Thursday, July 30, 2015

Blueberry Lemon Corn Muffins with Honey-Cardamom Butter

Is there a more classic, more universally loved muffin than the blueberry muffin? No one dislikes a blueberry muffin. Delicious sweet muffin batter paired with juicy, lightly tart berries- what's not to like? I like them so much that this is my second blueberry muffin recipe on this blog.

S and I  like to spend as many summer weekends as possible at our favorite campground, staying in the massive, two room, six person tent we jokingly call our summer home. We pitch this palace of a tent in our very favorite spot, beneath the towering trees in the sands of the Pine Barrens in New Jersey. You may be thinking New Jersey is a weird place to call your favorite weekend getaway, but the Pine Barrens are something else.

Despite New Jersey being the most densely populated state in the country, the Pine Barrens are about as close to the middle of nowhere as you can get within 100 miles of New York City. Once you exit the highway, you drive through several tiny towns, then you pass the commercial berry farms stretching for miles, then the buildings where the migrant workers live, and the grassy airstrip where little private planes and crop dusters sometimes land, then finally you pass into the barrens. There's nothing but pine trees, blueberry bushes, sand roads, and little tea-colored rivers with cranberries growing all along their banks as far as the eye can see.

We hike down sand roads with our inflatable inner tubes, occasionally hitching a ride with a ranger to our put in point, then float down the river on the tubes, plucking berries off the low hanging branches of giant blueberry bushes and snacking on them as we drift slowly by, and sipping Great Lakes Brewery beers that we pick up from a certain discount liquor store on our way. At our campsite we swing in our hammocks, I build a rip roaring campfire, and we roast sausages or cook up cowboy chili for dinner. And in the mornings, before the heat sets in, we pick blueberries. They grow everywhere in the barrens, surrounding every camp site, and we usually fill at least one quart sized container to take home for the week.

As we were packing to head back into the barrens last week S pointed out that I hadn't used up the rest of the blueberries from the week before, and as I already had a whole quart frozen, I decided I'd use these while they're fresh. So I whipped up these muffins, using cornmeal because I love a good corn muffin, and lemon zest to add a little bit of zing to the sweet wild berries. They were heavenly, like a little bite of the countryside here in the heart of Manhattan! 

Blueberry Lemon Corn Muffins

1 1/4 C + 1 tbsp Flour divided
1 C cornmeal
1/3 C sugar
1/3 C honey
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of 2 lemons
2 tbsp greek yogurt, sour cream, or creme fraiche
1 1/4 C Milk
2 large eggs
2 tbsp melted butter
1 1/2 C Blueberries

Honey-Cardamom Butter

8 tbsp butter, softened
2 tsp honey 
1/2 tsp cardamom

Preheat oven to 400F.
Place the blueberries in a medium bowl and toss with 1 tbsp flour, set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the rest of the flour, the cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and lemon zest. Set aside. 

Add the greek yogurt, sour cream, or creme fraiche to a 2 C measuring cup, then add enough milk to make 1 1/4 C, mix well until smooth. Add to a medium bowl, along with the eggs, honey, vanilla, and melted butter. Whisk until well combined and a bit frothy. 

Stir wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients until everything has just blended into batter. Gently fold in the blueberries until just combined. 

Either grease a muffin pan, or use muffin tin liners. Spoon batter into muffin tin until cups are 3/4 full. Bake 12-15 minutes, until muffins are golden brown, and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. 

While muffins bake, combine all honey butter ingredients in a small bowl, mix with a fork until all ingredients are combined, and either spoon into a bowl and keep at room temperature for soft butter, or roll into a log using parchment and pop in the fridge if you prefer cold butter. 

When muffins are ready, remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 5-10 minutes, then enjoy! 


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