I've been baking a lot, despite the ridiculous heat wave that Seattle has been going through. It just should not get above 90F here. We're just not cut out for it... our air conditioners aren't powerful enough for the upper floors, ice cream trucks don't roam the neighborhoods, and I've never seen a fire hydrant, surrounded by screaming children, spraying water. So turning on the oven is just crazy, but it's the deal I've cut with my daughter. Her dad kept taking her for frappacino's each morning before dropping her off at my house... something I think is completely inappropriate for a 12 year old. So I gave her the choice of something a bit more healthy by waiting until she got to my house, at which point I'd give her a more nutritional, but still very tasty, treat.
And, she's taken me up on it. A week now, and no frappacinos! Of course when these fruity, buttery muffins, based on a Macrina Bakery recipe, are one of those morning treats, who can blame her?
Packed with blueberries and currants from the Columbia City farmer's market and with some honey in place of the brown sugar (I was out), they turned out a beautifully. The berries oozing their sweet nectar throughout. The recipe is exceedingly easy... much simpler and quicker than the Macrina Bakery cinammon roll recipe... but one thing to note if you are cooking from the book, their muffin tins must be HUGE. The recipe claimed to only make 6 to 8 muffins, so I didn't half it like I usually do. With my standard size muffin tin, my batter made 16 muffins.
Blueberry and Currant Muffins(adapted from the Macrina Bakery & Cafe Cookbook's Fresh Fruit Muffin recipe)
makes 12 to 16 medium muffins
3 cups flour
3/4 cup cane sugar
1 1/2 T baking powder
1 1/2 t salt
1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 cup milk
1 T vanilla extract
1 t orange zest
8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter*, melted
1 pint fresh or frozen blueberries
1 pint fresh currants
*I've stopped using store-bought butter. Instead, I just use heavy cream and whip it up in my mixer, past the whipped cream stage, until it becomes thick and the palest yellow. It's really easy, tastes great, and lets you control the amount of salt.
Start by removing the current berries from their stems.
Preheat the oven to 375F. If not using silicone, use a bit of butter to grease the sides of the muffin tin.
Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together into a bowl and set aside.
In another bowl (if you are using a mixer, use that bowl), combine the eggs, vanilla, honey, orange zest and milk, and whisk for about a minute. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low for about 2 minutes or until the dry ingredients are just incorporated. Don't over mix.
Start slowly drizzling in the butter, continuing to slowly mix. When all the butter is well incorporated (no visible butter streaks), fold in the berries with a spatula. Try not crush them.
Fill each cup of the muffin tin to the top, carefully wiping off any spillage from the top of the pan. Place in the middle rack of the oven, and bake for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle of the middle muffin comes out clean.
Allow to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, and then gently loosen the sides with a knife or fork, and turn the whole pan over to remove the muffins. Allow them to cool a few more minutes on a wire rack.
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Lara Ferroni is a former tech geek turned food geek who spends her days exploring the food culture of the Pacific Northwest. As a food writer and photographer, you might spy her learning to make kim chee in the back rooms of a local church, foraging for wild berries, or snapping away in the some of the Seattle and Portland's finest kitchens. You can find her work in publications such as Epicurious.com, Gourmet.com, Edible Communities (Seattle, San Francisco), Seattle Magazine, Seattle Metropolitan as well as numerous cookbooks, including Doughnuts: Simple and Delicious Recipes to Make at Home.