Sunday, May 2, 2010

Day One: Best Blueberry Muffins

The first day of Operation: Expand Horizons happened to be the Saturday that we were having my husband's birthday barbecue, so I cheated a little and tried a recipe that was a pretty sure thing. I also did a breakfast item because my day was full of preparations for a houseful of people.

This recipe for Best Blueberry Muffins is from Cook's Illustrated magazine, the folks who bring you America's Test Kitchen. Both Cook's Illustrated and ATK are subscription sites, but I was able to get this recipe a while back when I signed up for a 14-day free trial. Cook's and America's are two of my go-to places for guaranteed good recipes. Alton Brown, Tyler Florence, Bon Appétit, and Martha Stewart are my other reliable sources.

These muffins were fantastic, despite one small blunder on my part. I misread the amount of sour cream and used 1 cup instead of 1 1/4 cups, but they turned out just fine. I gave a few to my friend Allison over at Eat Well, Love Life, and we had the leftovers this morning. They kept well in a zip-top bag.

Best Blueberry Muffins
adapted from Cook's Illustrated

Makes 12 muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour (10 ounces)
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. table salt
1 large egg
1 cup granulated sugar (7 ounces)
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 1/4 cups sour cream (10 ounces)
1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 350º. Spray standard muffin tin with nonstick spray. (I like Pam.)

Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl until combined and set aside. Whisk egg in a second medium bowl for about 20 seconds. Add sugar and whisk vigorously until thick and homogeneous, about 30 seconds. Add melted butter in 2 or 3 steps, whisking vigorously after each addition. Add sour cream in 2 steps, whisking just to combine.

Add frozen blueberries to flour mixture and gently toss. Add sour cream, sugar, and egg mixture to flour mixture and fold gently with a rubber spatula until batter comes together and berries are evenly distributed. The batter will be very thick. Do not overmix.

Use an ice cream scoop or large spoon to drop batter into greased muffin tin. Bake until light golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Rotate pan halfway through cooking time.

Invert muffins onto a wire rack, stand them upright, and cool 5 minutes. Enjoy!

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