Blueberry streusel muffins

August 26, 2011


What do you crave upon waking up on a glorious morning? Are you a sweet or savory kind of person? I’ve mentioned that I cannot function without my warm oatmeal. Some people are eggy and bacony. Toast or an English muffin with butter and jelly seems to be a staple for others. I know a strange person who will stand and eat steaks by the microwave or chicken off the bone.

Some people, though, have a certain affinity for buttery pastry. Scones and clotted cream might be the norm for some folks but others love muffins, especially. Who doesn’t love a good muffin? The problem is, like many items, that it’s difficult to find a good one. Before my taste buds became know-it-all’s, I relied on Starbucks or Entemann’s. Unfortunately (fortunately?), that’s no longer my reality. Luckily, I have found my muffin nirvana thanks to my cooking Bible, Cook’s Illustrated. If they were a person I think I’d wanna marry them in a heartbeat.


These muffins are serious. They are perfect for your next brunch or breakfast party. They’re soft and crumbly and pillowy. They have multiple doses of delicious-ness because they have a beautiful buttery and sugary streusel topping, a homemade blueberry jam swirl and fresh blueberries. It doesn’t get any better.


Pastry people, rejoice! Here’s to your next morning being ultra muffiny and delicious.

Blueberry Streusel Muffins

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Makes 12 Muffins

Note: If buttermilk is unavailable, substitute 3/4 cup plain whole-milk or low-fat yogurt thinned with 1/4 cup milk

Variations: The streusel topping is entirely optional and can be omitted. These muffins are good enough to stand on their own, plain. Alternatively, there are several other avenues you can take if you want a different topping and no streusel: for an an almond topping: top with 1/3 cup ground almonds with 4 teaspoons turbinado sugar before baking, add a citrus sugar by combining 2 teaspoons orange or lemon zest with 1/3 cup sugar before baking, or you can add a citrus glaze on cooled muffins by combining 1 cup powdered sugar with 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon or orange juice.


For Streusel Topping

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

3 tablespoons dark brown sugar

Pinch table salt

1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour (3 1/2 ounces)

5 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted and warm

For Muffins

2 cups fresh blueberries (about 10 ounces), picked over (if blueberries aren’t in season, feel free to use frozen)

1 1/8 cups sugar (8 ounces) plus 1 teaspoon

2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon table salt 

2 large eggs

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter , melted and cooled slightly

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Make Streusel

Stir together sugar, brown sugar, salt, and flour in small bowl until combined. Drizzle with warm butter and toss with fork until evenly moistened and mixture forms large chunks with some pea-sized pieces throughout. Set aside.

Make Muffins

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray standard muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Bring 1 cup blueberries and 1 teaspoon sugar to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing berries with spoon several times and stirring frequently, until berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced to ¼ cup, about 6 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl. Whisk remaining 1 1/8 cups sugar and eggs together in medium bowl until thick and homogeneous, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in butter and oil until combined. Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla until combined. Using rubber spatula, fold egg mixture and remaining cup blueberries into flour mixture until just moistened. (Batter will be very lumpy with few spots of dry flour; do not overmix.)

Use ice cream scoop or large spoon to divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups (batter should completely fill cups and mound slightly). Spoon teaspoon of cooked berry mixture into center of each mound of batter. Using chopstick or skewer, gently swirl berry filling into batter using figure-eight motion. Sprinkle streusel topping evenly over muffins.

Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm, 17 to 19 minutes, rotating muffin tin from front to back halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving.

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