Monday, June 20, 2011

Raspberry-Blueberry Muffins with Streusel Topping

* Quick baking note on ingredient temperatures (before I proceed with the recipe):

With baking, the little things really do count. I think this is one reason that people get turned off from it. If you aren't careful, the results will be disappointing, and then you wasted all that time for nothing. But I promise, if you carefully follow the recipe, you will be quite pleased with yourself! One of my goals for this blog is to give food advice that may not be found in other recipes (things learned from Mom, oops! moments of my own, and years as a Food Network junkie). So if you are a beginner, hopefully these tips should get you ahead of the curve!

Here's the first:
In my scone recipe, when it says cold butter, it means COLD butter. In my muffin recipe, when I say room temperature butter, I mean ROOM TEMPERATURE butter. The reason for this is to ensure that you accomplish the appropriate consistency of the baked good you are trying to create. In general, with things like muffins and cakes, the ingredients need to be room temperature. Even if the recipe doesn't call for it, let your eggs or any liquids come up to room temp. This will help give that perfect fluffy-cakey texture. For things like scones or pie crusts, when you want to accomplish a flaky texture, your ingredients should be cold, cold, cold. That's why recipes will often ask you to put the batter back in the fridge or make sure the ingredients you are adding are cold. Please do not forgo this step. What you are making might turn out okay if you don't, but if you are going to all the trouble, you might as well make it perfect.

** Okay, now on to the muffins!! 

Muffin Batter:
2 cups flour
2/3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs (room temp)
1 stick unsalted butter (room temp)
1 cup buttermilk (room temp)
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
3/4 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup raspberries

1/2 cup flour
4 tablespoons butter (room temp)
4 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons chopped walnuts
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

* Gather your ingredients. I like to make it very organized like so (yes, I am classic Type A, but it really does save a lot of time if you have everything within reach from the get go):

* Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
* In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
* In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the room temperature butter.
* Whisk the buttermilk and lemon zest into the egg mixture.
* Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and stir just to combine (you don't want to over-mix the muffin batter; it should still be lumpy).
* Gently fold in the berries. Be careful to not break them.
* Pour the batter into prepared muffins tins. I like to use an ice cream scoop so that all the muffins are the same size (this is helpful so that the muffins are all cooked the same-- not some over, or some under, but every muffin juuuust right).
* Sprinkle the streusel on top.
(As you might see in my pictures, after I baked the muffins, I didn't feel like I had put enough streusel on top. So this streusel recipe doubles the amount that you see in the pictures).

* Bake the muffins for about 18 minutes (check to make sure a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean), and enjoy these beauts:

Note: When you bake the muffins, the berries will sink to the bottom a bit. This is normal. I have found no way of getting around it, unless you use smaller berries, like Maine blueberries (which can be hard to find in Texas). If anyone has any other ideas, please let me know!

Another note: Recipe adapted from Emeril Lagasse.

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