Blackberry Muffins

Blackberry Muffins
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blackberry muffin
Light and tender!

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).

Blackberry Muffins

Blackberry Muffins


    For the batter
  • 86 g (1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs) all-purpose flour
  • 109 g (3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 Tbs) cake flour
  • 2.8 g (1/2 tsp plus 1/8 tsp) baking powder
  • 2.8 g (1/2 tsp plus 1/8 tsp) baking soda
  • 2.4 g (3/4 tsp) kosher salt
  • 96 g (7 Tbs) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 96 g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
  • 40 g (2 Tbs) unsulfured molasses
  • 54 g (2 1/2 Tbs) honey
  • 72 g (1 jumbo) eggs
  • 1.2 g (1/4 tsp) vanilla extract
  • 57 g (1/4 cup) buttermilk
  • 180 g (one 6 oz box) blackberries
  • 10 g (1 Tbs) all-purpose flour
  • For the almond streusel topping
  • 60 g (1/2 cup) sliced almonds
  • 60 g (1/2 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 60 g (1/3 cup) sugar
  • 60 g (4 Tbs) cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 0.6 g (1/4 tsp) kosher salt

Abbreviated Instructions

In a medium bowl, sift together flours, baking soda, and baking powder. Stir in salt. Set aside.

Place butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium-low until smooth and creamy. Slowly pour in sugar and beat on medium-low until the mixture is light and fluffy. Scrape down sides of the bowl.

Add molasses and honey and mix on low until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add eggs and vanilla and mix on low until just combined, about 30 seconds.

Add half the flour mixture and mix until just combined, about 15 seconds, add half the butter milk, mix until just combined, 15 seconds. Repeat with the remaining flour mixture, followed by the remaining buttermilk.

Scrape down sides and bottom of the bowl to incorporate any dry ingredients. Transfer to a covered container and refrigerate overnight.

For the streusel topping.

Place almonds in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Add flour, sugar, and salt, and pulse to combine. Add butter pieces, and pulse about 15 times to cut in butter until mixture resembles a coarse meal.

Transfer to a covered container and refrigerate overnight.

The next day

Preheat oven to 425°F. Place a rack in the center of the oven. Place paper liners in (or grease) 12 cups in muffin tins.

Remove batter from refrigerator and allow to warm for 5 to 10 minutes.

Toss blackberries with the 10 grams of flour. Fold into batter.

Spoon batter into cups, filling to about 1/2 inch from the top. Sprinkle each with about 1 1/2 Tbs of steusel topping.

Place in oven and immediately lower temperature to 325°F. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean.

Cool completely.

Ingredient discussion:

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:

sifting flour
To sift with little mess or fuss, measure ingredients right into a sifter set in the bowl.

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.

creaming butter
Make sure the butter is nice and creamy; it might take a minute or two.

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.

creaming buter and sugar
Slowly pour in the sugar, then cream until fluffy.

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.

adding molasses
It will seem as though there’s too much molasses in the muffins. There isn’t.

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.

adding eggs and vanilla
Use the largest egg you have, or two very small eggs.

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.

adding flour
Mix in half the flour at a time, interspersed with half the buttermilk.

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.

adding buttermilk
Some of the batter is covering the buttermilk, but half of it is in there.



muffin batter
The muffin batter is now ready for the overnight fridge treatment.

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.

grinding almonds
If you have almond meal, you can start with that; otherwise, just grind up the almonds in a food processor.

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.

adding sugar
Once the almonds are ground, add the sugar, salt, and flour, and give it a couple of pulses to mix.

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.

adding butter
Toss the butter chunks on top, then pulse until the butter is cut into the almond mixture.

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.

streusel topping
The streusel topping needs to refrigerate overnight, too. It’s kind of nice having nearly everything done for breakfast.

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.

coating berries with flour
Toss the berries in flour to coat before adding to the batter.

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.

adding berries
The batter is thick, so you’ll need to fold in the berries carefully.



muffin batter
Spoon the batter into the paper-lined cups. Each cup should be filled to about 1/2 inch from the top.

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.

adding streusel topping
Divide all the streusel topping among the muffins. Can’t let it go to waste.

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.

muffins cooling
If you can wait, let the muffins cool completely. If not, well, that’s okay, too.

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!

Worth the trouble?

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