The morning Mom and I went to the estate sale at the Shorecrest we stopped for coffee and breakfast and I had a fabulous blueberry muffin. It was just about perfect—not too dense, not too cake-like—and it had a very subtle flavor beyond the blueberry. I thought it was ginger, but Mom thought it was lemon. Well, of course, I had to try to recreate it on my own.
I’ll admit, this has actually taken a few tries. The first batch was much too lemony, and I used fresh ginger instead of ground. They were too moist, and the flavor was just…off. Not bad (they were edible), but nothing I’d like to share.
The new batch, however, with the streusel topping, is good. Possibly the best muffins I’ve ever made. And I have made a lot of muffins.
The base for this recipe comes from one of my standby cookbooks, The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook. My mom got one for her wedding shower…I had to hunt for mine at Goodwill. I’ve changed the proportions slightly, added lemon and spices and the streusel topping, and substituted a little whole wheat flour for the white (whole wheat flour keeps the muffins from getting too light and cupcake-like, in my opinion). You could use all-purpose flour only and eliminate the spices and lemon and you’d still have a pretty good blueberry muffin.
Blueberry-lemon muffins with ginger streusel topping
Makes 12 muffins
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 6+ tablespoons sugar
- 1 heaping tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice, or zest and juice of one small lemon
- 1 scant cup fresh or frozen blueberries
- 1 egg
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
- 2+ tablespoons butter
1. Prepare your muffin cups (I prefer individual silicon cups for muffins) by lining or buttering as necessary, and preheat the oven to 400° F.
2. In a small bowel, gently mix the whole wheat flour and blueberries until the blueberries are coated. (Supposedly this prevents the berries from sinking.)
3. In a large bowel, mix 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour; 4 tablespoons sugar; 1/2 teaspoon each of salt, nutmeg, cardamom, and ginger; and1 heaping tablespoon of baking powder. (Note: The remaining flour, sugar, and ginger is for the topping.)
4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and mix with 1 cup milk and 1/4 cup oil.
5. Add the liquid to the flour mixture, and stir until barely mixed. Add the blueberry mixture and the lemon juice (and zest, if using). Stir just until the flour is mixed in—the batter should still be slightly lumpy (Overmixing muffins toughens them).
6. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups. For regular muffins they’ll be a bit over 3/4 full.
7. In a small bowel, mix a scant 1/4 cup flour, 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon ginger with a fork until you have uniformly crumbly mixture. If necessary, add a little more butter or sugar to get the right texture. (This does make a little more topping then necessary.)
8. Sprinkle the topping evenly over all the muffins. I like to use the fork to lightly tap the topping into the batter (it keeps it from rolling right off when you eat the muffin).
9. Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes, or until lightly golden and a toothpick test comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack.