Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins.

I'm not a huge fan of blueberries. There, I said it. I feel as weird about not being a berry person as I do about not liking peanut butter and chocolate together. In fact, I'll only eat peanut butter on bread. No jelly, please. But, that's a story for another day.

Not really liking berries (except for strawberries) wouldn't be that big of a deal except for the fact that my husband loves them. Any kind. Fresh, cooked, in pies, on salads. He doesn't care. And muffins? He loves them. I love him, so I always wanted to make him muffins. I used to buy the quick mix at the grocery store with the dinky "blueberries" in the mix, but when we switched to an organic, whole foods diet I needed to find a recipe I could make from scratch. Enter { Cooks Illustrated }.

If you've never heard of Cooks Illustrated, it's absolutely amazing! A friend of mine introduced me to the website a couple years ago and I've been hooked ever since. My favorite resource is their { website }, but they also have a TV show and several magazines. They consistently put out flavorful, fool-proof recipes that work every single time. It's interesting because their approach to food is much more methodical and scientific than most cooking sites. They don't just tell you how to do something, but why it's necessary. It's an excellent resource if you're learning how to cook!

When I'm looking for a recipe, a lot of times I'll start with Cooks Illustrated and tweak their recipe to fit my food philosophy. That was the case with this blueberry muffin recipe. They're called "Best Ever Blueberry Muffins" and let me tell you, they are! In my version, I use whole wheat pastry flour, cane sugar and coconut oil. My mom tried one a few weeks ago and declared it "bakery worthy". (Let me tell you, that's a pretty serious statement in our family.) Even a blueberry hater like me couldn't resist this moist muffin with a crunchy lemon sugar topping. Consider me converted.

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated

{ Makes 12 Muffins }

1/3 c. cane  sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest from 1 lemon

2 cups fresh blueberries

1 1/8 cups, plus 1 teaspoon cane sugar

2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon sea salt, fine ground

2 large eggs

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

1/4 c. coconut oil

1 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

 

1. Mix together the first two ingredients, sugar and lemon zest, in a bowl. Stir until the sugar has moistened from the zest.

2. Turn oven on to 425 degrees and adjust rack to upper-middle position. Grease the top of a muffin tin with a paper towel dipped in coconut oil. Place cupcake liners in each cup.

3. Place 1 cup blueberries and 1 teaspoon sugar in a small pot over medium-high heat. Simmer for 5-6 minutes, mashing berries to create a thick jam. Continue to cook until you have about 1/4 cup of blueberry jam. Transfer to a small bowl and cool to room temperature, 10-15 minutes.

4. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk remaining 1 1/8 c. sugar and eggs together until mixture is thick and pale yellow, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in butter and oil until combined. Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla until combined.

5. Using a spatula, fold egg mixture and remaining cup blueberries into flour mixture until just moistened. (Batter will be very lumpy with few spots of dry flour; do not over mix.)

4. Using a 1-inch cookie scoop, add one scoop of batter to each muffin cup. (It should fill the cup almost to the rim.) Next, add a teaspoon of the blueberry jam on top of each muffin cup. Finally, add another scoop of batter to top each muffin.

5. Sprinkle the remaining lemon/sugar mixture evenly on top of each muffin, pressing lightly to make it adhere.

5. Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm, 17-19 minutes, rotating muffin tin from front to back halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving.

 

{ Helpful Tips }

- If the coconut oil is in a solid state, melt it in the microwave for 15-20 seconds or until it's liquid.

- These muffins will expand as they cook. I usually run my knife under each muffin top before I remove it from the pan to prevent it from sticking and tearing.

- The muffins will freeze wonderfully. When I make a batch, I leave half of them out to eat and put the other half in a container in the freezer. Whenever we want one for breakfast, I just pop it in the microwave on defrost for a minute or so.