Sunday, July 10, 2016

B&B Recipe: Blue Blueberry Muffins from Blueberry Muffin Murder by Joanne Fluke

Got another recipe for you guys! I have a love/hate relationship with the Hannah Swensen series, but that's something I'll delve into at a later time. Right now, I want to talk about these muffins.

My closest friend at work recently put her apartment up on Air B&B, and she loves my baking so much, that she's hired me to make breakfast treats for her guests. So now I get to bake AND make money for it! One step closer to my dream of peddling my baked goods at a small teashop run by me and my best friend...

"Try this," Hannah said, handing Lisa one of the blueberry muffins she'd baked for the Winter Carnival judges. 
"Gladly." Lisa took a bite and a rapturous expression spread over her face. "It's perfect. I love blueberry muffins...My blueberry muffins taste like vanilla, unless you happen to bite into a blueberry. Yours taste like blueberries all the way through. How did you do that?" 
"Blueberry pie filling. I mixed some in before I added the frozen blueberries. The dough turns a little purple, but I like the end result." 
"So do I. They're absolutely delicious."

So do these muffins taste as good as the description makes them seem? Well...

Fresh from the oven, they are absolute Blandsville. I didn't include the topping, because these were meant to be breakfast treats, but other than that, I changed nothing. There's even a note saying that the topping is optional since Hannah's mother loves to eat them for breakfast, so I didn't think it'd be a problem. Once they had cooled enough to taste, I sliced a bit off the sample loaf (I had made 12 muffins and poured the leftover batter into a loaf tin). DISAPPOINTMENT.

It's one thing to bake mediocre treats for my co-workers and students; a little embarrassing, but no harm, no foul. It was entirely different when I was getting paid for my efforts, and these were clearly not good enough.

Luckily, I'm a teacher, and a teacher knows how to improvise. I looked at what I had and decided to whip up a blueberry compound butter to slather on the muffins. Not too sweet, since it's not a frosting, but just enough flavor to keep things interesting.

I will say that the muffins are moister the next day, and the flavor is more developed. When I brought my results to work the next day, my co-workers demolished the loaf before 1st period was over. Their takeaway? The muffins were tasty, but the compound butter was the star.

Make these today!

Hannah Swensen's Blue Blueberry Muffins
NOTE: If you're not going to make the topping or compound butter, I'd add an extra quarter cup of sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla extract

3/4 cup melted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 cup sugar
2 beaten eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (if frozen, don't thaw)
1/2 cup blueberry pie filling
2 cups plus one tablespoon flour
1/2 cup milk

Crumb topping (optional):
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup softened butter

Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners or grease the bottom of the tin. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Melt the butter. Mix in the sugar. Then add the beaten eggs, baking powder, and salt, and mix thoroughly.

Add one cup of flour and mix in half the milk. Then add the second cup of flour and the rest of the milk and mix thoroughly.

Add 1/2 cup blueberry pie fillig to your bowl and mix it in. Your dough will turn an unappealing shade of bluish-grey, but soldier on.

In a separate bowl or bag, mix the blueberries with the tablespoon of flour until they're completely coated.When your dough is thoroughly mixed, fold in the flour-coated blueberries.

Fill the muffin tins three-quarters full and set them aside. If you have dough left over, grease the bottom of a small tea-bread loaf pan and fill it with your remaining dough.

The crumb topping:

Mix the sugar and the flour in a small bowl. Add the softened butter and cut it in until it's crumbly. You can also do this in a food processor with cold butter.

Sprinkle the crumb topping over your muffins and bake them in a 375 degree Fahrenheit oven for 25-30 minutes. When done, take them out of the oven and let them cool completely.

Mia's Blueberry Compound Butter
This recipe is just a template; taste and add more of what you think it needs. Want it sweeter? Add more powdered sugar. More flavor? Add more filling. Missing that extra something? Probably needs a touch more vanilla. This recipe easily scales up if you're feeding a large crowd, or want to keep some stashed in your fridge.

1/2 stick softened butter
1 tablespoon powdered sugar (I believe it's called icing sugar in some places)
1 tablespoon blueberry pie filling
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whip everything together until it's well-mixed and light and creamy. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Delicious on pretty much everything.

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