Monday, July 6, 2009

Blueberry Muffins (and other blueberry delights)

Ever since we got back from our 4th of July trip, I've been washing, sorting, and freezing blueberries. We went out to a blueberry farm in Canton and picked 2 gallons of blueberries.

So far, I've frozen about 20 cups worth of blueberries, but saved some to make blueberry pancakes (made 'em from a mix, and threw the berries in while they cooked on the griddle),

blueberry cobbler, and blueberry muffins...yum!

I'd made blueberry muffins from scratch before, but they were too delicate, and fell apart just getting them out of the muffin tin. I'd seen Alton Brown's recipe before, and knew I wanted to try it.

There are a few things you should know before you make an Alton Brown recipe. First of all, he doesn't measure by volume when he's baking, he measures by weight. This makes a difference, because baking is a science, and requires precise measuring. You can add a little more or little less when your cooking, but you really can't do that in baking.

So, if you don't have a kitchen scale, you will have to go get one before you make these muffins. When you measure out the flour, weight the bowl you're using first--put it on the scale and "zero the scale." This way, you're only weighing the flour, not the bowl and the flour together.

I read all the reviews for Alton's recipe on Food Network. A number of people said their muffins came out dry and heavy--I am guessing it's because they didn't weigh the flour, used all purpose flour (instead of cake flour) or their baking powder/baking soda was too old, and didn't react with the rest of the batter to help it rise in the oven. My advise is to follow the recipe exactly, and if in doubt, throw out your baking powder and baking soda and buy fresh replacements.

You can use all purpose flour if you don't want to buy cake flour, but you will have to adjust your recipe slightly. For every cup of cake flour, substitute 7/8 of a cup of all purpose flour and 2 tablespoons cornstarch. I haven't tried this yet, as I usually have cake flour on hand, so if you try it, please let me know how it worked :-).

One more thing...I didn't use cupcake liners, although I was tempted. I am glad I didn't...the muffins had a nice crust all the way around (not just on the top), and browned beautifully. My oven runs a tad hot, so I baked mine for 24 minutes at 360 degrees, and it was just right.

I made 2 dozen muffins, some to eat (David took some into work today), and some to freeze for later. What do you think?

I can honestly say I really liked this recipe...and will definitely try it again.

God bless your table tonight!

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