinnamon-sugar top...

vanlikethecar said...

Thanks for the recipe tip, Karen! Ooo...those muffins look fantastic. Like snickerdoodle meets strawberry meets muffin. =) I also noticed that both recipes and some others I've recently seen use buttermilk. Very interesting indeed. Oh, and you should be a recipe tester too. So fun!