Since this past Sunday, aka Daylight saving time, I’ve been craving summer-y dishes like strawberry ice cream and peach pie. Yes, we’re only in the middle of March, but the moment it stays lighter later and we get to enjoy sunshine for a couple more hours, my mind immediately goes into summer mode. I know that I don’t live in an area where there will be winter-y weather for about 1-2 more months, but after record low temperatures and rainfall in Southern California, I’ve never been more excited for warmer weather.
On top of beautiful weather, we’ve been enjoying wildflower super blooms as well as the annual migration of butterflies from Mexico to the Pacific Northwest (the painted ladies). Walking outside and seeing hundreds upon hundreds of butterflies is quite honestly one of the most beautiful sights and it’s amazing to see how it’s positively affecting everyone’s mood. I sometimes forget how lucky I am to live in such a awe-inspiring area and I’m trying to take full advantage of my surroundings. More hikes are in my future!
So, today I wanted to work with a produce that is best in the summertime, but can actually be utilized all year long. Blueberries. Even though blueberries are at their peak in California from May to July/August, I eat them every single day with my breakfast. Blueberry is the one fruit that I just can’t seem to enjoy for a limited amount of months; I’d rather have a mediocre blueberry than no blueberry at all. When it comes to blueberries in dishes, I’ve always been a major fan of perfectly simple blueberry muffins. The recipe I’m giving you today is that and so much more.
I really wanted to use wild blueberries for this recipe because I find that they’re SO delicious and bursting with flavor, but since it’s still wintertime, the only wild blueberries available are frozen. I attempted to use the frozen wild blueberries that I found at Trader Joe’s but they completely stained my dough - literally, I was left with blue muffins. Although the flavor was still there, I couldn’t accept the color and decided to go with plain fresh blueberries. My advice is using fresh berries is much easier even though berries aren’t at their peak of ripeness at the moment. I promise that the berries that I bought at the grocery store still made the muffins amazing, and just think how much better it’ll turn out when you make these again in the summertime.
Below in the recipe, I give the optional step to make an easy glaze for the muffins. The glaze, which is simply confectioners’ sugar and fresh lemon juice whisked together, is optional because I personally think the muffins are perfect as is, especially since there’s the crunchy topping, thanks to a heavy sprinkling of turbinado sugar. But, I did make a couple of batches with the glaze and the few people I gave them to went crazy over it and thought it was mandatory that I include it in this post. So whether you’re a muffin purist like me or if you fall into the category of “more is more”, you have the option to glaze or not. Glaze half of the batch if you want!
Blueberry Lemon Muffins
Yields 12 standard muffins
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Zest of 1 large lemon
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
3/4 cup sour cream or yogurt (plain or Greek)
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups fresh blueberries (see my note above regarding frozen)
1 1/2 - 2 tbsp. turbinado sugar
Optional: Lemon Glaze
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
3-4 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Grease a 12-count muffin tin with cooking spray or butter, or line with cupcakes wrappers.
In a large bowl, using your hands or a whisk, massage/mix the granulated sugar and lemon zest together until fragrant (this helps release the oils in the zest). Add the melted butter, sour cream/yogurt and egg, and whisk until well incorporated.
Using a spatula, carefully fold in the flour and blueberries until you can no longer see any dry ingredients. Do not over mix!
Using a spoon or an ice cream scoop, fill each muffin cavity to the brim with batter. Evenly sprinkle a heaping 1/2 tsp. of turbinado sugar over each muffin.
Bake for 5 minutes at 425°F, and then turn the oven down to 350°F and bake for another 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The blast of initial heat helps the muffins get their height.
Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for a couple of minutes before taking them out. Drizzle each muffin with the lemon glaze (optional, recipe below). Muffins are best eaten on the day they are baked, but can be enjoyed for 1-2 days after if covered and left at room temperature.
In a small bowl, combine the confectioners’ sugar and the fresh lemon juice with a whisk. Start with 3 tbsp. of fresh lemon juice, and add more only to reach your desired consistency.