Sunday, October 15, 2006

Warm Blueberry and Almond Muffins

I thought I had written about these before but I haven't! I love blueberry muffins and I resent that what you buy at the grocery store and sometimes even a good bakery sorely lacks blueberries! Have you ever eaten a muffin that only has 2 blueberries in it? How can this possibly be called a blueberry muffin. But I have now found a recipe that is chalk full of blueberries and other healthful ingredients but super tasty at the same time.

This recipe comes from easy vegetarian: simple recipes for brunch, lunch, and dinner. I love that it uses minimal butter and no oil whatsoever.

Makes 10 servings
Cooking Time: 15 minutes for prep, 18-20 minutes in the oven

1 3/4 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp apple pie spice
1/2 c ground almonds or 3/4 c slivered almonds, finely ground in a food processor
3/4 c sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 c buttermilk
4 tbsp butter, melted
8 oz. blueberries, about 2 cups
2 tbsp slivered almonds, chopped

12-cup muffin pan

Apple pie spice
What is apple pie spice? I didn't know but I googled it and found that apple pie is a combination of spices that you probably already have so don't go out of your way to get this "spice". If you put together 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/8 tsp allspice, and 1/8 tsp cardamom, you have apple pie spice.

Suggestions and mistakes
This recipe suggested grinding up 3/4 cup slivered almonds to make 1/2 cup ground almonds but when I did this, I found that I had more than 1/2 cup ground almonds so I would suggest starting with a 1/2 cup slivered almonds.

This supposedly makes 10 muffins but I found that I had batter for more than 12. In fact, it makes more than a typical muffin pan can hold.

Also, I would suggest baking these muffins on the top rack (not the middle rack like I did). As you can see from the pictures above, while my muffins were baked through after 20 minutes, they did not have the beautiful golden color you would hope.

Sift flower, baking powder, an apple pie spice into a bowl and stir in the ground almonds and sugar. Put the egg, buttermilk, and melted butter in a second bowl and beat well. Stir into dry ingredients to make a smooth batter.

Fold in the blueberries, then spoon the mixture into 10 of the muffin cups in the muffin pan until each one is three-quarters full. Sprinkle with chopped almonds and bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes, until risen and golden. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. Serve warm.

I recently discovered the Wilton Ultra Bake 12 cup muffin pan which was reviewed by Cook's Illustrated (they're the America's Test Kitchen folks on PBS). I love that they review lots of kitchen items and often what they rate highly is not the most expensive item on the market. The Wilton Ultra Bake is one of those items. It's an amazing non-stick pan but they use a technology that is not Teflon so you don't have to worry about scratching, etc. I love that when you finish baking, you can pull the muffins right out (in the case of blueberry or other fruit muffins that have bursting action, you have to be a tad more careful but still wonderful results). No sticking, no tearing, and no need to oil, butter, or spray before hand! And at $7.99 at Target, it's a total bargain.

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