Monday, November 27, 2017

The BEST Blueberry Buttermilk Streusel Crumble Muffins - Buttery Crispy Crumble with Moist Fluffy Cake Muffin Base HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!

Hi hi! I'm back! And slowly adjusting back into our usual routine...

We had a great holiday but were not feeling entirely well for the last two weeks. Perhaps Melbourne was too cold when we left and had caused us unable to acclimatize well with Bangkok and Singapore heat. Hmmm...

Now back to Melbourne, we crave to eat simple home cooked food and of course, I have started cooking!

How about baking? Oh yes! My hands are itching to bake!!! ... but I'm not super woman enough to do all the unpacking, washing and cooking for the past 2 days and all I can share here is a previously tried-and-tested blueberry muffin recipe that I would HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMEND...

best blueberry buttermilk muffins ever streusel Carole Walter
Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins with Streusel Topping

I can't say that I'm a blueberry muffin expert but I do know the ideal kind of blueberry muffins that I'm after...

I have been searching for blueberry muffin recipes that can make me go WOW! The buttery and moist cake body that fully packed with blueberries and ideally topped with crumbly or crunchy streusel. You know... the kind of mouthful feeling! Among the numerous blueberry muffins recipes that I have tried, I have to say that I found only two really outstanding ones. Which two? I will tell you more later.

Why two? Why not three or more? Perhaps I'm a little too picky to acknowledge the blueberry muffins that I really like. Somehow, after searching and trying numerous blueberry muffins recipes, I cannot imagine finding a recipe that bakes impressive basic blueberry muffins can be so difficult.

You might ask... Why didn't I Google for the "best blueberry muffins"? Yes I did and have tried The Best Blueberry Muffins which has been reviewed by more than 555 bakers with mostly 5 out of 5 stars ratings! True enough that these muffins are nice but I reckon they are pretty basic and ordinary. Well, kind of not so special or spectacular to me...

Subsequently, I found this Blueberriest muffins recipe from the book, The Foster's Market Cookbook by Sara Foster or Epicurious. Blueberriest??? I have to clarify here that I'm not the one who gives this bombastic name to these muffins. Foster's Market did. This gourmet food market and café in North Carolina, USA says that these blueberries muffins are one of the best selling food items in their café but they are dense, compact and don't taste as good as they look. Blueberriest? I don't think so...

After a series of blueberry muffin disappointments, I wonder if there is a recipe that can bake my dreamiest blueberry muffins. Then, fortunately I found this
 recipe from the book, Great coffee cakes, sticky buns, muffins and more by Carole Walter.

And these blueberry muffins are totally SPOT ON!!! When I had my first bite of these muffins, it just simply blew me... Its buttery plus a little salty streusel topping is crumbly with a satisfying crunch. Followed by every mouthful of blueberry bursting cake-like muffin base that is so moist, buttery and juicy. Just simply heavenly!!!

So now you know... THIS is one of the two really outstanding blueberry muffins recipes that I mentioned earlier and the other one is actually the recipe from Bouchon Bakery at here. The Donna Hay's ones are dead easy to bake but they are not as moist as these. 

If you are a blueberry muffin lover like me, YOU MUST BAKE THIS RECIPE! You will happy to know that baking these outstanding muffins is easy and this is how I baked mine...

First, I made the streusel.
Instead of using cold butter, this recipe uses melted and cooled butter

... and can make this streusel SO GOOD!!!

Next, I'm mixing the cake batter.

Another interesting step...
Instead of using softened butter, this recipe requires the use of slightly firm butter.
To mix, place cut butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment.

Add lemon zest and mix with medium speed until smooth...
... or lightened in colour.
Then I did these.
... followed by more mix mix mix.

While mixing, I asked myself... Why do I have to use firm butter? Why do I have to add sugar in a steady stream? Although I can't really say that I know the actual reasons, I can guess that the recipe actually prefer to make the muffin batter to be rather cooled and firm without over-creaming the butter and sugar mixture. Why firm muffin batter? ... because the firm batter can "lock-in" the juices of cooked blueberries without having any leaky juice that will alter the overall buttery taste and texture of the muffins??? I don't know... It's just my wild guess. Nevertheless, I like to stick to this concept of baking these muffins.

