Alex Guarnaschelli: The Only Blueberry Muffin Recipe You’ll Ever Need
Courtesy Alex Guarnaschelli
Alex Guarnaschelli is an Iron Chef, Food Network celebrity chef, author of Old-School Comfort Food and the executive chef at New York City’s Butter restaurants. Read her PEOPLE.com blog every Tuesday to get her professional cooking tips, family-favorite recipes and personal stories of working in front of the camera and behind the kitchen doors. Follow her on Twitter at @guarnaschelli.
I feel like everywhere I look there is a fruit salad or fruit medley. But I am one of those people who picks the fruit I want out of the entire mix. I bypass the anemic cantaloupe and honeydew to dig in the bottom of the bowl for all of the blueberries. It can be a bit awkward to hang around the fruit plate for about 10 minutes dig them out. But I do it!
When I cook, I tend to focus on just one fruit. In the summer months, this is easy. I love strawberries. But strawberries are just an amusing interlude before the blueberries arrive. They are my all-time favorite, and these Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins make the perfect July breakfast.
My mother is a New England gal, and I always marveled at the way she ate these muffins. While my father and I have been known to eat them as is or piled high with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, my mother would put hers into a bowl and pour some heavy cream on it — almost like a moat around a castle. The unsweetened cream, in its purest state, really highlights the spices and blueberries themselves.
Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins
Makes 12 muffins or 1 6-cup loaf pan
½ cup pecan halves, tightly packed
⅓ cup light brown sugar
1½ cups all-purpose flour
⅔ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground ginger
1 tbsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into slices, chilled plus additional for greasing the pan
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ cup whole milk
1½ cups blueberries
1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. In a small bowl, combine the pecans and brown sugar. Pour half of the nut mixture into the bottom of each (greased) muffin cup and spread it out in an even layer. Set aside.
3. Make the batter: In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder and salt. Stir to blend. Work the slices of butter with your fingers until integrated. Stir in the egg and milk and whisk to combine. Use a wooden spoon to gently stir in the blueberries. Pour the batter evenly into each muffin cup and sprinkle each with the remaining nut mixture. Place in the center of the oven.
4. Bake and serve: Bake for about 12–15 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the middle of one muffin comes out batter-free. When these muffins are unmolded, the added surprise is that wonderful pecan sugar bottom. Grate a light layer of the zest from the lemon over the top of each. Serve plain or with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, a dollop of sour cream or straight heavy cream.
Blueberries don’t always have to be baked into a cake or muffins. I love them simply poured over some ricotta with a sprinkle of sugar (for texture). I love simmering fresh blueberries in a scoop of blueberry jam on the stove until they burst slightly and then pour it right over some sturdy sourdough toast. There is also a local bakery that makes a blueberry tart that seems as if it has 2 pounds of berries piled on a small tart shell with pastry cream.
I’m thinking that it’s time for me to stop writing about blueberries and take some action! How does a freshly made waffle with a drizzle of maple syrup, salted butter and some fresh blueberries sound to you?