Monday, April 25, 2016

Not Bluffin' with my Muffin

They really are the best muffins in the world
 Our next big holiday on the horizon is Mother's Day, so I'll say these muffins are perfect for a Mother's Day brunch.  They are also perfect for any special occasion brunch.  I first made these over Christmas last year and they instantly became a favorite.  Christmas was a little weird this year but ended up being one tube top short of a white trash rager.  It was a lot of fun.  In fact, I think those of us who imbibed would agree it was too much fun.  Christmas Eve dinner started around 7PM and ended around 3AM.  Around 12:30, I thought to myself uuuuhhh I should really go to bed as I'm having a brunch for 27 in 48 hours. I didn't listen to myself.  So while many of you good people were going to church or taking an invigorating Christmas morning walk, I was rapidly rehydrating and pleading with the horizon to stop shaking.  It's a good thing full moon Christmas Eves are rare.
Barbie protected the muffins from freeloading squirrels

Anyway, I got a very late start on my December 27 brunch prep.  I powered through and did manage to pretend I had my shit together and serve within an hour of arrival.  I panicked when one of my uncles arrived fifteen minutes early and I was vacuuming unshowered, but I just pretended I didn't see him and let him wait.  Allow me to amend my brunch rules and say if you're a guest, do not arrive early.  The hospitality is not switched on until the party starts and the MSDE are in full force.  I am always early to everything but I refuse to ring a doorbell a minute before invited.  Drive around the block and judge Christmas decorations or look in the neighbor's windows like a civilized person. 

One time saving measure I used was to combine banana bread and blueberry muffins into one.  It was about 2:30AM the morning of my brunch and I was still up prepping, nowhere from done (I had only started about 11PM which still included many Christmas Eve dish washing).  I made about 55 muffins and they were consumed rapidly.  They are seriously, seriously good.  I think I've had six or seven brunches since then and these have appeared at each one.  This recipe does make a lot of muffins, about 30, and that's because it's another muffin recipe thinned considerably by a generous banana mash and extra blueberries.  I'm sure you could cut it down if you wanted, but I haven't tried.  Steam is an important ingredient in this recipe as the batter is very wet.  So think of it like a pie crust: you want cold dough/batter to meet a hot oven and cause the butter to steam as it melts.  These muffins have a wonderful texture and are not the least bit dry, though the sugar topping does give them a crackled top.  Because the batter is very wet, muffins sticking to liners can be a problem.  I use these parchment liners and never have a problem.  They are on Amazon for about $4, but they are half the price at the grocery store.  So buy them there if you remember. I use these muffin pans and like them very much (cheaper on Amazon than at Kroger).

Banana Bread Blueberry Muffins
Makes a shitload of muffins.  About 33.
3 1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 cups blueberries
2 3/4 granulated sugar
6 very ripe bananas
1 cup buttermilk
1 8oz bar cream cheese
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, room temperature
1 egg + 2 egg yolks
1/4 cup whiskey
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 Tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Make banana mash.  In large bowl, mash peeled bananas gently (you want banana chunks to remain) with 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 cup whiskey.  Set aside.

2. Make muffin batter base.  In electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter, cream cheese, and 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar until mixture is voluminous which is about three minutes.  Add egg and yolks, and mix another minute until fully incorporated.  Begin to add flour, cinnamon and nutmeg, salt, and baking powder.  Add dry mixture to mixing bowl in thirds, adding milk and vegetable oil between batches.  Start and end with dry ingredients.  Mix only until combined.  Be very careful not to overmix.  Set aside.

3. In medium bowl, mix blueberries, 1/4 cup flour, and 1/4 cup granulated sugar.  Set aside. 

4. In largest bowl, containing banana mash, add muffin batter.  Fold in with flat spatula.  Once banana mash and muffin batter are combined, fold in blueberries with flat spatula quickly.  Fold judiciously as to not encourage the blueberries to bleed into the batter. 

