I’ve recently come to realize that the most fun way to bake is creating new recipes and new twists off of old recipes. Once you have a simple foundation of baking and know how different ingredients affect your baked goods, (such as sugar providing sweetness and caramelization; or flour providing structure) you can go off on your own and create unique recipes. I urge all of you to make a few twists to your recipe next time you bake. I’ll admit, that in the past I’ve been guilty of following recipes exactly. Over the past 2 years however, I have been slowly experimenting more and more with baking. Nowadays, I almost never follow recipes and instead I treat the kitchen as my chemistry lab. I like to play with proportions of ingredients and see what will happen if I combine certain flavors. Despite some of my kitchen failures caused by making up recipes as I go, I have invented many successful recipes that are now some of my go to ones.
This particular recipe I’m sharing is one of my most recent concoctions. I started off by flipping through my trusty Baking Bible: Baking Illustrated. I saw they had a recipe for blueberry muffins, which was exactly what I was in the mood for. Upon further review of the recipe it seemed tasty, but a little boring. I wanted to add some excitement to the tired old blueberry muffin stereotype. I knew that lemon and blueberry pair beautifully and the lemon would brighten up the whole muffin so I decided to experiment with a lemon-blueberry muffin. The first time I tried out my idea I simply added some lemon juice and zest to the batter. The extra liquid made the batter to0 wet and lemon really overpowered the whole muffin. My next thought was to do some sort of lemon sugar topping, but when I tried it the muffin wasn’t lemony enough and the sugar wouldn’t even stick to the cooked muffin tops. I thought about doing a glaze, but it would be way too heavy and sweet to go witht the muffin. Failures when creating a recipe are normal and it’s important to not get down on yourself. The good thing is that my failures were still tasty just not exactly what I was looking for. Luckily for me, the third time was the charm. My final recipe consists of a decadently moist muffin bursting with blueberries that is topped with a sweet and sour lemon syrup and finished with a bright lemon sugar.
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup granulated sugar (7 ounces)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 1/4 cups sour cream (10 ounces)
- 1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries, preferably wild ProTip: Use Wyman’s Blueberries
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- For lemon sugar topping
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ¾ cup sugar
- Zest 2 lemons
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Place paper muffin liners in muffin tins. ProTip: Buy paper muffin liners that have a waxed finish.
2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl until combined.
3. Whisk egg in second medium bowl until well-combined and light-colored, about 20 seconds. Add sugar and whisk vigorously until thick and homogenous, about 30 seconds; add melted butter in 2 or 3 steps, whisking to combine after each addition. Add sour cream in 2 steps, whisking just to combine.
4. Add frozen berries to dry ingredients and gently toss to combine. ProTip: Be gentle with the berries so they don’t burst.
5. Add sour cream mixture to dry ingredients and fold with rubber spatula until batter comes together and berries are evenly distributed, 25 to 30 seconds (small spots of flour may remain and batter will be thick). ProTip: Mix as little as possible to keep dough from getting tough.
6. Use ice cream scoop to drop batter into greased muffin tin.
7. Bake until light golden brown and toothpick or skewer inserted into center of muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating pan from front to back halfway through baking time.
8. Remove muffins from tin and cool.
9. Combine lemon juice and ¼ cup sugar in small saucepan and reduce until syrupy.
10 . Rub lemon zest into sugar.
11. Brush top of muffin with lemon syrup then sprinkle with lemon sugar.