Monday, February 08, 2010

Blueberry Muffins in the Window

Muffin batter en la ventana.

I'm definitely not a baker, but there's something about blizzards that calls me to do a little baking. After a bit of partying last night, I suddenly found the urge for some kind of baked something or other. Maybe some biscuits? Or buttermilk rolls? Something hot and ready for butter to go with some bacon and eggs.

Bust open my notes and oh, those need at least an hour or more to proof. Forget that. Hmmm, pancakes? Not really. Cinnamon rolls? Can't find the recipe. Croissants? Shah, right! How about something that is quick and easy and doesn't require serious commitment on my part? Muffin batter is pretty simple, and I've got some blueberries on hand.

It's a simple recipe of:

8z AP flour, 4z sugar
2tsp baking powder, 1tsp salt
2 large eggs (2z)
8z milk
4z melted butter
freshly grated lemon zest
lots of blueberries

Mix the dry and wet ingredients separately then whisk together until the dry ingredients have become wet. Add the zest and the blueberries, pour into molds and pop into a 350F oven for thirty minutes.

Finished blueberry muffins cooling by la ventana.

Since I was young and my aunt would bring me freshly baked blueberry muffins from Boston's Jordan Marsh, I was hooked. There's nothing like the zesty and tangy acidity of the blueberry matched with butter and sugar sweetness. Slather more butter on a hot blueberry muffin and it's heavenly.

The key is to find really great blueberries that are fresh and in-season. Of course, in the midst of a blizzard in February, there's nary a fresh blueberry field to be found in Maryland and the "fresh" blueberries at Wegman's have probably been flown in from Western Africa or Ecuador. So much for local.

Luckily, I've got a stash of local, seasonal blueberries from Reid Orchards that I IQF'd and vac bagged back in the summer at their peak of flavor. As I raided the box freezer, I was alarmed to find that my larder is running dangerously low - so much for winter blueberry muffins at the new Spro in Hampden.

After resolving to process and preserve an incredible amount of produce this summer so we don't happen upon this predicament in 2011, I grab a bag of the blueberries, rip it open and go to town liberally spraying the unsuspecting batter with individually quick frozen blueberries.

Into the oven they go and thirty minutes later, they're golden and blazingly hot. Drop them onto a cooling tray while I french press a pot of Barefoot Coffee's Amaro Gayo Ethiopia - a coffee that's loved by my staff for its rich and deep berry notes, and a perfect match to the muffins.

After five minutes (okay, I can't wait any longer), the muffins are still hot and loaded with buttery goodness. And since I'm drinking coffee with a berry character to bolster the flavor experience, why not bolster that buttery-ness with a little more butter on top? So good!

Maybe I'll venture out into the cold wilderness later.

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