Who doesn’t love a blueberry muffin? It’s arguably the finest of the fruit muffin flavors, although a good banana muffin might give a blueberry muffin a run for its money, and I would eat a marionberry muffin any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Every bakery in the country worth its salt will have blueberry muffins for sale. Until my husband turned 50 and realized that carbs were not a sport, he ordered a mocha and a blueberry muffin every single time he went to a coffee shop.
Since delicious blueberry muffins are so readily available at other venues, I hadn’t made them at home in many years — that is, until I found this recipe for Annie Mann’s Blueberry Muffins in my mother’s recipe box. Annie Mann was an older lady in the church we attended when I was very little. She was at every service and every function and looked after the young people in the congregation in a grandmotherly sort of way. Her name came up in conversation often enough that I was convinced I had an “Auntie Mann,” even though both my parents were only children; when I was a little older, I figured that it was an honorary title bestowed on this esteemed person. It was not until I saw her name written on the recipe that I realized her first name was Annie and that she wasn’t my aunt at all.
Right on the recipe, she’s written, “These are delicious.” I don’t want to overstate the case here, but sweet mercy, these muffins are unbelievable, moist and bursting with berries. I’d make these again in a heartbeat, if I hadn’t already eaten all the blueberries.
Annie Mann’s Blueberry Muffins
Cream 1 cup sugar with 1/4 cup softened butter (1/2 stick). Sift together 1½ cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt, add to sugar-and-butter mixture along with ½ cup milk and 2 beaten eggs. I added my own twist here with a tablespoon of vanilla and a teaspoon of powdered ginger, because vanilla, ginger and blueberries are like a holy trinity, in my opinion. Stir until just barely combined. Add 1 whole pint of fresh blueberries and mix gently so as not to crush those beautiful berries.
That’s where the recipe ends. I suppose Mrs. Mann thought my mom was an accomplished enough baker to know how long to bake the muffins and at what temperature (and that you should fill each greased muffin cup only 2/3 full to avoid overflowing). I am an accomplished enough baker to know that I don’t know anything and so I Googled it. I found, as you might suspect, a lot of different answers, but there’s one trick that kept cropping up again and again: bake for 5 minutes at 425 degrees, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and cook for another 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes then run a knife around the outside and invert onto a wire rack. I recommend using cupcake papers with this recipe because the blueberries will stick to the pan, tempting you to use salty language while trying to coax them out.
To make jumbo muffins, you’ll need a jumbo muffin pan (of course) and to cook the muffins for five minutes at 425 degrees then for 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees, testing for doneness with a toothpick or knife in the middle.
Fancy these muffins up with a streusel topping: ½ cup brown sugar, ½ cup crushed walnuts and 1 teaspoon cinnamon, sprinkled on top of the muffins after you put the mix in the tins and before baking.
As good as these muffins are, there are only three of us to eat 18 muffins. Each of us would have to eat 3 muffins a day for the next two days in order to enjoy them at peak freshness. I could definitely do that, but I have my dignity to consider, limited as it is. Anyhow, that got me thinking: What can I do with a whole lot of leftover muffins? The internet did not disappoint, serving up two recipes featuring day-old blueberry muffins.
Blueberry Mascarpone Bread Pudding with Balsamic Berry Syrup
This dessert (or breakfast, depending) is inspired by a recipe I found at jeanieandluluskitchen.com, and it looks scrumptious because it uses mascarpone, which is better than ricotta because it’s denser, creamier and, most importantly, has a higher fat content.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and fill a buttered 8-by-8-inch baking dish with 8 day-old blueberry muffins, cut into quarters. In a separate bowl, thoroughly mix 4 eggs, 8 ounces softened mascarpone cheese, 1 cup whole milk, ¼ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon cinnamon and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Pour the egg mixture over the muffins and bake for 50 minutes, until the custard sets and the top starts to brown. While the pudding is baking, make a blueberry syrup with 1 cup water, 1 cup fresh blueberries, ½ cup sugar and 1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar. When the pudding is done, allow it to cool for five minutes then cut into 6 squares and serve warm with the berry syrup.
Blueberry Muffin French Toast
The next yummy thing you can do with leftover muffins, according to www.tasteofhome.com, is to make blueberry muffin French toast (this works well if you’ve made jumbo muffins). First, cut 4 day-old muffins horizontally into ½-inch thick slices. In a separate bowl, whisk together 3 eggs and 1/2 cup French vanilla nondairy creamer with ½ teaspoon cinnamon. Soak each muffin slice quickly in the egg-and-creamer mixture then fry in butter over medium heat, toasting for about three minutes per side. Serve with fresh berries, which will make you feel righteously healthy after eating all those muffins.