I think I just made Little Man’s week. Maybe his entire year. He loves blueberries. I have serious suspicions that he could subsist entirely on blueberries and milk and never utter a single complaint, so I (usually) keep blueberries on hand. And from time to time, I make muffins, filled with said blueberries. The way Little Man looks at me when I set one of these moist, blueberry-filled, crunchy crumb topped deliciousness onto his plate, is enough to make me want to bake a batch every.single.day.
Why this urge to bake muffins, and blueberry muffins no less? Simple: blueberries remind me that my world is capable of warm temperatures, green foliage, and lots of fresh produce. Plus the weather here has suddenly become so beautifully springlike. In the middle of February. Hey, I’m not complaining, just enjoying feeling the sun on my face and shedding all those extra layers of clothing and pulling out my (dare I say?) sandals! But blueberries take me to a time when I get endless pints of fresh berries and eat them with everything. EVERYTHING. From muffins to pancakes, salads, and by themselves. In every possible form because B-E-R-R-I-E-S!
When I say these are the ultimate blueberry muffins, I mean ULTIMATE. A full pint of fresh, sweet blueberries goes into the batter so you’re guaranteed to have a blueberry filled bite every time. If you’re not that into blueberries (why the heck not?!) or are looking for more of a sugary, cakey muffin with blueberry undertones (0r for color), this is not your muffin. The blueberries in this muffin are in your face and a friendly reminder of all things summertime. You bet I’ll be making a ton of these in June, come blueberry season in the midwest.
What makes these muffins extra special is the addition of the highly coveted meyer lemon; both the zest and juice. Lemons are like the jelly to blueberry’s peanut buttah’. In case you don’t know I’m a pb&j sammich kinda gal; I cannot be trusted with peanut butter or potato chips. And more and more, these blueberry muffins with lemon. Or these banana cheesecake muffins .
When you replace regular ole’ lemon with a meyer lemon, which is mellower than regular lemon, we’re talkin’ about finding excuses to not share these muffins. The addition of meyer lemon juice and zest really brighten up the flavor of the muffins. The oils from the zest wrap themselves around the batter and brings a subtle brightness. And since the taste is a cross between an orange and lemon, the tartness combines with a very citrusy bite of an orange to form the perfect complement to the batter.
And that crumb topping. Oh my delicious heaven that topping. This crumb topping is the stuff dreams are made of. It’s crunchy, sweet, cinnamony, and buttery. OMYGOODNESS I would eat a muffin made entirely out of this crumb topping if I could. It’s heaven on a blueberry mountain-top. It’s also my base go-to crumb topping, like with this chocolate chunk baked panettone french toast. P.S. have you tried it yet? If you’re shaking your head no, seriously, why the heck not?!
It’s a denser crumb topping, so even though you may be tempted to pile it on, remember that you won’t get those beautiful rounded dome tops on your muffins if you pile on more than a teaspoon. Too much of the crumb topping and the center of the muffins will sink and you’ll end up with flat, topless muffins. They’ll be delicious but they won’t look as pretty. Been there, done that. The recipe makes more crumb topping than you need for a standard 12-muffin pan, you know in case you’re all about the crunchy goodness and don’t care about how your muffins look (I walk that line often). But if you want jumbo, bakery style muffins, use the 6-muffin pans and double the topping to 2 teaspoons.
I have to warn you, your house will smell like a bakery while these muffins are baking and you will want to just eat the batter straight from the pan, even before you put it in the oven. I urge you to wait until the muffins cook because as good as the batter is, and yes, I am a batter and/or beater licker, the muffins are even better. Little Man ate almost half the batch himself and tried to flash me a winning smile for more.
- do not overmix the batter. This is very important. Unlike breads, if you overwork a muffin batter, you will end up with very dense, rubbery muffins. The best way to avoid overmixing is to mix the wet ingredients together and mix the dry ingredients together in another, larger bowl. Then slowly and gently fold in the dry mixture into the mixture. And stir only to combine. The less you work the batter, the better the muffins will turn out. This is the most common problem I’ve seen with baking fails.
- you can still make this recipe without meyer lemon. Simply omit the parts of the recipe that include them. If you substitute regular lemon for meyer lemon, because let’s face it, meyer lemons aren’t all that cheap, cut the amount in half otherwise you’ll end up with a really tart muffin.
- don’t have buttermilk? No worries, I definitely don’t because I don’t buy buttermilk, ever. Why? Because I end up wasting the entire carton just for less than a cup. Here is a trick I’ve been doing for YEARS; add 1-2 tsp of lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup of regular milk, mix, and let it sit for 5 minutes. You’ll end up with homemade buttermilk with minimal fuss.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 3 eggs
- 2 tsp meyer lemon zest
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 3 tbsp meyer lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 2 cups fresh blueberries,
- streusel topping:
- 1/4cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp butter, cubed
- 1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest
- PREHEAT OVEN to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Grease muffin cups or line with cupcake liners.
- MIX THE DRY INGREDIENTS: combine flour, sugar, salt,cinnamon, baking soda, and baking powder in a large bowl and mix well.
- MIX THE DRY INGREDIENTS: Add vegetable oil to a medium bowl and using a wire whisk, beat in eggs, one at a time. Add buttermilk and vanilla. Stir in lemon juice and zest.
- MAKE CRUMB TOPPING: Mix brown sugar flour, cinnamon, and lemon zest together. Using a pastry cutter or a fork, cut in butter into the flour and sugar mixture until pebbles form. Set aside.
- COMBINE WET AND DRY INGREDIENTS: Stir in flour into the wet ingredients, just until combined. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.
- BAKE: for 5 minutes at 400 degrees. Reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done and toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the muffin