Monday, August 23, 2010

America's Test Kitchen's Light Blueberry Muffins

America's Test Kitchen is awesome. I have a regular cookbook of theirs as well as a baking book. I love how they teach along with the recipes. They tell you not only what worked but what didn't work and why. And they have recommendations of what kind of products to use based on their testing.

I went blueberry picking a few weeks ago and had a handful of blueberries left, but I had yet to be inspired to bake something with what remained. My big brother and his wife saved the day when they came to visit a few weekends ago, giving me a reason to put some effort into breakfast, so I made some blueberry muffins. These are some big, beautiful muffins, my friends. And they are low-fat.

I halved the recipe as there were only four of us (technically three as Kyle had already left to play golf that morning, but he would not have been pleased if there were no muffins left for him upon his return), and I still managed to fill 7 muffin cups to the brim.

Light Blueberry Muffins (makes 12)

  • Vegetable oil spray
  • 10oz. plus 1T flour
  • 4oz. cake flour
  • 7oz. sugar, plus 1T for sprinkling (I used sugar in the raw.)
  • 1T baking powder
  • 1/2t baking soda
  • 1/2t salt
  • 4T butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2t fresh lemon Juice
  • 1t grated fresh lemon zest
  • 1t vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2c plain low-fat yogurt (use low-fat yogurt here; nonfat yogurt will make dry, tasteless muffins)
  • 2c fresh or frozen blueberries (ATK prefers frozen wild blueberries)
  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with vegetable oil spray.
  2. Whisk 2 cups of the all-purpose flour, cake flour, 1/4 cup of the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.
  3. In a large bowl, beat 3/4 cup more sugar and butter together with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 6 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until combined, about 30 seconds. Beat in the lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla until incorporated, scraping down the bowl and beaters as needed.
  4. Reduce the mixer speed to low. Beat in one-third of the flour mixture and half of the yogurt. Repeat with half of the remaining flour mixture and the remaining yogurt. Beat in the remaining flour mixture until just incorporated. Do not over mix.
  5. Toss the blueberries with the remaining tablespoon of all-purpose flour, then gently fold them into the batter with a rubber spatula.
  6. Using a 1/3-cup measuring cup sprayed with vegetable oil spray, portion the batter into each muffin cup, then portion any remaining batter evenly among the cups using a small spoon (My cups were almost completely full). Sprinkle the tops with the remaining tablespoon sugar.
  7. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out with just a few crumbs attached, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.
  8. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then flip out onto a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
I actually used vanilla yogurt because I could not find a low-fat plain yogurt. It was all full fat or fat free. So I scaled back on the vanilla extract a bit. But man they were tasty. Big and light and fluffy. The lemon and vanilla in brightens up the muffins nicely. You'll also notice that I gave you weights instead of measurements for some dry ingredients. Your end product will turn out better if you go this route, so I'm trying to make the switch.

Tossing the blueberries in the flour helps them not to sink to the bottom of the muffin while baking. Everything seemed to work out, so I'll keep doing it. Man, when those things were warm and you slapped a pad of butter in the middle: yum-mo!

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