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Blueberry and Vanilla Muffins

The voyage of discovery continues!

The next recipe in the book (and yes, I’m going straight in order) is blueberry and vanilla muffins. I really should have waited to make these on a weekend morning, because my husband ADORES raw blueberry muffin mix. I don’t get it, but he also doesn’t like streusel topping, which is also clearly a bad taste choice. Luckily for him, this recipe doesn’t have a streusel topping.

I pulled together my ingredients and found that there is no butter at all, just oil. I should have thought to add salt in, but I didn’t, and the recipe didn’t call for salt either. Personally, I find this very strange. Is adding salt to everything an American trend? Would British cuisine be amazingly good if they just added salt?

In researching this question, it seems that there are a couple of possibilities.

It could be that British recipes assume that butter will be unsalted and therefore don’t specify unsalted butter. Or perhaps British butter is salted, but always with a consistent amount. One reason baking recipes so often call for unsalted butter is the fact that US brands have a very wide range of salt, so using salted butter means you will have no control over how salty the final product tastes. I polled my writing group (which has British members) and discovered that stores sell both salted and unsalted butter, so that didn’t help me with this question.

Still, I find it odd that the recipes don’t use salt. Most of my recipes have salt in EVERYTHING. One time I made a loaf of bread and forgot the salt (and used unsalted butter) and it was just awful. I was shocked at how totally bland and tasteless it was. I use salt in cookies, cakes, vegetables, hot chocolate, even homemade ice cream.

So I made the muffins without any added salt.

Since the title is Blueberry Vanilla muffins, I decided to use the vanilla sugar I’ve been saving for a couple of months now. I used a vanilla bean in ice cream and then put the pod in a small mason jar of sugar. I was excited to use it in this recipe to add a little extra vanilla zing. I also used the vanilla extract called for.

When I measured out the blueberries, I was concerned. I had a pint of big fat fresh farmer’s market blueberries, which means I probably had about 40 berries. That’s just over 3 berries per muffin. I’ve noticed that in blueberry muffin mixes there are usually very small berries, which results in a muffin full of sweetness. I worried that the weight would cause them to sink to the bottom of the muffins. When I poured the batter into the pan, I focused on even berry distribution. Sadly, this led to a rather uneven batter distribution. I’m more of a “Nailed It” than “Great British Baking Show” candidate!

In the future, I would probably buy frozen or canned small blueberries to use in this recipe. The berries didn’t sink, but there just weren’t enough of them per muffin.

The muffins themselves baked all the way through. Even my monster muffin was cooked all the way through. The texture was dense but soft. The vanilla flavor was not terribly strong.

All in all, they were just fine.

I prefer streusel topping and I think a bit of salt might have improved the final result. My husband did enjoy them for breakfast. My daughter has no opinion because she refused to taste them. She seems to be going through a picky stage. Too bad for her!

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