Have you ever wondered if it were possible to make blueberry muffins more fun in terms of color (since I bet that would be fun with kids, I am/was a kid and I find colorful food fun)? Well, unfortunately, in today’s world of color this and color that, a lot of that color, if it isn’t naturally there, is a processed food coloring. I’ve heard of people allergic to red food color (I’m glad that that’s not with me, I can’t live without red velvet cake) and I’ve heard of allergies to blue color. Unfortunately for them, that probably rules out purple, green, orange, etc. because a lot of processed foods include these food colors to make them more…vibrant.
See, we can still have these colors in our lives! By using the color that nature so lovingly provides, you can color everything! Heck, blueberries stain with all of their color! If they stain, why not stain the muffins! By utilizing blueberries, you can use their natural juices to make everything bright, vibrant, colorful, and heck, a lot more healthy!
I probably was a hypocrite in this because I actually used frozen blueberries I bought at the store because they are small and convenient. However, you can achieve the same results if you take your fresh blueberries and pop them in the freezer in a zip top bag, then thaw them in the microwave. The freezerburn that occurs actually breaks up the cell walls in the berries, causing their natural pigment-rich juices to overflow. Here, we utilize those as a natural food color. Let’s go!
Here, I kept the butter soft, and creamed it with the sugar for a minute or two, until light and fluffy. In my case, fifteen, because you insisted to do it by hand. Add your eggs and mix everything together.
After which, you microwave your frozen pretzels in 30 second intervals. I was done after about 3 times of this. Then I drained the juice from the berries into a little measuring cup. I got about 3 tablespoons from this process. So that meant I needed 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon of buttermilk to replace the liquid was was needed.
I added about a tablespoon of flour on top of the blueberries and tossed them with it. This will provide a sort of ‘velcro’ that will help suspend the berries in the muffins instead of them sinking to the bottom. Once everything is tossed in, throw the blueberries into the batter, after the flour is mixed in, and just fold them in.
Blue enough for you?
I found it best that since this is a bit of a thinner muffin batter than usual, you should fill the cups about 3/4 full of batter. I then topped them with coarse sanding sugar and baked them. This was experiment time. Last time I made muffins, I learned that if you baked at 500 to start then lowered the temperature, you get high tops. So, I wanted to know if you could do it any lower to get the same result.
Um. Yeah. 500 on the left, 450 on the right. See the amazing difference? So, if you are a fan of a relatively crispy, caramellized muffin top with a moist center, start at 500 degrees. If you’re a fan of a soft and lightly crispy (from the sugar) muffin top, start at 450.
Outstanding Blue Blueberry Muffins
2 cups All Purpose Flour plus 1 T. for Blueberries
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Fresh Nutmeg, grated (or you can use ground, whatever you have on hand)
1 stick Unsalted Butter, room temperature
1 c. Granulated Sugar
1/4 c. plus 1 T. Buttermilk
2 c. Frozen Blueberries
3 T. Juice from Thawed Berries
Coarse Sanding Sugar, for topping
1. Preheat oven to 450 (for softer, lower top) or 500 (for a high, crispy top) and line muffin tins with liners. Prep flour with baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a separate bowl, set aside.
2. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy (about two minutes on a heavy duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment). Mix in eggs, one at a time, until combined.
3. Thaw berries in the microwave at 30 second intervals, until almost completely thawed. The juice that should come out of these should total 3 tablespoons, if not, replace what you don’t have with buttermilk. Mix juice and buttermilk into creamed mixture and mix until combined.
4. Pour in flour and mix gently until combined. Toss blueberries with 1 T. flour and fold into the mixture.
5. Fill muffin cups with batter, until about 3/4 full. Place in the middle rack of the preheated oven for 6 minutes on the high temperature (450-500 degrees) then lower temperature to 375 and bake for 13-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
6. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes in pans, and enjoy warm or cold!