What can I say? With my Thursday X-ray looming and another few months without the use of my foot as a real possibility, I find myself in need of muffins again immediately.
Many, many muffins later, people were hearkening back to to my blueberry muffins as if they represented a long ago Golden Age of my baked goods. Don’t get me wrong, I liked those blueberry muffins too, but on days when I am at Pt. Isabel, enjoying one of Semifreddi’s blueberry muffins, a confection I do no injustice to by saying that it literally sucks all of the moisture out of your body as you eat it, I found myself yearning for a more cake-y muffin in that arena, yet one that was substantially less Saharan than the Semifreddi’s option. No offense to Semifreddi’s, by the way, They make the only dairy-free cinnamon twist in town and while it can’t compete with the giant sticky loaf at Acme, it’s dairy-free, so it’s as good as can be expected without butter.
These are the kind of disputes that come up when you live in a town with too many artisanal bakeries.
I was also concerned that my muffins weren’t rising enough — or even not at all in the case of most batches. Do I live at a weird altitude? Probably not, since the Bay is right across the street. What was the deal with the non-rising muffins? I decided to abandon all of my principles and go for a cream-the-softened butter type of recipe, ones I normally avoid because they involve the use of a mixer and up the dishes quotient on the whole deal.
I also boldly omitted my usual Bisquick, though I do love it, because what if the fat-free Bisquick having to be refrigerated was contributing to my flat muffin syndrome?
I made only minor adjustments to a recipe from SimplyRecipes.com, and preheated the oven. It was already almost 11 p.m. when I embarked on this task but as you will see below, the Crumb Captain is at his post — bleary-eyed, naked, but steadfast!
Blueberry Muffins sans Lactose (but with the Delicious) — Take 2
adapted from SimplyRecipes.com
3 cups of all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons for the frozen berries
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
A pinch of sea salt or a 1/2 teaspoon regular
1 and a half sticks of Earth Balance plus extra to grease the muffin tins — room temperature but not melted
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup lactose-free yogurt (I love the dairy kind with lactose removed, much nicer than soy yogurt, even with coconut milk added) or soy sour cream
1/2 cup almond or other “safe” milk
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries — thawed and drained*
Preheat your oven to 375.
Drain your thawed berries and add 2 tablespoons of flour. Set aside.
Sift dry ingredients together and set aside. Cream butter and sugar in a mixer, which means beating them together until they look soft and fluffy. Add eggs one at time, beating each one completely before adding the next.
Add dry ingredients in alternate thirds with yogurt/almond milk mixture. I used half of the lemon juice in with these ingredients and squeezed the other half over the berries before adding them.
Be careful not to overbeat during this step. Fold in the berries last, with attention to the fact that too much mixing makes tough muffins.
Divide into well greased muffin cups and bake 15 – 25 minutes, depending on your oven, until toothpicks to the center come out clean.
Yields 12 – 20 muffins, depending on the size of your tins.
*I always use frozen berries, which tend to be a higher quality berry, see my earlier entry for a whole treatise on this. This time around I noticed many recipes that called for cooking your berries down into a kind of jam or compote and then swirling them through the muffins and to this I say, “No!” That just means they are using those lousy, mealy fresh berries. That is their mistake. If I wanted blueberry crisp, I’d make it, you know?
I was weirdly hoping that these more complicated muffins would be less good than the other recipe…No luck. Creaming the butter absolutely makes the muffin more delectable. There was more crunch to the top and a fluffier interior. And blueberry flavor was present throughout. I don’t even know what to say to those people with the blueberry compote muffins! Bless them, I guess.