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New England Blueberry Muffins
By Charlie Burke

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There are innumerable recipes for blueberry muffins, but my wife Joanne settled
on this family favorite long ago. One of many touted as the “original” recipe for
the famous blueberry muffins from Boston’s Jordan Marsh department store, it
is, nonetheless, the best we have found and one of the most frequently requested
by friends.

A simple recipe with no secret or unusual addition, its success lies in the use of
good ingredients such as fresh local eggs and local blueberries in proper
proportions. Quick, easy and bursting with the flavor of blueberries, these
muffins make a great New England breakfast, especially when paired with
smoked bacon from a local smokehouse.

Last night, within a few degrees of our first frost, we had our first fire in the
woodstove, but we will continue to have abundant blueberries on our late crop
varieties until the first hard freeze. These late berries are quite tart and balance
well with the sweetness of these muffins.

For twelve muffins:

½ cup butter
2 cups flour (we use King Arthur unbleached all purpose)
1 ¼ cups sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for the muffin tops
2 large eggs
½ cup milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 ½ cups blueberries.
Zest of 1 lemon (optional)

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

With the mixer on slow, cream the butter and sugar until they are fluffy. Add the
eggs, one at a time, and mix until they are well blended. Add the lemon zest, if
using.

With the mixer on slow, sift the dry ingredients and add them, alternating with
half the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.

Mash ½ cup of the blueberries and mix them with the batter by hand. Add the
whole berries and stir them in by hand, or skip mashing the ½ cup and mix in all
the berries whole.

Grease a muffin tin, including the top, with the butter (the batter will spill onto
the top during baking). Pile the batter high in each cup of the tin and sprinkle
the sugar over the tops.

Bake the muffins at 375 degrees for 25 – 30 minutes, testing with a toothpick or
wooden skewer for doneness. The muffins should cool in the tin on a rack for 25
minutes before they are served.

I am not sure why these muffins seem so much better than similar recipes, but,
whenever Joanne has tried another, she always returns to this one. I had thought
the mashed blueberries explained the moistness of the muffins, but Joanne often
adds all the berries whole with no discernible difference. Probably, it’s simply
the fact that she uses a generous pint of berries for twelve muffins. The only
change she has made over time is the addition of lemon zest because we find the
flavors of lemon and blueberries so compatible. Give this recipe a try while fresh
local berries are still available, but it is nearly as good with frozen berries, so
buy extra and freeze a few bags for the winter.

About the author: An organic farmer and avid cook, writer Charlie Burke is the vice
president of the
New Hampshire Farmer's Market Association, president of the NH Farm
to Restaurant Connection and helps run the Sanbornton (NH) Farmers' Market.  Along
with his wife, Joanne, Charlie grows certified organic herbs, greens and berries at Weather
Hill Farm in Sanbornton, NH.  
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New England Blueberry Muffins Photo by Charlie Burke
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