I love reading cookbooks. It may seem strange (or, in fact, perfectly normal to any foodies out there), but there is something exciting about starting at the beginning of a new cookbook, reading the introduction, leafing through all the recipes, learning about the author and marking the pages of particularly tasty-sounding recipes with cute little post-it notes. To be honest, lots of these dishes end up never being cooked, but it’s fun to plan and it’s good to get new inspiration for recipes. Christmas is the best time of year to receive gifts of cookbooks, as Christmas Day and Boxing Day were just made for lounging in your pajamas while reading books, right? This year I got Tom Kerridge’s Best Ever Dishes (one of my current favourite chefs), Mimi Thorisson’s A Kitchen in France (which is one of the most delightful cookbooks to read, ever) and The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook. There may well be some recipes to come on this blog from the first two of these books, but today we’re all about muffins and so obviously we turn to the Magnolia Bakery’s book.
This recipe is almost exactly the same as the recipe in the Magnolia Bakery’s book – we’re using the same ratios of flour to eggs to sugar to butter, and throwing in some deliciously sour buttermilk, as they do, for good measure. I swapped castor sugar for brown sugar, for a hint of caramel , and, inspired by this article by Felicity Cook I went for a double blueberry hit. The trick is to use both fresh and frozen blueberries; the fresh ones mashed and folded through the batter in order to give an even blueberry flavour, and the frozen ones stirred in whole to give those essential blueberry explosions.
A note on buttermilk: this is actually now readily available from loads of shops and supermarkets, but if you can’t find any then simply mix up natural yogurt with a little bit of milk for the same effect.
Ingredients (makes 9 muffins)
250g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
110g brown sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 large egg
240ml buttermilk ( or 60ml milk and 180ml natural yogurt)
60g butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
75g fresh blueberries
75g frozen blueberries
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas Mark 4. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl.
2. Stir through the sugar and salt until well combined – try to break up any lumps that there might be in the brown sugar.
3. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the egg, buttermilk, butter and vanilla. Stir to combine, but don’t over-mix.
4. Mash the fresh blueberries with a fork and gently fold through the muffin batter.
5. Stir the frozen blueberries into the mixture, reserving a few for the tops of the muffins. Top tip!…you can toss the blueberries in a teaspoon of flour if you like, which stops them all dropping to the bottom of the muffins.
6. Fill 9 muffin cases nearly to the top and stud with the remaining frozen blueberries.
7. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the muffins are golden brown.
Leave the muffins to cool on a wire rack, though I imagine they would be divine while still warm, especially if you’re having them for breakfast or brunch.
The perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea, when you’re looking for an afternoon pick-me-up.