My husband is a muffin man. If you ask him what his favorite dessert is, he'll say something with chocolate. Usually cake. [see post on his requested birthday cake: chocolate!] But if I set a tray of blueberry muffins on the counter, they are usually gone by morning. He is a total muffin man.
Do you know the muffin man? The muffin man? The muffin man?
I totally have that song stuck in my head now. It's not much of a song though, is it? I mean, that's pretty much all there is to it. Did you know there used to be dudes who went door to door delivering muffins? Kind of like the milk man. I guess that's where the song came from. Wikipedia says so. How did people learn anything before Wikipedia?
Bet you thought this blog was just for food chit chat and innocent, diverting entertainment, didn't you? Oh no. I make you learn something too. There's life-changing information in here, people! I mean, there's got to be the answer to some random gameshow question in there, that could win you millions of dollars. You're welcome. Also, I want my cut!
You totally have that song stuck in your head now, don't you? Mwhaha!
Anyways, berry season is here! I love berry season. How awesome are they? They're good just by themselves, over cereal, in yogurt, salads, pureed they can be used as a million different sauces, not to mention their possibilities in desserts! Cobblers, tarts, pies, cakes, crisps, scones, breads, and...muffins! The possibilities are so endless that I almost get overwhelmed when deciding what to do with them!
Blackberries were on sale last week, and my curiosity had just peaked by a recipe for some delicious-looking blackberry muffins...and the rest is history!
Have you ever had blackberry muffins before? I hadn't. Strawberry, blueberry, raspberry...sure! Blackberry, never. It really doesn't make sense why not. One might argue out of all the berries, the blackberry is one of the best! But that's another post.
These muffins were so good. Actually, they turned out better than I anticipated. Usually Husband is the muffin oinker, but I definitely had my share of face stuffing with these. It was the delicious crumb topping. You bite into the muffin top and get that sweet and slightly crunchy crumbly top, and then right in the middle is that burst of bright sweetness from the blackberries. Oh my, they were addicting!
See that picture below? At ate that muffin after I took that picture. Ok, actually I ate it after the one below it, because I cut it in half, got pictures of it's insides, then ate it. Which is perfectly acceptable if you don't consider that I had already eaten one fresh out of the oven about 5 minutes prior. But once I had cut this one open and it's blackberry innards looked and smelled so enticing, there was no turning back. Yep, I had to run some extra laps for that one! So worth it.
The muffins turned out kind of...mammothsiveossal! Or rather, ahem, they were on the large side. When I checked on them in the oven halfway through baking, I thought the recipe had gone horribly, horribly wrong. They had taken on a life of their own! They were...spreading! But by the end they had puffed up in all the right places and made one delicious muffin. Phew!
I like to change out about half the all purpose flour in muffin and quick bread recipes with whole wheat flour. Not only does it make them a bit healthier (yay fiber!), it also gives them a bit of density and deeper flavor that I like. I also like to go for recipes that use applesauce, or banana, or pumpkin, or some other fruit or vegetable puree in place of some of the oil to lighten and bright them a bit. I prefer the more neutral taste of applesauce when I don't want the flavor to interfere with everything else going on. I wanted blackberry muffins, not blackberry banana muffins, ya know? But if your ears (eyes?) just perked up at the mention, feel free to try it.
I decided to booze up these muffins with brandy, not just because of the handy alliteration, but also because I wanted a rich flavor that would compliment the blackberries without overpowering them like a whiskey might. But you could certainly use a whiskey in its stead. You'll get a bit smokier of a flavor, I would think. Yum!
Blackberry Brandy Muffins
Adapted from The Hazel Bloom
Makes 12 enormous muffins
For the topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup rolled oats
4 TB butter, melted
For the muffins:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup brandy (optional)
1 cup buttermilk
12 oz fresh blackberries, halved
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a muffin pan with baking spray.
- Combine the topping ingredients in a small bowl until it's a crumbly consistency.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- In a medium bowl, scramble the egg, then add the sugar and whisk until fluffy and light in color. Add the oil, applesauce, vanilla, lemon zest, and brandy. Mix to combine.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry, pour in the buttermilk, and stir until just barely combined. Don't over-mix! Then fold in the blackberries.
- Fill the 12 muffin cups with the batter. I fill them all the way to the top, which is probably why they're so huge. Then crumble the topping mixture over each muffin.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and a tester comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes, which for Husband, sometimes requires an armed guard.
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