Sunday, 10 June 2012

Lemony Blueberry Macaroon Muffins

I've been on the hunt lately for the perfect muffin recipe. Now, amazingly enough I had thought I had found it in the first recipe I tried. It was a great basic muffin recipe that would allow you to add in anything and everything. It was great. It has a brown sugar streusel topping and was not cakey whatsoever.  But then I got bored of it. Or maybe I should say I got sick of it. After all, I had to have made at least a half a dozen batches of it in under 3 weeks. So, that was when I started looking. What I was really looking for was a good lemony muffin with blueberries in it. The problem is, so many muffins just taste like cupcakes. Which was okay, but not really what I was going for. After all, if you want a cakey muffin you can just stop by any grocery store or Tim Hortons (yes, did I mention I'm Canadian? :)

The next thing I found was that the lemon flavour never really came through in any of the muffins I tried, and I started to think that lemon juice being added to a lot of the recipes was more to curdle the milk into a makeshift buttermilk than anything else. (Did you know you could do this? It's just new to me and an awesome trick when you don't have any buttermilk on hand, or you are using dairy substitutes.) Finally I found a recipe that I was convinced would be it, because instead of just using a lot of lemon juice or lemon zest, they used something different. Now you probably see where I'm going with this...Lemon Curd. Yes, the recipe called for you to do a molten centre of lemon curd. Well, after making the muffin I had the same problem as the person who wrote the recipe, the curd just dissolved into the batter upon baking because the batter was pretty runny for a muffin. No molten centre could be found, nor could you even detect that anything had ever even been there to begin with.

I'd all but given up (a little too dramatic maybe?) until I realized I had one more muffin recipe that I had saved to my files. While it didn't look much different from the other recipes I had tried, I decided to give it a try with a few adaptations and what do you know, it was amazing. I've actually made this recipe twice in a row without changing anything, which is a huge feat for me because usually I switch out the add ins every time and use different fruit, berries, etc. as to not got bored. So I have to thank, For the Love of Cooking, for this great muffin recipe. While I did make some adaptations such as the lemon curd and using blueberries instead of raspberries, I pretty much followed her recipe for the batter exactly as she has written. The only thing is, I may have to try use the raspberries at some point, because the only thing I love more than blueberries is raspberries.

Even though the batter is thicker for this recipe, the lemon curd still melts away into the batter upon cooking. The only difference with this muffin recipe is that because of the thickness of the batter, the melted curd doesn't go very far. So while there isn't a surprise of gooey goodness when you bite into these muffins, there is a distinct spot that you can taste the fuller lemon flavour and you can actually see where the curd melted through. Plus there is a slight difference in texture. All-in-all, it is definitely worth the extra work to add the lemon curd into this recipe.

After all this time, I can't help but think now that the flavour and consistency I was chasing could actually be found in a cookie (yes I know, strange right?) that I had made many years ago. I should probably go back and try that recipe again, and maybe even put it in a muffin tin to bake.

Now just a small disclaimer, while I've named this recipe Macaroon Muffins, there isn't actually any coconut in them whatsoever. The reason for this name is because when you pull these babies out of the oven the muffin top looks exactly like a macaroon due to the baked streusel on top. Plus, they are just as heavenly.

On a final note, I would not recommend using muffin cups for this recipe, or any recipe that you decide to stuff with lemon curd. The reason being, that the butter and sugar in the curd in addition to the blueberries really caramelizes on the edges when cooking and I had an awful time separating the paper from the muffin in the first batch I made that used the paper cups. Instead, just grease your muffin tins really well, and I would also recommend greasing the top surface of the tins as well, because the streusel topping overflows a bit and while I have found that the base of the muffin pops out pretty easily, it is actually the overflowing muffin top that can pose a bit of an issue due to all the sugars caramelizing.


Makes: 12 Muffins

2 C. Flour (I used 1 C. All Purpose and 1 C. Whole Wheat)
1/2 C. White Sugar
1 Tbsp. Baking Powder
1 Tsp. Salt
1/2 C. butter, melted
1/2 C. Milk (I used Light Vanilla Soy Milk)
Juice of 1 lemon (probably between 1/8-1/4 C. depending on the size and juiciness of your lemon)
1 Tsp. Vanilla
2 Eggs
Zest of 1 Lemon  
1 1/2 C. Blueberries (Fresh or Frozen, I used Frozen)

Streusel Topping:
1/4 C. White Sugar
2 Tbsp Flour (I used All Purpose)
2 Tbsp Butter


~Preheat oven to 400 F

~Grease muffin tins both inside and on the top surface for best results

~In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir well to blend

~In a medium bowl, whisk butter, milk, juice, zest, vanilla and the eggs together.

~Pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture and stir just to combine.

~Add in the berries and mix in, ensuring they are evenly distributed in the batter.

~Spoon batter into greased muffin tins. Then with a spoon, make a well in the centre of the ball of batter. 

~Fill well up with a scoop of lemon curd and then gently fold back muffin batter over the curd to cover the well. (It is okay to have a little bit of curd poking out of the top). Set muffin tin aside.

~In a small bowl, combine the sugar, flour and butter for the streusel and with your fingers, massage ingredients until they combine and form a sort of crumble.

~Top muffins with the crumble and place in oven to bake for approximately 15 minutes. Don't over bake or you'll loose the moistness from the curd.

~Cool muffins to ease in their removal from the tins.

Enjoy...and stay tuned yet again for another idea for which to use lemon curd.

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