My muffins are really made from all these things (with apologies to Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood).
When my daughter announced excitedly that she found her favorite Maryland Utz potato chips in a specialty store in Northampton, Massachusetts, my heart died a little. One more tenuous thread -to tie her back home- now frayed. But there are only so many vegan cutlets a girl can stomach at the campus dining hall, so she came home for Thanksgiving.
That’s when we made these divine blueberry lemon muffins. I found the recipe at Cooking Channel’s Devour the blog, but because it’s hard to find on a Google search, and not quite modularized as I prefer, here is my protocol, laid out logically.
1. Clear your work bench. As an artist needs a clean palette, a cook requires a sparkling clean kitchen table. That’s what the non-cooks in your family are for -if you don’t have any (family, I mean), acquire some temporarily. This is known as symbiosis and could be the start of a good thing. Professional procrastinators will also recognize this as an opportunity for the cook to put off impending work.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
3. Lightly oil a muffin tray. You can use the 6x standard version or the 24x mini version.
4. Find the reagents. They include the usual suspects: dry (flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda); wet (egg, vegetable oil, butter, milk); and some special items that may require pre-planning depending on the state of your pantry (blueberries, lemon, lemon extract, creme fraiche or sour cream).
5. Toss 1.5 cups blueberries (fresh or thawed) with 1 tbs of flour and set aside.
6. Make the topping (the best part! do not be lazy and omit this!!): in a shallow bowl, add 0.5 tbs of cold butter to 1.5 tbs flour, 2 tbs sugar, a pinch of salt (yes, this makes it perfect), 1/2 tbs lemon zest (seriously, who measures this stuff?..just grate a bunch in..then add more until your lemon has given up all its zest). Using a fork, cut up the butter until the mixture turns crumbly. If you get impatient, as I invariably do, you may use your fingers..but return the topping to the fridge to rechill the butter.
7. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl: 2 cups flour, 0.75 cups sugar, 0.5 tsp baking soda, 1.5 tsp baking powder and 0.25 tsp salt. Randomly stir until mixed.
8. Mix the wet ingredients in a smaller bowl: 1 cup creme fraiche, 2 tbs milk, 1 egg broken, 0.25 cup canola or other mild oil, 2 tbs lemon juice, 1 tsp lemon extract. Stir until blended together.
Nearly done now!
9. Mix the wet into the dry. You know the drill. Desist the urge to overmix. Gently fold in the blueberries. Aliquot into the muffin tins. I fill them to the top so they can overflow gently like the proverbial “muffin tops” (but much more attractive).
10. Sprinkle on the topping. Be generous, but don’t make a mess.
11. Bake for 20-25 min. When done, an inserted knife comes out clean. Alternatively, bake until the delicious aroma brings everyone out of the woodwork (i.e., off their computers/video games).
Even a neuroscience major likes to lick the bowl.
Bake, and they shall come…