Blueberry time in Washington!

Uncle Jimmy’s Blueberry Muffins

Uncle Jimmy's Blueberry Muffins

I made scrumptious blueberry muffins this morning as my contribution to a wonderful relaxed brunch with our dear friends Jim and Connie. Jim is affectionately known as Uncle Jimmy around here to my four sons and our family tales are the stuff of legends. Jim and the boys and I go back to when the oldest was only three and the youngest wouldn’t be around to cause trouble for another nineteen years.

Jim even lived with us for a crazy-making six months when he broke his leg wearing my roller skates on a Christmas day many years ago. That memorable day started out well  with too much champagne and ended badly with an ambulance ride to the ER and Jimmy in the spare room for his recuperation. We all survived, and through the years Jim has always been there for me through the insane roller coaster that has been my life. He is like the brother I would have liked. You know, the one that tortures you, completely gets you, loves you right through the b.s. and no one is allowed to kick his ass but you. That’s Jimmy, and now we have beautiful Connie in our lives too, which brings us neatly back to Jim’s favorite thing to eat that I know of: blueberries.

Here in the Pacific Northwest we are blessed with amazing fresh fruit right from fields and orchards to our tables.

Blueberry time in Washington!

Its blueberry season now, and we are enjoying them about 20 minutes after they get picked at our local farms. I love blueberries and I love this simple and yummy blueberry streusel muffin recipe.

Not blueberries, but my favorite cooking equipment! Terry made the adorable wooden lid after he broke one. The canisters were acquired in Morro Bay on Terry's first big trip from brain trauma rehab. They still make me smile!

I started out by rinsing 2 cups of blueberries, okay I cheated, I used two of the little green boxes in  the box, called a “flat”, and didn’t measure. I wanted to jam in all the berries I could. Rinse them, pick all the stems, leaves and green or mushy berries out and set the rest to drain while you get the batter put together. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and get your pans ready. I like using paper liners, those little things that you use for cupcakes?

Greasing up granma's wonderful old cast iron pan. This thing is heavy!

I am a believer in grease and then grease again, especially when I’m using my granma’s fabulous old cast iron muffin pan. I used paper muffin cups BUT I still took my brush and oiled around the openings in the muffin tins. I didn’t want the tops of my muffins to overflow, making that nice ‘muffin top’ -in a good way– stick and tear the cooked muffin in half.  So, grease OUTSIDE where the paper will not reach and where batter might flow.

Dry ingredients mixed

Then get your dry ingredients  measured and stirred together.  3 cups of flour, 1 and 1/2 cups of sugar, (yes, white nasty sugar works best, trust me), 1 tsp salt,  4 teaspoons of baking powder and a teaspoon of cinnamon.

Fresh butter, fresh milk and fresh eggs, perfect. I love these brown organic eggs. Amazing how something so small can make you so happy.

Set the dry stuff aside and get another bowl out. I use one of those giant pyrex measuring cups, this is for your fluid ingredients. I use straight butter but you can substitute vegetable oil if you are not a butter fan.

Some of us making struseul topping with a fork.

I was going for deluxe muffins and nothing beats butter in my book. Melt 2/3 of a cup of butter in the microwave; cover the cup with a papertowel unless you really love cleaning butter spats out of your microwave. You can also just use a saucepan on the stovetop for melting duty.

And some of us make streusel topping by using our messy fingers.

While you let that cool a bit, make the streusel topping. 1 cup of sugar, 2/3 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of NOT melted butter and 3 teaspoons of cinnamon. I also added a tablespoon of finely chopped candied ginger for a little gingery zip. Yummy! You can squash the butter with the tines of a fork and then work in the dry stuff, but I’m a get your hands dirty kind of girl when I cook and smooshing it with my fingers works best. Work the mixture until it is smaller than peas and a little larger than rice.

Go back to the butter bowl and  toss in two eggs and enough milk to make 2 cups. Stir it together and then put it in with your dry ingredients and mix it up well. At this point I put in about 3 tablespoons of French Vanilla liqueur. You could use any flavor that would go with the ingredients.  Rum, vanilla, orange, etc. I wouldn’t recommend peppermint or any flavor that would get in a fistfight with your tastebuds. I almost always toss alcohol into batters, it gives them a nice little flavor edge. State Secret, you heard it here.

Wet and dry all mixed together waiting for the blue berries. I like big spatulas, you can scrape and fold really well with them.

Time to gently fold in the blue berries. You don’t want to beat the batter at this point. Just take your biggest spatula and roll the blueberries in like you were an undertow and they were swimmers, once they are all folded in to your batter you can proceed to filling your muffin tins.

Use your big spatula to roll the berries in to the batter gently

Ready for muffin tins! All blended and berried.

I like using two teaspoons. No photo here, I couldn’t figure out how to use two teaspoons and one camera without getting me and the camera covered with batter. Basically, I fill one teaspoon with a big dollop of batter and use the other one to scrape it off and into the muffin paper. Teaspoon size glops give you a lot more control and you can actually get the batter into the paper liners  without getting all over the pan with a little practice.

topped with streusel and ready for the oven

Top each muffin with the streusel topping you made and pop them into the over for about 25-30 minutes. I let mine cool for about five minutes before I flipped the pans over and my well greased tins let go of every muffin.

I can hardly wait!

all done, hot and crunchy and juicy with berries

Enjoy with your besties!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
You will need 2 to 2 and 1/2 cups of fresh blueberries

Stir together in a big bowl:
3 cups of flour
1 and 1/2 cups of sugar
1 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
about 1 tsp cinnamon

In another bowl,Melt the butter, cool a bit and then add the other wet ingredients to your  cup or bowl:
2/3 cup of butter (substitute vegetable oil)
2 eggs
2/3 cup of milk
2 tablespoons of liqueur or alcohol such as Frangelico, French Vanilla Liqueur, Baileys, rum, etc.

For streusel topping mix in a bowl with your fingers or a fork until the size of rice grains or small peas:
1 cup sugar, 2/3 cup flour, 1/2 cup butter, 3 tsp cinnamon, 1 tablespoon finely chopped candied ginger (optional)

Pour liquid ingredients into dry mixture and beat by hand until well blended. Fold in blueberries, try not to break them unless you like purple muffins.

Fill muffin pans to the top edge of the paper liner, and top each muffin with a good dollop of your streusel topping. Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Cool slightly before carefully removing by turning the pan upside down and tapping on it. Careful! use two pot holders, that pan is hot!

Cool and enjoy.



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