Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet eating… um muffins

A few months back I had been on the search for the perfect chocolate cupcake, which I eventually was able to put together. But lately my new quest has been for the perfect muffin. Don't ask why… it just has been. 

So last week I made the boyfriend some blueberry muffins. They were good, but they didn't rise all that much, which bummed me out a bit. The next day I used that same recipe to make strawberry muffins, and I filled the cups higher in hopes that they would happily mound up some more. No go. The flavor was there, but the batter just wasn't giving me what I wanted. 

I always find the Foodnetwork website is a great place to go searching for lots of different versions of the same recipe. The recipe I used a few days ago came from Gourmet magazine I believe, so I was surprised it didn't turn out to my liking. I came across an Ina Garten recipe that I figured I should try out. After all, it was the Barefoot Contessa that provided me with the base for my perfect chocolate cupcake… maybe she was a bit of a muffin maven as well! 

I decided that instead of just using blueberrys, I would throw in some strawberries as well. I wasn't really trying to be patriotic, but when I coated the two fruits in a bit of flour so that they wouldn't sink to the bottom of the batter, the National Anthem did start playing in my head! 

Oh say can you see! By the dawns early light! 

The recipe called for sour cream, as most of Ina's baked goods do, but I wasn't really up for wasting my $4.13 a gallon gasoline to run to the store for just sour cream. I had organic plain yogurt so I decided that would substitute nicely… and who can scoff at cutting a few calories whilst baking, not I! 

Hey batter batter batter! 

I was supposed to get 16 muffins out of the batter, and just like always for me, I got 24! I don't care what the recipe says, I always get more out of it. And believe me, I filled these babies up to the top! The first batch came out of the oven and while it had risen nicely, it spread out over the muffin tin giving me that flattened type of top. I'm a rounded muffin kinda of girl, so I was a teensy bit disappointed. 

I'm trying to be more environmentally friendly these days (as evident by my unmentionables currently sunning themselves in the backyard!) so since the first batch took thirty minutes, I figured I would turn on my convection fan and try and speed things up. Yes it occured to me that using the convection would mean I was using more energy. However (!), it would mean I could turn the oven off sooner, therefore pumping less heat into the kitchen, requiring the air conditioning to do a little less work in order to cool the house. See how nicely I justified that! 
I got another benefit from my convection – the muffins rounded out nicely on the top instead of spreading out.

These muffins taste delicious! The combination of blueberries and strawberries is wonderful - I highly recommend it! Once again Ina has done me proud! Unfortunately for my boyfriend, he is out of town for the week and these will surely be gone by the time he gets back! Poor boyfriend! That's what he gets for going out of town for a week ;) 

Muffins out of the sun!

Blueberry & Strawberry muffins

adapted from Ina Gartens recipe for Blueberry Muffins 

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
8 ounces (about 1 cup) sour cream or yogurt 
1/4 cup milk
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup strawberries, cut into bite sized pieces
1 cup blueberries (watch for stems!) 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place 16 paper liners in muffin pans.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla, sour cream, and milk. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed add the flour mixture to the batter and beat until just mixed. Fold in the blueberries with a spatula and be sure the batter is completely mixed.
Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pans, filling each cup just over the top, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the muffins are lightly browned on top and a cake tester comes out clean. 

Muffins in the sun! 

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Jen said...

These look so good... I haven't made muffins in forever but might have to start again, although our little window air conditioner just can't compete with the oven.

Anonymous said...

Yum! I love everything Ina but haven't tried these yet. Looks good.

Olga said...

I like the pictures taken out on the deck :) Actually did the same thing when taking pictures of the Daring Bakers Challenge at my parents' house in Seattle