23 July 2007


I've always said that if I wasn't working full-time, I'd bake and bake and bake, and end up being 300 pounds. I'm not 300 pounds, but I did spend the day baking. After my usual workout, of course, so I'm not too worried about gaining more than 100 pounds in a few days.

It is blueberry season in Oh-hi-ia. I don't like many, many things about living here, but one thing I do like is the availability in the summer time of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. A friend and I visited a farm market last week, and I bought far more blueberries than I actually needed. I'd eat blueberries morning, noon, and night if they were available all the time. So they were about to be past their prime in my fridge, and today I decided to use them up.

I have an old, old recipe for blueberry muffins, from the matriarch of a big clan that my family has been friends with for a very long time. She was 90 the first time I met her, when I was 12. She lived to be over 100, and was a wise woman. The recipe was taped inside the kitchen cupboard of the cottage we used to visit, and one year, I remembered to copy it down before we left for the summer. Over the years, I've not been satisfied with the results, because the blueberries sink to the bottom. I'd like my blueberries evenly distributed through my muffins, thank-you-very-much. They taste great, but presentation is important to me, and so I've tinkered with the recipe, but until today, have not been able to get the berries to co-operate. A friend suggested sprinkling the berries on top after the muffins were in the oven for a few minutes, and I couldn't resist trying just one more time to get it to work properly.

As I said, this is a very old recipe, and so the format is a bit odd. My alterations to the original recipe appear in italics. But bear with me, it is well worth the trouble. Use a stand mixer, if you have one.

Whole-Wheat Blueberry Banana Muffins

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Beat 2 eggs until foamy (I beat the eggs until they doubled in volume, which takes about 5-6 minutes at top speed on a stand mixer. It would take for-freaking-ever by hand.)
Add 1 cup sugar, and combine well.
Add one heaping tablespoon shortening, mixing until distributed evenly. (I think softened butter would work well here, but didn't have any to try.)
Add 4 mashed bananas
Mix in 2 cups flour, (whole wheat) alternating between folding in 1 cup milk (skim) with the flour. Finish by adding 3 teaspoons of baking powder.

At this point, if you're using a stand mixer, remove the bowl from the machine and mix by hand. Fold in 1 cup four-dusted blueberries, scraping the bowl down to ensure even mixing. Fill 12 regular sized greased muffin tins 3/4 full. Sprinkle an additional 1/2 cup blueberries (NOT flour-dusted, they'll look moldy) over the filled muffin tins.

Avoid over-mixing because the finished product could be tough if you do. The muffins will need about 20 minutes in the oven and will get huge, because of the amount of baking powder. I checked mine every five minutes after they'd been in the oven for 10 minutes, my oven runs far too hot and does not heat evenly, so constant vigilance is required. I had over 4 cups of blueberries, so I tripled the recipe, and made some regular size and some mini muffins. They're yummy. The banana addition was because I have about 6 pounds of over-ripe bananas in my freezer. I buy them, I eat a few, and before I know it, the rest are nearly black, so in the freezer they go, with plans to use them for banana bread or....something...but they end up staying in the freezer until inspiration like this strikes.

Whole-wheat flour is tricky, sometimes not working at all as I plan for it to. If you don't like it, at least use unbleached, un-bromated flour. I might also try turbinado sugar, because I don't really care for processed white sugar, but I was out.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that I've read all of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which in case you live under a rock was released on Saturday. I plan to write about it tomorrow.

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