5.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.  Sorry, yes, this is important. 

6. The next morning, preheat oven to 375 on convection bake if your oven has the option.

7. Make sugar topping.  In medium bowl, combine 1/4 cup dark brown sugar and 1/4 cup granulated sugar. 

8.  Spoon muffin batter into lined muffin tins.  Top each scoop with sugar mixture and spread over top with fingers. 


9. Bake about 30-35 minutes.  Allow to cool.  Muffins may deflate in cooling, that's okay.  

My favorite whiskey is a Columbus, Ohio gem.  I prefer to bake with frozen
blueberries. 



47 comments:

  1. You were up that late and still managed to make all those muffins and a brunch? I am impressed...well done!
    The older I get the more sleep that I need and I have been told we need less but so far I need more...
    Do the squirrels tease Barbie?
    I bet she loves chasing after them...

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    1. Oh it was not impressive! I was exhausted! I function on little sleep but find I feel so so so so so much better if I sleep more. But to sleep I must go to bed early as I cannot sleep in the morning. Yes, Barbie is constantly being antagonized by one squirrel in particular. Though I'm worried as Barbie is getting closer and closer to catching him!

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  2. You are such a pet, dear Stephen. I like you even more now I have read the muffin backstory. You deserved a medal. Totally agree re guests arriving early! I am pretty organised, BUT like the guests to be 'on time'. I love your posts and usually just lurk and don't comment. Xx

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    1. Thank you so much! It was funny because usually if someone comes early it's not that big of a deal but for this brunch I just couldn't handle it! I did so much less prep than usual! But it all came together somehow.

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  3. Dang that recipe sounds good. 15 minutes early- you could have opened the door and thrown a muffin at him ( hope he is good at catching) and told him eat this and come back in 15 minutes when the doors open. Just kidding!

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    1. Haha I was tempted! Thank you! Please let me know if you make them and how they turn out for you!

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  4. Your food presentation is always so attractive.

    I'm sad because it's Anzac day here and I'm watching Band of Brothers, after Game of Thrones. I baked a chocolate cake, went for a long walk, did all my ironing and now I'd better get my skates on for the week ahead.

    Love the sound of your crazy party! xx

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    1. Thank you FF! Your rose cake was beautiful and I'd like some and would make a rose and orange martinis to accompany it.

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  5. I wish I had one of those right now. Yum!!!

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    1. They are so good! I know you don't cook much but you can do these!

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  6. It's not that I can't bake but I have no self control with food and eat the whole thing at one sitting. I am like a bulimic who forgets to throw up. So I will just have to give my local deli your recipe and buy only three to taste!

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    1. Hahaha yes I always say I'm a procrastinating bulimic though I get in big trouble with that little joke so usually I murmur it under my breath. Make these and just give them away! You will be so satisfied with yourself and it's a pity to miss out on the luscious (yes I'm going to use that word) aroma in the house!

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    2. Ha! Now I know what to call myself--a procrastinating bulimic! If my metabolism ever slows down I'm in trouble, but so far it's holding on. I try to avoid situations where 33 people would expect food from me, but I think I'll save the recipe in case I have to bring food somewhere else. It looks like a very impressive muffin.

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  7. What a terrific recipe, I wasn't expecting the whiskey but I like it. I'm strictly gluten free but I'm going to do some selfless baking and get these on the go for the weekend. Putting together the batter the night before is a bonus, that would be a ton of bowls and things to wash the morning of a brunch. 3am? Your family sounds very fun would they like to adopt a 45yo Canadian? Love this thank you SAJ. XOX

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    1. Dani you are welcome any time! You're originally from Ohio anyway aren't you? We might be long lost cousins as I'm related to everyone in Ohio it seems. This would adapt perfectly well to being gluten free. If you're feeling like you'd like an experiment, try it with a flour alternative and let me know how it goes. I think it will translate seamlessly. now I'm so curious I might need to try.

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    2. Dani is from OHIO? How did I not know this?

