Monday, April 6, 2015

Chasing Dreams of The Perfect Blueberry Muffin

When I was around eight or nine years old I was invited to my friend Nikki's cottage to stay over for a few nights of pre-teen debauchery. My sister and my mom drove me up and were invited to stay for the day. Us kids spent our day jumping off the dock, playing games, exploring the forest, and making up dance routines to our Alanis Morissett cassette tape. It was one of those perfect summer days that I don't think I will ever forget, and will continually find myself attempting to recreate, nostalgic for that carefree freedom of being a rambunctious nine-year old. Despite our wonderful day full of fun and memories, the only thing my sister can remember is what we ate. Sure my sister Justine was only six or seven years old at the time, making it tricky to remember a random day up north with your sisters friends, but Justine can still remember every little detail about Nikki's mom Darlene's blueberry muffins. 
Ask Justine about those blueberry muffins and the first thing she will say is that they were the best muffins she has ever had in her life. She will then proceed to give a detailed description of the taste, texture, and ratio of blueberries to cake, and will end on a comically sad note, declaring that no other muffin has come close to being as perfect as those muffins on that special day, so many years ago. 
Recently Justine slipped into her wistful retelling of The Great Blueberry Muffins of 1996-ish once again, but this time instead of letting her fall into a pool of self pity at never again having such a moist, sweet, and perfect blueberry muffin (oh the melodrama!) I decided to take matters into my own hands and attempt to recreate more than just the wonderful memory of good friends enjoying a beautiful summer day in nature, I was going to recreate Darlene's muffins! 
Because I hadn't had the muffins since my age was a single digit, the first step in recreating "the best blueberry muffins ever" was finding a recipe that at least looked like Darlene's blueberry muffins. Pinterest came to rescue and led me to a recipe on the blog Yammie's Noshery that looked just like Darlene's. The interior image looked exactly like the pale and fluffy muffins that Justine loved so much, with the same blueberry-to-cake ratio, and even a light dusting of sugar on top just like Darlene's turbinado sugar topping. Though the muffins turned out quite tasty, they still need some work to get them near the caliber we were hoping for. The muffins were a little too sweet, a little too oily, and just a bit too dense. Although these muffins weren't the perfect ones we were hoping for, this recipe is a great start to begin playing with that I feel confident will eventually result in those muffins that Justine remembers so fondly. Below I have included a revised version of the Yammie's Noshery recipe based on my own personal feedback. Please note that I have not tested these alterations yet, I can make no promises on the result! Please give my revisions a try and let me know what you think! And Darlene, if you're reading this, care to share your beloved blueberry muffin recipe with the Rose girls? I think it's clear based on our almost 20-year search for the perfect replica that we will be forever grateful! 

Slightly adapted from Yammie's Noshery
1/2 cup white sugar
1 large egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup fresh blueberries
about 1 Tbsp turbinado sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Grease a standard muffin tin or line with paper liners (or parchment paper as I did in the photo!).
  2. In a large bowl combine the sugar, egg, oil, milk, and vanilla extract until well blended.
  3. In a small bowl stir together the sour cream with the baking powder until dissolved. Stir into the wet ingredients.
  4. Stir the flour and salt into the wet ingredients until just combined. Stir in the blueberries.
  5. Evenly pour the batter into the muffin tin about 3/4 of the way up. Top each muffin with a sprinkle of turbinado sugar and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. 
Listening To:
Alanis Morissette - Hand In My Pocket

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