Monday, August 16, 2010

Blueberry muffins

This is a mini-recipe (makes 2 large muffins, or 4 small ones), but can be doubled, or even quadrupled, to serve a crowd (or just a couple of really hungry people). I prefer the large muffins -- one is just right for breakfast. My large 'muffin' cup (it's probably a popover cup, to be honest) measures 9 cm across the top, and 4 cm deep.

All muffins are fast and easy -- if you have everything on hand, you can have them in the oven in 15 minutes.

1. Heat the oven to gas mark 6 (conversion table to the left if you're C or F). For muffins, it does need to be fully hot when the muffins go in (unlike a roast, for example, where if it's not-quite-hot, it will still cook just fine). They need the high heat to rise up quickly and not just sit there in a dense lump, which will cook eventually but yields a very undesirable muffin (trust me on this one -- I've made that mistake). So be sure to heat it well ahead of time.

2. Next, grease your muffin cups (or if you use paper liners, get those ready). I just use a vegetable spray.

3. The dry ingredients go into a large bowl, the wet get mixed in a separate smaller bowl, then they're combined by adding the wet to the dry and stirring for literally just a few seconds (that's the secret to good muffins -- the batter should be slightly lumpy).

Dry: 3/4 c flour blend (I use Doves Farm), 2 tsp baking powder, and 1/4 c sugar.

Wet: 1 egg, 1/3 cp. milk, 2 tsp cider vinegar, and 2 Tbsp vegetable oil.

Now at this point, I'm sure you're wondering if I've forgotten the blueberries. Nope. I'm just . . . rather particular . . . about the berries. I'm the person who always seems to get the short straw with muffins. I get the muffin with three berries in it. I look across the table and see people with so many that there seems to be no muffin to hold their berries together. Ah, the injustice of it all . . . I also think this goes back to my childhood days, and the advert on telly about the Betty Crocker muffin mixes, with 'enough blueberries for 16 delicious berries in every muffin!' Yes, those were the exact words. They are etched into my brain, because I remember thinking, 'Yeah, but someone is going to get 20 and someone else 12! Or 30 and 2! No one will get exactly 16! And me, I'll get the muffin with two berries!' (Note: I'm a middle child, in case you can't tell. We always feel the injustice! :-D)

4. So, after I grease the muffin cups, I put blueberries in the bottom of each cup, add the batter to each cup, then fold the berries into the batter, and bake. No more one-berry-muffins for anyone at my table.

Baking time? Until they're nice and brown on top -- depends on muffin size. For the large ones, 15 minutes, roughly, but I have no idea how accurate my oven is, so just keep an eye on them. When you think they're done, insert a tester, broom straw, or very thin knife into the centre, and if it comes out clean, they're ready to enjoy.

And while this isn't the Betty Crocker Blueberry Muffin commercial, it's still of the same era: Betty Crocker Cake Commercial (youtube).

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