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    3. Well not quite but I grew up in Amherstburg and across Lake Erie we have a perfect view of the Fermi 2 Nuclear plant in Ohio...maybe that gives me some Ohio cred? ;) xx

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  8. Oh you are killin me as I start my low carb diet so I can squeeze myself into a dress for a black tie event in 2 weeks!! Oh muffins!!!!got to get rid of my muffin top - LOL

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    1. I know I'm so sorry! But the good news is that these are seasonless as the ingredients are standard and always available. So make them the morning after the event!

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  9. As I have decided as of YESTERDAY I want to eat at HOME and be in MY GARDEN for THAT DAY I think I will send to FIRST BORN SON and see if HE will make the GF version for ME!I decided the BOY's should each prepare a food item and bring HOME to MAMA!THIS WILL DO!I will SET the TABLE........as I like doing that with a few PINK glasses.............XX

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    1. Your plan sounds perfect to me! I will email you a pdf of the recipe when I get home so you can easily send it along to your son! Please tel him to report back how the GF version goes! If anyone else wants a pdf just ask

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  10. You know what I don't understand, showing up for a party, I too am always early and then wait for 15 minutes to ring doorbell and the hosts aren't close to being ready. Waiting another 45 minutes is wrong, am I right?
    I do not cook and I do not bake but I read and save recipes just in case. Just in case what I do not know. But being the wonderful daughter I think I will try this and buy a box of Tastykakes as a fall back.

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    1. Haha this makes me laugh because, yes, you are right. In an ideal world. But combining cooking and entertaining is hard to master without trial by fire, so I think people are entitled to some rocky parties while they work out the kinks. The hardest part is pretending it's all fabulous because if the host is frazzled beyond repair then the party is poisoned. i love this comment because it inspires me to write a post about the last hour of prep and the first hour of a party.
      If it's the same friends that always struggle but keep hosting and it all works out in the end, just don't arrive too hungry and since you're always early tell them you'll bring the ice and will set up drinks.
      You can make these, I promise! Just don't overlook the parchment liners, they are very important! Good luck and let me know how it goes! Would you like a printable pdf? I was going to embed it on this post but couldn't figure out how to after five minutes and have no patience with computers :)

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  11. Well, my blueberry story is a sad one. The truth is I HATED blueberries until about age 50 because I had never (and I do mean never) had a fresh picked berry. We went to a berry picking farm and I absolutely fell in love with fresh blueberries, which are completely different than the ones in the store. Who knew? So I am happy to say I will LOVE making this recipe, as I have fresh blueberries ripening outside as we speak! And I am impressed with your being able to stay up incredibly late drinking yet still pull off an amazing family gathering. You are a total badass, my friend. I have trouble pulling it all together on an "8 hours of sleep" night lol.

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    1. Oh you are so so right! There is no comparison between real blueberries and grocery blueberries! You might opt to use a little less cinnamon as to let your homegrown blueberries' flavor shine. Haha well I can pull it off, but at great expense the following days! Especially around the holidays. Usually I'm ready for bed by 11 but during holiday prep I will glance at the clock expecting 8PM and it's like 3AM! I definitely go into a holiday trance. I'm screwed if I stay up later than midnight since I wake up early and can't sleep in the morning.
      Please let me know if you make the muffins!!

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  12. thanks for the link to MSDE. that has to be one of my v favorite posts you've ever written.

    these sound incredibly good. i usually host a mothers day brunch for me and my daughter's in laws and their mothers and even a wayward friend or 2 who is a mother but i'd really love to see the day where i'm treated to a sit down brunch. my paralyzing perfectionism makes this day an awful lot of work for myself and for once i'd like out of it. your platters look amazing!!! xo

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    1. Thank you so much! Good for you! I get that. Sometimes I ask myself why can't I just order pizza and serve it on china but I just can't do it! Well if you decide to do it after all, these are easy and can be prepped up to two days before (though I think one day before is optimal) and then just popped in the oven that morning. And I think they could adjust to vegan with some tweaking.

