Lemon and blueberry muffins

Recently, I decided I wasn’t busy enough so I hosted a brunch party for eight people.  (To be fair, I’d planned it before my life randomly got crazy.)  I chose a collection of varied recipes that I’d been gathering for ages and naturally made them all between the hours of midnight and 11 am the next day (with a short break for sleeping).  So, expect to see a variety of these over the next few weeks.  I absolutely LOVE brunch recipes and am constantly gathering them with the hopes of being able to make them for groups of people.  I think every brunch should include at least one egg dish and then at least three sweet dishes.  Muffins are always a great choice for a brunch table because you can make them beforehand and they can be eaten at any point throughout the meal – they are a great appetiser, side, or dessert-y type item.

Although I love traditional blueberry or chocolate chip muffins, I’m always looking for new and a bit non-traditional recipes, and this one looked perfect.  I love anything Smitten Kitchen and anything citrusy, so I knew it would be a winner.  The combination of fresh berries with the amazing lemon zest in the batter yielded a moist, perfectly balanced muffin that wasn’t too sweet and had a great juicy burst from the blueberries.  Aside from the small time investment grating lemon peel, they are remarkably easy to put together and thus are a perfect addition for your next brunch party!

Lemon and blueberry muffins (adapted from the always spectacular Smitten Kitchen)

Ingredients

1 1/8 cups sugar, divided
4 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel (from two large lemons)
2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick or about 100 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk (if you just have normal milk then squeeze about a tablespoon of lemon juice into a cup of it and let it stand for 5 mins)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

A few containers of fresh blueberries – the original recipe called for raspberries but blueberries were on sale so blueberries it was.  Blackberries would be lovely with this too!

Preheat oven to 190 C / 375 F.  Line about 12 standard muffin cups (you may need more) or all the mini muffin trays you own (and you’ll have to make multiple batches, but I always go mini because they are just cuter even though they are more time consuming).    Mash 1/8 cup sugar and the lemon peel in small bowl until sugar is slightly moist.  Cream the butter with the remaining cup of sugar in a large bowl until smooth.  Beat in the egg, followed by the buttermilk and vanilla extract.  Stir in your yummy lemon sugar mixture and then toss in the salt and baking powder.  Finish off the batter by mixing in the flour until it’s smooth.

Divide the batter among muffin cups (the 2/3-3/4 level worked well for minis).  If you’re making large muffins, top with several berries, and if you’re making minis, top with just one berry.  I found mine sunk right into the batter so I actually topped mine with an extra blueberry right when I removed them from the pan when they were still warm.   Bake muffins until lightly browned on top and a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes for large muffins and 15-20 minutes (but could be shorter so check!) for mini muffins. Eat warm or let cool – they are delicious either way.

IMG_5729Making the lemon sugar

IMG_5730Adding the egg to the creamed butter and sugar

IMG_5731Adding the buttermilk, vanilla extract, and lemon sugar

IMG_5732Add the dry ingredients to finish off your batter

IMG_5733Muffins topped with blueberries ready to go into the oven

IMG_5737Adorable (if I do say so myself) finished product

The lemon in these muffins is amazing and gives it just the right tangy hit.  I don’t like a muffin that is too sweet (then you have to call it a cupcake, duh), and this was a perfect treat for the end (or middle) of brunch after a savoury egg dish.   I would make these again in a heartbeat – Smitten Kitchen has its muffin recipes down pat.  So yummy!

One year ago: Flourless chocolate cookies

 

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