MAKES 12 MUFFINS
1/3 cup (21/3 ounces) sugar
1½ teaspoons finely grated zest from 1 lemon
2 cups (about 10 ounces) fresh blueberries, picked over
1 1/8 cups (8 ounces) plus 1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 cups (12½ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk (see note)
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
Note: If buttermilk is unavailable, substitute 3/4 cup plain whole-milk or low-fat yogurt thinned with 1/4 cup milk.
1. FOR THE TOPPING: Stir together sugar and lemon zest in small bowl until combined; set aside.
2. FOR THE MUFFINS: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray standard muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Bring 1 cup blueberries and 1 teaspoon sugar to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing berries with spoon several times and stirring frequently, until berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced to ¼ cup, about 6 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.
3. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl. Whisk remaining 11/8 cups sugar and eggs together in medium bowl until thick and homogeneous, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in butter and oil until combined. Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla until combined. Using rubber spatula, fold egg mixture and remaining cup blueberries into flour mixture until just moistened. (Batter will be very lumpy with few spots of dry flour; do not overmix.)
4. Following photos above, use ice cream scoop or large spoon to divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups (batter should completely fill cups and mound slightly). Spoon teaspoon of cooked berry mixture into center of each mound of batter. Using chopstick or skewer, gently swirl berry filling into batter using figure-eight motion. Sprinkle lemon sugar evenly over muffins.
5. Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm, 17 to 19 minutes, rotating muffin tin from front to back halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving.
BEST BLUEBERRY MUFFINS WITH FROZEN BLUEBERRIES
Note: Our preferred brands of frozen blueberries are Wyman’s and Cascadian Farm.
Follow recipe for Best Blueberry Muffins, substituting 2 cups frozen berries for fresh. Cook 1 cup berries as directed in step 2. Rinse remaining cup berries under cold water and dry well. In step 3, toss dried berries in flour mixture before adding egg mixture. Proceed with recipe from step 4 as directed.
BEST BLUEBERRY MUFFINS WITH STREUSEL TOPPING
Follow recipe for Best Blueberry Muffins, omitting Lemon-Sugar Topping. Prepare streusel by combining 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar, pinch table salt, and ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons (3½ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour in small bowl. Drizzle with 5 tablespoons warm, melted unsalted butter and toss with fork until evenly moistened and mixture forms large chunks with some pea-sized pieces throughout. Proceed with recipe as directed, sprinkling streusel topping over muffins before baking.
BEST BLUEBERRY MUFFINS WITH ORANGE GLAZE
Follow recipe for Best Blueberry Muffins, omitting Lemon-Sugar Topping. Add 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest to egg mixture in step 3. Proceed with recipe as directed, sprinkling 4 teaspoons turbinado sugar over muffins before baking. While muffins cool, whisk together 1 cup confectioners’ sugar and 1½ tablespoons orange juice until smooth. Drizzle each cooled muffin with 2 teaspoons glaze before serving.
BEST BLUEBERRY MUFFINS WITH ALMOND CRUNCH TOPPING
Follow recipe for Best Blueberry Muffins, omitting Lemon-Sugar Topping. In step 1, combine 1/3 cup finely ground almonds and 4 teaspoons turbinado sugar; set aside. In step 3, add 1/3 cup finely ground almonds to flour mixture. Proceed with recipe as directed, adding 1 teaspoon almond extract with vanilla extract in step 3 and sprinkling almond topping over muffins before baking.
STEP-BY-STEP MAKING MUFFINS WITH BLUEBERRY FLAVOR THROUGH AND THROUGH
1. MAKE BERRY JAM Cook half of fresh blueberries into thick jam to concentrate their flavor and eliminate excess moisture.
2. ADD FRESH BERRIES
Stir 1 cup of fresh blueberries into batter to provide juicy bursts in every bite.
3. PORTION BATTER
Scoop batter into muffin pans, completely filling cups.
4. ADD JAM TO BATTER
Place 1 teaspoon of cooled berry jam in center of each batter-filled cup, pushing it below surface.
5. SWIRL INTO BATTER
Using chopstick or skewer, swirl jam to spread berry flavor throughout.