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  13. well duh.
    I left a comment to you on my email notification of this post. and I don't think you can see those.
    I said wonderful things like I love the gorgeous presentation of them on the fresh grass with flowers... and that the cute little squirrel~guard deserves a muffin dad. did she get one?
    and that style is your middle name.
    but then... I love your name! it's already stylish.
    I think I said all that. but I won't say it all again here. i'm tired now.
    I just wish I HAD A DAMN MUFFIN!
    xo♥

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    1. Haha thank you so much! No, I can't see email replies. I'm sorry to tell you that Barbie gets no people food ever! Well, occasionally she gets a little bit of bacon. I always say I'm like one of those 400 pound stage moms who eats Krispy kremes while strictly monitoring my kid's diet. Haha but it really is for her benefit :) thank you so much!! I love my name, too. Especially because my mom picked Stephen as her child's name when she was like ten years old and carried it that long! And Andrew was my grandmother's favorite name so my mom gave me Andrew for her.

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    2. i am SO GLAD you don't give barbie people food.
      you will have her in your life for a LONG time probably simply because of JUST THAT! it's the truth.

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  14. I tell people that I am married to the Muffin Man. Not from scratch, but fresh baked and altered with fresh ingredients added (cinnamon muffins with apple and cranberries ... yum!) I've tried a bunch of scratch-baked muffin recipes, usually resulting in disappointment. This one will be attempted, and I will report on the results. Thank you!

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    1. Oh I love a doctored mix. One of my favorite cakes is a Betty Crocker dump cake where you take a cake mix and add extra butter and alcohol and nutmeg and bake it over cherry pie and peach filling! It has to be from the can! I've tried to make it from scratch and it's way better the atomic way. Please let me know how the muffins go for you! And I give yor husband free reign to customize and doctor my recipe!

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  15. Can we just talk for a second about why imbibing without consequences becomes so increasingly difficult as we age? It's really not fair. Without fail I will wake up at 1:30 am with my heart pounding and major anxiety if I have even 1 extra glass of wine. Tragic.
    How you managed to pull off your brunch is beyond me. Your hosting skills have hit an all new level!
    On another note, this muffin recipe is definitely going on my to~make~list and have me looking forward to blueberry season.

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    1. Oh I know. This Christmas was my first ever two day hangover and damn was it rough. its also annoying how much more of a toll wine takes than liquor! It should be the other way around. I can have too many g&ts and wake up clear headed ready to go but 1/4 the amount of alcohol from wine and I'm hurting!

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  16. I'm not a big muffin fan, but I'd come to a brunch of yours even if that's all you served.

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    1. How did you get so lucky to not like muffins?! Don't worry, for every guest I make about 17 dishes. So there are always alternatives to the alternatives to the meal

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  17. Hi Stephen. I tried to comment about my luck using frozen blueberries, but my "comment" disappeared and when I clicked around trying to find it, I somehow managed to get email notices from almost everyone of your friends whose blogs you like...you know the ones posted at the bottom of your posts...I don't mind, but I find it curious. So, long story sort of short, I wanted to say that I make a fabulous, always, always perfect blueberry pound cake...except for a couple of times. I was hosting a baby shower brunch once and I baked my blueberry cake that morning because it is so yummy when served warm. The blueberries were from my freezer, but I had thawed them, I thought. The cake was a disaster...soggy, gooey center. So, I quickly made a second cake,with berries still cold, and it turned out the same as the first! Company was coming, so I whipped up some cream (lots) and folded in the parts of the two cakes that were done. I served it in a footed trifle bowl...it was pretty and delicious. No one was the wiser. All these years I have thought the two disasters were related to using berries that weren't completely thawed or still cold. I was surprised to know that you use the frozen berries. Maybe I should try one more time. I could always make a bowl of trifle! I enjoy your posts. Keep 'em coming!

