Three summers ago, my family spent the summer in Maine eating lobster rolls, counting red barns, and wishing we’d brought a bigger car for antiques.
We also, following the line of “when in Rome” logic, picked two gallons of field blueberries one afternoon, to the belated discovery that none of us actually likes blueberries all that much.
The summer of lobster, barns, and old furniture thus became the Summer of Blueberries, capitalized, full stop. I baked crumbles, cobblers, crisps, and many, many muffins. And, since not much has changed since then, I wrote about it — an adorably overwritten essay that I rediscovered last night. “The last words penned in Christopher McCandless’s 1992 journal from the Alaskan bush were “beautiful blueberries:” the starving man’s dying wish, the food for which all other is merely preparation. My kitchen, with its pots of sticky-sweet purple jam and its pans of oven-hot oat-crusted crisp bubbling with blue juice, probably has a potent, focused capacity for resurrection.” La dee da.
At the end, there’s the point — the blueberry muffin recipe. I made them again this morning (at 7:30 am! So they would be fresh before the opening bell of law school orientation!) and they are good. They have those delicious cinnamon-y crumbles on top, and just enough batter to cuddle the melted blueberries together, which is as it should be. They’re also ridiculously easy, which they have to be if you’re whipping up a batch before the coffee timer clicks on. Mix the dry, mix the wet, and slam them together with as little stirring as you can bear. No ribbons of batter here — it’s supposed to be messily cobbled together, with occasional pockets of untouched flour.
Best Blueberry Muffins
(Makes about nine)
For the crumb topping
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
For the muffin
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
In a small bowl, combine sugar, flour, butter, and cinnamon for the crumb topping. Mix together with a fork until crumbly. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Fold in blueberries.
In a small bowl, whisk together vegetable oil, egg, and milk. Stir into the flour mixture, taking care not to overmix. Fill muffin cups right to the edge, and top with crumb mixture. Fill the muffin tin’s unused cups with a couple tablespoons of water to keep the muffins moist and preserve the cooking time.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.