If you think about it too hard, these muffins might spark an intellectual debate about cupcakes and muffins. I personally choose not to partake in that conversation because I would rather be partaking in the muffins. Priorities. Duh.
If forced to take part in the debate I would say that these are not only muffins (healthier than cupcakes), they are DIET muffins because normally I want to put butter on muffins but the blueberry compote (sauce? reduction? words are failing me here) makes butter unnecessary. Also it would be hard to spread it on these muffins because of the whole layer thing they've got going on.
Fact: Layers in muffins have the same effect as layers in hair. (Very flattering.)
Don't you kind of want to lay on these muffins? I do, which is why there is blueberry all over my face. So that's good.
Here's the thing with these muffins. You're probably looking at the streaks of blueberry reduction on that pan up there and thinking "WOW, Maddy, way to over-complicate something that is awesome the way it is. I'm definitely too busy and too much of an adult to take the time to make this blueberry sauce situation. I’m going to put regular blueberries all up in there and it is going to be great.”
You're wrong. Put aside your "adulthood" and "job" and "obligations" and go make this sauce because it DOES, in fact, really improve the experience of a blueberry lemon muffin. They're also improved by the fact that I adapted the batter from a pound cake recipe. (Please see cupcake/muffin debate, above). Lots of improvements. You’re welcome. Plus sauce streaks = Modern Art. Instagram that shit immediately.
Lemon Muffins with Blueberry Reduction
adapted from My Baking Addiction and the Silver Palate Cookbook
For the blueberries:
- 2 cups fresh blueberries
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch, mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Zest of 1 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
Bring first four ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Add the cornstarch/water mixture, stirring gently. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Set aside.
For the Muffins:
- 2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (fluffed, then measured)
- 1/2 tsp basking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup buttermilk/yogurt/milk mixed with 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 packed tbsp lemon zest
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 325 and grease a cupcake pan.
Add lemon zest to sugar and rub together with your hands until the zest is distributed equally and the sugar has a good lemon scent.
Cream butter and sugar until very fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, blending well after each.
Mix flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl with a whisk until fluffy and well combined.
Alternately stir dry ingredients and buttermilk into butter mixture, starting and ending with dry, then add lemon juice.
Assembly and Baking:
There are a few ways to assemble these muffins. I found that I liked them best with 1 tablespoon of batter, a teaspoon of blueberry sauce, another tablespoon of batter, and about a half teaspoon of blueberry on top. If you do this, however, you may get a sunken spot on the top of the muffins where the blueberry sauce sinks in. You can also take a toothpick and blend the sauce into the muffins, which gives them less of a layered texture. Pick your favorite method and fill the cups somewhere between 3/4 full and totally full (if you like the little muffin hats the way I do).
Bake at 325 for about 50 minutes, until the muffins are lightly brown around the edges and a knife comes out clean except for blueberry.
Cool as long as you can, and then shove in your face. Once completely cool, cover them tightly and they’ll stay delicious for about 5 days.