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    1. Oh the mess up sounds better than the normal one! These muffins are def on the gooey side, though not runny or uncooked. If your pound cake recipe is easily cut and pasted, share it here! Unless it's a secret :)
      I never thaw blueberries or any berries before baking with them! I love how they stand up to the batter when they're frozen. But I don't think this recipe would stand up to being baked in larger format like a cake or in a loaf pan. It's a little too wet for large format. Thank you! I've had trouble responding to comments this week for some reason so I think it's irritated this week!

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  18. Hi Stephen! Thank you for the muffin recipe, I would like to try it, but do you think I could substitute the whiskey with something else? Like vanilla? I just don't like the taste of it. (I know, I know lol) I had forgotten what MSDE was, so I read the old post. Someday, we have to discuss pie crust. I don't make pies very often anymore but have been told my crust is really good. It doesn't look as perfect as MS or yours, but it is really flaky and tender. (She says modestly) Also I could not leave a comment on the mobile version of your post, had to come to the web version even though I am on my phone.

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    1. Oooh I would love to. I will talk pie crust all day any day. I started planning Thanksgiving this week so I'm ready! Haha. Well I wouldn't use that much vanilla because I think it would be overwhelming. You could use vodka or rum, too. If you'd rather omit alcohol, I think you could mash the banana with sugar and the vegetable oil. This would allow the banana to be coated in oil and infuse the oil with the banana flavor. Don't add any extra oil just take it out of the batter and add to the mash. Please let me know if you make them and how it goes! I'm having trouble with it this week too-it's not your fault! Thanks again!

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  19. Never mind about the comment part, maybe it was my phone or the operator of my phone.

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  20. Here it is SAJ:
    Blueberry Pound Cake from Southern Sideboards, a Jackson, MS Junior League Cookbook, 1978

    1 c. butter, softened
    2 c. sugar
    4 eggs
    1 tsp vanilla
    3 c. flour, divided
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. B.P.
    1 pint fresh blueberries
    Cream butter & sugar.
    Add eggs, one at a time.
    Beat til light and fluffy.
    Sift 2 c. flour, salt, & B.P. together.
    Add sifted ingredients to creamed mixture and beat.
    Dredge berries in remaining 1 c. four. Fold gently into creamed mixture. Place in tube pan, buttered and coated with sugar.
    Bake 325, 1 hr. 15. min.
    Easy cake! And yes,there is no liquid. When we lived in the country and farmed, I would pick berries from our bushes and make two of these in the morning. The first cake would be inhaled by two boys and 1 husband. The second cake might last until after lunch. It is that good! Hope you like it.

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  21. Here it is SAJ:
    Blueberry Pound Cake from Southern Sideboards, a Jackson, MS Junior League Cookbook, 1978

    1 c. butter, softened
    2 c. sugar
    4 eggs
    1 tsp vanilla
    3 c. flour, divided
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. B.P.
    1 pint fresh blueberries
    Cream butter & sugar.
    Add eggs, one at a time.
    Beat til light and fluffy.
    Sift 2 c. flour, salt, & B.P. together.
    Add sifted ingredients to creamed mixture and beat.
    Dredge berries in remaining 1 c. four. Fold gently into creamed mixture. Place in tube pan, buttered and coated with sugar.
    Bake 325, 1 hr. 15. min.
    Easy cake! And yes,there is no liquid. When we lived in the country and farmed, I would pick berries from our bushes and make two of these in the morning. The first cake would be inhaled by two boys and 1 husband. The second cake might last until after lunch. It is that good! Hope you like it.

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    1. Thank you so so much! I can't wait to make it!

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  22. I'm sorry about the double posting. I don't know what happened.

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  23. You are so much fun. Muffins with whiskey? Yes, please! I wish our Christmases were are festive as yours!

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    1. Thank you!! If you make them, please report back and let me know how it went! We have all agreed to calm the festivity down just a little next year. Many of us had rough, late starts on Christmas morning!

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