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Lemon-Blueberry Muffins

Muffin Mania

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lifestyles Worthington,Minnesota 56187 http://www.dglobe.com/sites/default/files/styles/square_300/public/field/image/muffins1rgb.jpg?itok=ZzCIQj6K
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Muffin Mania
Worthington Minnesota 300 11th Street / P.O. Box 639 56187

I have, on occasion, bought a muffin mix. You know the kind — the dried concoction in a pouch that you just mix with some water and spoon into a muffin tin and bake for straight-from-the-oven “homemade” muffins. Sure, they are quick and easy, but dehydrated blueberries just don’t cut it in comparison to fresh — or even frozen— ones.

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In preparation for a baby shower that I co-hosted, I’ve recently spent a lot of time in the kitchen mixing up actual homemade muffins. And I discovered that muffins — from scratch — are quite simple to make. All you do is mix up the dry ingredients in one bowl, the wet ingredients in another, and then combine the two with a spoon or whisk. No mixer required.

And I also discovered that it’s easy to customize homemade muffins to personal flavor preferences. My muffin recipes of choice call for yogurt — either Greek style or regular — which adds moistness and, I figure, makes them a bit healthier. For the blueberry muffin recipe, I substituted lemon yogurt for the plain or vanilla variety, adding citrus tang. I amped up the flavor with lemon zest and juice.

For the chocolate muffin recipe, I stuck with the plain yogurt, but added additional chocolate chips. It’s still not overtly chocolate — after all, it is a muffin and not a cupcake —- just enough to satisfy that morning sweet tooth.

Notes from the kitchen:

* Since fresh blueberries were at a premium price on the day I was shopping, I opted for the frozen ones instead. The tricky part about frozen blueberries is they can easily turn the batter blue, too. To minimize that effect, keep the blueberries frozen until mixing them into the batter. The berries can also be quickly rinsed under cold water and patted dry with paper toweling before adding. Keep stirring to a minimum; just quickly incorporate and then put down the spoon.

* Either regular or Greek yogurt can be used in these recipes. If Greek-style is used, the batter will be a bit stiffer. A tablespoon of milk can be added to loosen it up.

* Instead of lemon yogurt and blueberries, you can change the yogurt flavor and fruit combination: raspberry yogurt with raspberries; orange yogurt with cranberries; or vanilla yogurt with any fruit.

* The baking times are for standard-size muffins. If you prefer larger muffins or mini muffins, increase or decrease the baking time accordingly.

Lemon-Blueberry Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 six-ounce containers lemon yogurt

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 tablespoons butter, melted

2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Zest of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

Juice of ½ lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 18 muffin cups with cooking spray or line with paper muffin liners.

Stir together flour, sugar, baking soda and baking powder. In a separate bowl, combine yogurt, egg, vanilla, butter, lemon zest and juice. Combine the two mixtures, then quickly fold in blueberries. Batter will be very thick.

Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each about ¾ full.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown on the edges .Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.

Combine glaze ingredients. Drizzle glaze over top of muffins.

Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup white sugar

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 egg

1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt

½ cup milk

½ cup vegetable oil

1¼ cups chocolate chips (divided use)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 15 muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.

Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and baking powder. In a separate bowl, combine egg, yogurt, milk and vegetable oil. Combine the two mixtures, then fold in 1 cup chocolate chips.

Scoop batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each about ¾ full. Sprinkle remaining chips on top.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to cool completely on a wire rack.

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Beth Rickers
Beth Rickers is the veteran in the newspaper staff with 25 years as the Daily Globe's Features Editor. Interests include cooking, traveling and beer tasting and making with her home-brewing husband, Bryan. She writes an Area Voices blog called Lagniappe, which is a Creole term that means "a little something extra." It can be found at http://lagniappe.areavoices.com/.  
(507) 376-7327
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