Muffins are without doubt a delightful and tasty small cake that compliments a light lunch or even a mid meal snack to keep hunger pangs at bay. They are small, take anywhere delights and a firm favourite of many people… myself included.
But wait, something has gone terribly wrong with the whole concept of the humble muffin in my humble opinion. I find more often than not, when I make a purchase and eagerly open the packaging to sample my muffin, that all is not perfect in muffin world. I tend to find that the muffin of this high tech processed food world to be substandard to what I recall as the perfect muffin.
Maybe my memory has put on some rose tinted glasses and the muffin I crave never really existed but I believe they do. The muffin of today tends to be a super sugary and very moist ball of dough that when you eat turns into a single flavoured paste in your mouth. This defeats the purpose of eating a proper muffin. With a proper muffin you are meant to have a light fluffy cake and only when you bite into the fruit of the muffin do you get a burst of sweetness and flavour. A muffin should be a multi levelled experience, and that’s what I miss.
I am making a stand; I am going to take control of my muffin again. I know I can do better myself and so I am going to do it and here is how…
Let us start with the most popular muffin on the market, the blueberry muffin. I consulted my range of baking books and settled on my stalwart go to book the Leiths Baking Bible. I have waxed lyrical about this range of books before and with good reason, they do it properly.
Let’s bake some proper old school blueberry muffins!
For the muffins:
- 250g plain flour
- 2tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1tsp of ground cinnamon
- A pinch of salt
- 115g of melted butter
- 115g light brown sugar
- 2 eggs beaten
- 1tsp grated lemon zest
- 140g soured cream
- 200g of fresh blueberries
For the topping:
- 85g plain flour
- A pinch of salt
- 55g of butter
- 55g of caster sugar
Make the topping first by sifting the flour into a bowl and add the salt. Cut the butter into small cubes and add to the flour and then with only your finger tips rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs, now stir in the sugar and pop into the fridge to chill.
Pop the oven on and set it to 190C or 375F. Line a 12 holes muffin tin with paper or silicon muffin cases and set aside for the moment.
For the muffins themselves, sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and salt into a large mixing bowl.
In a small saucepan slowly melt the butter removing from the heat just before fully melted and allow to cool slightly for a couple of minutes. Add the lemon zest, sugar and soured cream and stir well. Add the beaten eggs slowly whilst still stirring to stop them curdling or lumping from the heat of the melted butter.
Now the most important part of the whole process, add the wet ingredients to the dry and pop in the blueberries. Remember, you are not allowed to use more than 20 folds to combine them as over stirring will cause the final muffins to be tough. Try and do it with as few folds as possible; I tend to do around 14, so the challenge is set 🙂
Now divide the mixture evenly between the 12 muffin cases.
Last thing, remove the topping from the fridge and sprinkle over the muffin mixture, I tend to find I have too much so don’t overdo it, it’s alright to have some spare.
Now bake in the middle of your preheated oven for around 20 minutes or until well risen and golden brown, you will have to adjust if you have a convection oven by lowering the target temperature by 10 degrees and reducing baking time by 5 minutes. You will just have to keep an eye on the little fellas. As a final test a wooden skewer inserted into the middle of one muffin should come out clean and dry.
Remove the muffins from the tin and allow to cool on a wire rack.
Do you enjoy the muffins of today or do you crave the way they used to be?
What is your favourite muffin?