Cooks Illustrated

THE Best Freaking Blueberry Muffins


Picture it:  industrial, pre-packaged “blueberry” (flavored-ish) muffins.  Oh god, they’re the worst thing EVER to have been invented.  Every so often when I’m at an airport or a rest stop I stupidly break down and buy one (if I’m desperately hungry) and I always regret it.

Every. single. time.

Until now.  Now I have the willpower to resist those jet-lag/car sickness induced cravings because I have consumed The Best Freaking Blueberry Muffins in the Whole World.  Twice.

I think I had a blueberry deficiency.  Last summer at the mountain house market I bought two plateaus of blueberries and froze some of them.  I’ve been pulling them out every so often and making blueberry muffins, and they’ve always been pretty good, but when Mom and Dad came last month I decided to try a new recipe based on one from Cook’s Illustrated.  (Unfortunately, you won’t be able to see their recipe unless you have a subscription or sign up for a free trial).

I had to modify their recipe slightly — sidenote:  isn’t interesting how we ALWAYS have to modify a recipe, we can’t just leave it alone.  No, we have to add more chocolate chips or cut down the sugar because it will definitely be better that way….or so we think…Maybe I should speak for myself.

Anyways, their recipe calls for lemon zest and I only had mandarins, they wanted buttermilk, but I only had yogurt, they wanted vegetable oil and I only had butter and I never have vanilla extract.  Plus I wanted to make them slightly healthier (ok I was running out of butter) and less salty.

I made the recipe again this morning with the same fantabulous scrumdidiliumpscious result (in fact just 6 hours laters there are only 2 left).


2 cups fresh blueberries
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp table salt
2 eggs
1  cup sugar (plus a little more for sprinkling on top)
1 1/4 cup yogurt
1/2 an orange or lemon
6 Tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter , melted and cooled slightly
Preheat oven to 425°F.  Butter the muffin tin.
Zest the lemon or orange and mix the zest with a couple tablespoons of sugar for the topping.
1.  Make quick blueberry jam.  Simmer 1/2 of the blueberries (1 cup) and a teaspoon of sugar in a small saucepot for a few minutes, mashing the berries occasionally.    Note: I use a potato masher and it works great.  The berries should be slightly concentrated into a sort of jam when you’re done.  While berries cook you can measure the other ingredients. Set aside to cool.
2.  Prepare dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
3. Combine wet ingredients. Whisk eggs and sugar together for a couple of minutes until the batter is uniform and looks like a liquid marshmallow (kinda fluffy).  Slowly add the melted butter and continue to whisk.  Add the yogurt and a little lemon/orange juice (NoteIf using lemon, a couple tablespoons is plenty, otherwise the juice from half the orange).
4. Fold everything together. Dump the cup of fresh blueberries into the flour mixture.  Quickly and gently fold the flour mixture into the butter/yogurt mixture.  (NoteYou just want to barely mix them together, it’s okay if there are some dry flour spots.  Don’t overmix!) Transfer the batter into the prepared muffin tin, mounding the batter up in the middle of each muffin.  Using a small spoon, spoon some of the blueberry jam into the middle of each muffin (I know, it’s a pain, but it’s worth it!)  Use a skewer or a chopstick to swirl the jam around in the muffin, sprinkle with the flavored sugar and get those bad boys in the oven for 15 minutes.