Instead of mixing the blueberries and batter together in a mixing bowl, they were combined when they distributed into the baking cups.
... after baking.
best blueberry buttermilk muffins ever streusel Carole Walter
I'm all ready to feast on this muffin...
best blueberry buttermilk muffins
Wow... They are SUPER YUMMY!

... especially if you compare these buttery and juicy blueberry muffins to these...

The so-called blueberriest muffins baked from the recipe in the book, The Foster's Market Cookbook.
Made with lots of blueberries but not berri-licious!
So dense, bland and gummy!!! Yucks!
The best blueberry muffins baked from the recipe at here.
These muffins are ok but I can't say that they are the best because they are pretty ordinary.

Seeing how I have been searching in vain and finally found a real good blueberry muffin recipe, I hope that you have realised that this Carole Walter's recipe is totally worth baking. So why wait? Go on... BAKE THESE MUFFINS!

My apology that I don't have a video to show you how I baked these yummy muffins. Nevertheless, I like to bake these muffins again... with other berries and another technique that doesn't require an electric mixer and of course, using the same concept. So stay tune if you are interested.

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Here's the recipe that is adapted from the book, Great coffee cakes, sticky buns, muffins and more by Carole Walter or at here and here

Makes 14 standard or 12 slightly larger 1/3 cup-size muffins

For the streusel:
75g (1/2 cup) all-purpose flour
50g (1/4 cup) caster sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
60g unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature

Note: This is half the amount of the original recipe. If you don't mind more consuming more streusel with of course, MORE butter and sugar, please feel free to use the original amount which is double of this amount that I have used.

For the muffins:
260g (1 3/4 cup) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
150g (1 1/3 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly firm
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
100g (1/2 cup) caster sugar (original was 150g, 3/4 cup)
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
120ml (1/2 cup) buttermilk or plain yogurt with no added sugar and 4% fat
1 1/2 cups frozen or fresh blueberries*

*Wash and dry the berries well if you are using the fresh ones. Do not thaw if you are using frozen berries.

To make the streusel:
In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, salt together. Add butter into the mixture and stir with a fork until the mixture looks crumbly. Using your fingetips hands, squeeze the mixture gently together to form larger lumps, then break them apart. Allow the streusel to stand for about 15 mins before using.

To bake the muffins:
Preheat the oven to 190°C / 375°F. Line muffin pan with 12 muffin cups with 12-14 paper cupcake liners.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Cut the butter into 2-3 cm (1 inch) pieces and place in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add lemon zest and mix on medium speed until smooth and lightened in color, about 1 min. While mixing, add sugar in a steady stream, then mix in the egg and vanilla, scraping down the side of the bowl as needed.

From this step onward, reduce the mixer speed to low or use a spatula to mix. Sift and mix in one-third of the flour mixture, then stir in half of the buttermilk. Repeat this sifting and mixing step with the remaining flour mixture and buttermilk, mixing the remaining one-third of the flour mixture last. Mix well after each addition until mixture is just combined. Do not over-mix.

Divide batter into half and then 12-14 portions and scoop each portion into the prepared pan. Distribute blueberries evenly over the batter, then place the remaining half of the batter on top of the berries. It’s okay for the blueberries to show. Divide streusel topping into 12-14 portions and crumble each portion over the batter and berries. Press gently to adhere. Use a small pastry brush to brush off any stray crumbs from the top of the muffin pan if required.

Bake for 25 to 30 mins (must be at least 30 mins if you are using frozen blueberries) or until the streusel topping is golden brown. To ensure even baking, towards the end of baking time, rotate the pans top to bottom and front to back. Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool slightly for 10 mins and transfer the muffins onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Enjoy them when they are slightly warm or completely cooled to room temperature. Both are as good! The top of the streusel topping is actually extra delicious being crispy when the muffins are freshly baked. SO YUM!!!

Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days. To freeze, wrap each muffin in freezer bag and store in a freezer for up to 3 months. 

Happy Baking
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