I know. Big whoop. Blueberry muffins. C'mon, Julie. You're totally phoning it in with this recipe.
Or am I?
O.K., well I kind of am.
Just hear me out.....after you look at all of this streusel:
What this recipe may lack in terms of originality, it certainly makes up for in terms of flavor. I know that sounds incredibly cliched, but it's true.
About 8 years ago, I went on a personal kitchen crusade. The purpose of this endeavor? To create "the best" recipes, at least in my opinion, for some of the basics: brownies, banana bread, peanut butter cookies, and yes, blueberry muffins.
I mean, let's be honest here. For every great--or even pretty good--blueberry muffin out there, there are at least a dozen that are dry, tasteless, gummy, overly sweet, or dense as a cinder block. Sometimes, if you are really lucky, you get a muffin that is all of these things rolled into one. It's roughly the size of your head, it contains 3 blueberries, and it apparently has Elmer's Glue as a secret key ingredient due to the way in which it sticks to the roof of your mouth.
I won't go so far to say that a bad blueberry muffin can ruin your day, but it can certainly put you on the expressway to Crankytown. I've been there. It's not nearly as nice as Funkytown.
Everyone should have a never-fail great blueberry muffin recipe up their sleeve(next to their never-fail chocolate chip cookie recipe.) It should be a recipe that you can whip up for overnight guests at a moment's notice, one that wafts an intoxicating aroma throughout the house while baking and, more importantly, impresses the heck out of your mother-in-law.
What it should not be is rocket science. We're talking minimal effort here. These are blueberry muffins, people. No electric mixer required. Ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry and refrigerator (except maybe the blueberries--but seeing as these are blueberry muffins.....) And streusel. Always streusel. You know how I feel about my streusel.
While I was doing my experimenting, I tried recipes that used both butter and oil in the batter. Hands down, the oil created a moister muffin. I didn't use gobs of oil--a mere ⅓ cup--but it still yielded good results and fluffy muffins that don't dry out for days. The muffins themselves are not overly sweet, which is balanced out by the crunchy streusel topping. Adding a generous amount of fresh blueberries, which start to bubble and burst while baking, was a no brainer.
I should add that these are just my idea of the "perfect" blueberry muffin. Others might like them cakier (is that a word?), without streusel (crazy!), or the way that their family has always made them. But, if you aren't married to any one particular recipe, I encourage you to give these a try. You won't be disappointed.
Here are a few extra tips for making these berry best muffins:
- As noted below, this recipe makes extra streusel. I happen to like a generous amount of streusel, but feel free to cut back on it if you do not (or you can eliminate it altogether.) The streusel will also keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to one week.
- If you want to make larger 'bakery-sized" muffins, this recipe should make about 8.
- The muffin batter can be prepared and refrigerated, covered, one day in advance.
- These muffins freeze nicely sealed in zip top bags. Thaw them at room temperature.
Julie's Favorite Blueberry Streusel Muffins
1 ½ cups flour
¾ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large egg
½ cup whole milk
⅓ cup safflower or canola oil
1 ¼ cups fresh blueberries
For the streusel (makes a lot--cut in half if you don't like lots of streusel!)
⅔ cup flour
½ cup sugar
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) butter, cubed
Preheat the oven to 400 F degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners or spray them with nonstick baking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, and oil. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined. Fold in the blueberries. Using an ice cream scoop, fill the muffin cups almost to the top.
For the streusel topping, mix together all ingredients with your fingers, rubbing to make a coarse meal. Sprinkle the streusel over the muffins before baking, pressing lightly to adhere. Bake the muffins for 18-22 minutes or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean. Cool muffins in the pan for five minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.