12 August 2014

Nigella Challenge: Blueberry Muffins

You can't go past a good muffin. But the thing is, a good muffin is hard to find. Those giant, mass-produced, fat and sugar laden cafe staples are always disappointing. And really, there is no excuse, because a muffin is the easiest thing to make and they're on the healthier end of the baked goods spectrum (lack of butter, half the sugar of biscuits, etc...). Basically, it is not hard to make a good muffin.

Be warned, these look nothing like the giant cafe ones (though you could invest in a Texan muffin tin and adjust your cooking times) but they taste far superior. These are best fresh out of the oven, but they keep reasonably well for a few days in an airtight container (a few seconds in the microwave will warm them again if you like).

I also suggest you use fresh blueberries when they're in season (indeed, any berry in season or a mixture, as this is a great base muffin recipe), but frozen would do just fine. This isn't too extravagant as they only use 1-2 punnets. If you use frozen, don't defrost them before adding to the batter or you'll end up with green-hued muffins. I have made a gluten free version of these with great success too, but depending on the flour you use you made need to add a little more or less, so tread carefully.

Lastly, the most important thing for a great muffin is not to over mix. The idea is to just combine the ingredients - there will be lumps! Over mixing is what makes a muffin tough.

  • 75g butter, melted
  • 1 1/3 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 200ml buttermilk (OR 100g plain yoghurt and 100ml milk)
  • 1 egg
  • 200g blueberries
Preheat oven to 200C and line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases or grease well.

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. In a jug, combine the wet ingredients. Pour this into the dry ingredients and gently mix. Add the blueberries, mixing until just combined (remember - too much, and you'll have a tough muffin).

Divide mixture among muffin tin (an ice cream scoop is handy, other wise the old spoon and spatula combo). Bake for 20 minutes until risen and golden.

You could eat these lathered with butter and jam for breakfast or brunch (its delicious) or enjoy them as are, warm or cool. As for variations, I've made a blackberry and apple version, and the cafe classic raspberry and white chocolate.