We made up these muffins for breakfast on Valentine’s Day. Now, we know that this post is too late for you to do the same, but you can always keep this recipe in mind for another special day. And, what’s really nice, as you’ll see, is that the muffin batter is made the day before, so you can get up in the morning, heat the oven, spoon out batter, and have fresh, warm muffins in under an hour.
The best part is that these muffins are based on a recipe for Wild Blueberry Muffins from Bouchon Bakery, by Thomas Keller and Sebastian Rouxel, so you’ll be eating an outstanding muffin, or two, (or three).
Whenever we look at one of the recipes to which Chef Keller appends his name, it always looks a bit daunting: often there’s a long ingredients list, precise measurements, and specific instructions for each step. But, every time we try one of his recipes, it turns out spot on, and far easier than we expected. Come along and scratch up a batch of muffins with us. You’ll not regret it.
Makes 12 muffins (or 6 jumbo muffins).
First, do not be intimidated by that seemingly long list of ingredients. There’s nothing difficult about this recipe. You can do it! And it’s worth it.
You’ll note that we list each ingredient by weight first, then by volume; that’s so you can get the best possible result. The one that’s closest to making the same muffin that they make at Bouchon Bakery. We have to admit that our scale only measures in whole grams, so sometimes we went with volume measurements for some of the ingredients. Yes, use both flours; the cake flour will make for a tender muffin, so it’s worth it. And, about that molasses; we’ll say more later, but it does give the muffins a nice brown color. About that egg, use the largest egg you have, or two of the smallest, because 72 grams of egg is about 1 1/2 eggs. From truly free-range hens, naturally.
Procedure in detail:
Sift dry ingredients. We like to place a sifter directly into a medium bowl, measure the ingredients into the sifter, then sift. We find that this is the easiest way to get nicely-sifted ingredients with a minimal amount of mess. So measure the flours, the baking powder, and the baking soda, and sift. Do you really need to sift? Probably not, but cake flour does tend to clump, so it can’t hurt. Once sifted, add the salt and stir. Why not sift the salt, too? Kosher salt has large grains, making sifting somewhat difficult.
Cream butter. Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and beat the butter on medium-low until it’s smooth and shiny. This will take about 1 to 2 minutes; if it’s taking longer, perhaps your butter isn’t quite at room temperature. Wait a while and try again.
Add sugar. With the mixer still on medium-low speed, slowly pour in the sugar. Let the mixer work until the butter-sugar mixture is light and fluffy. It will happen, because the sugar crystals act like tiny whisks, adding air to the butter.
Add honey and molasses. Here’s where a scale comes in handy, so, if you have one, use it. Place the mixer bowl on the scale, tare it (reset to 0) and slowly pour in the molasses until the scale reads 40 grams. Do the same with the honey. Easy, right? Otherwise, use a measuring spoon. Now, re-attach the bowl to the mixer and mix on low until incorporated, about 1 minute. Any time you taste the batter after this, you’ll be sure that there is too much molasses flavor. You’ll be wrong. The final muffins do not taste like molasses.
Add egg and vanilla. Crack that egg into the batter, remembering to use the largest egg you have, and add the vanilla. Mix on low until just incorporated, about 30 seconds. The batter might look as if it’s curdled at this point. Do not fear, and forge ahead.
Add flour and buttermilk. Just not all at once! Add about half the flour mixture, turn the mixer on low and mix until just incorporated, about 15 seconds. Stop. Add half the buttermilk, turn the mixer on low and mix until just incorporated. Stop. Add the remaining flour, mix on low until just incorporated. Stop. Add remaining buttermilk, mix on low until just incorporated. Stop. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to mix in any dry ingredients that may be hiding.
Refrigerate. Scrape the batter into a covered bowl and refrigerate overnight. Your muffin batter is almost done; we’ll add the berries tomorrow.
Now we have to make the streusel topping, but that’s quick and easy.
Grind almonds. Place the almonds in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until they’re finely ground. Not so fine as to make almond butter, but all the pieces should be smaller than an eighth of an inch.
Add flour, sugar, and salt. Add the flour, sugar, and salt to the ground almonds and give the machine a few quick pulses to get everything mixed.
Add butter. Toss the butter pieces on top, then give the machine about 15 pulses to cut the butter into the mixture. You want to pulse enough so that all the butter pieces are less than an eight of an inch in size.
Refrigerate. Transfer the streusel topping to a covered container and refrigerate overnight. Dream of fresh muffins while you sleep.
Ah, the next day, let’s finish our muffins.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Adjust a rack to the center of the oven. Line 12 cups in muffin tins with paper liners. If you don’t have liners, grease the cups thoroughly.
Warm batter. Take the batter out of the refrigerator and let it stand for 5 to 10 minutes to warm slightly.
Coat berries. In a small bowl, toss the berries with the 10 grams (1 Tbs) of flour. Fold into the muffin batter. It seems quite stiff, but, forge ahead.
Divide batter. Use a spoon to divide the batter among the 12 cups. Each cup should be filled to about 1/2 inch from the top. As the batter is thick, you’ll have to work with it.
Apply streusel. Sprinkle the streusel topping over the muffins. Yes, use it all on the muffins. It does seem like a lot, but it’s only about 1 1/2 Tbs per muffin.
Bake. Slide the muffins into the oven and immediately lower the temperature to 325°F. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centers of the muffins comes out clean.
Cool completely (if you can). We had a hard time waiting the 30 minutes it would take to cool them completely, as these muffins smelled delicious.
We ended up eating a couple (well, three) of these while they were still warm (yes, that’s three, each). These are amazing muffins, easily one of the best we’ve ever had. They’re light and tender, not quite so tender that they fall apart, but just tender enough so you can pull them into pieces easily. But, most surprising, is the way these are made. It was contrary to every other muffin recipe that we’ve ever read before. Those other recipes always mix the dry ingredients, then the moist ingredients, then combine the two quickly and bake immediately. This recipe, with everything done in the mixer, and the overnight refrigeration, is so easy to make the night before for breakfast or brunch. It’s a no-brainer that these get five stars!