Monday, April 25, 2016

Not Bluffin' with my Muffin

They really are the best muffins in the world
 Our next big holiday on the horizon is Mother's Day, so I'll say these muffins are perfect for a Mother's Day brunch.  They are also perfect for any special occasion brunch.  I first made these over Christmas last year and they instantly became a favorite.  Christmas was a little weird this year but ended up being one tube top short of a white trash rager.  It was a lot of fun.  In fact, I think those of us who imbibed would agree it was too much fun.  Christmas Eve dinner started around 7PM and ended around 3AM.  Around 12:30, I thought to myself uuuuhhh I should really go to bed as I'm having a brunch for 27 in 48 hours. I didn't listen to myself.  So while many of you good people were going to church or taking an invigorating Christmas morning walk, I was rapidly rehydrating and pleading with the horizon to stop shaking.  It's a good thing full moon Christmas Eves are rare.
Barbie protected the muffins from freeloading squirrels

Anyway, I got a very late start on my December 27 brunch prep.  I powered through and did manage to pretend I had my shit together and serve within an hour of arrival.  I panicked when one of my uncles arrived fifteen minutes early and I was vacuuming unshowered, but I just pretended I didn't see him and let him wait.  Allow me to amend my brunch rules and say if you're a guest, do not arrive early.  The hospitality is not switched on until the party starts and the MSDE are in full force.  I am always early to everything but I refuse to ring a doorbell a minute before invited.  Drive around the block and judge Christmas decorations or look in the neighbor's windows like a civilized person. 

One time saving measure I used was to combine banana bread and blueberry muffins into one.  It was about 2:30AM the morning of my brunch and I was still up prepping, nowhere from done (I had only started about 11PM which still included many Christmas Eve dish washing).  I made about 55 muffins and they were consumed rapidly.  They are seriously, seriously good.  I think I've had six or seven brunches since then and these have appeared at each one.  This recipe does make a lot of muffins, about 30, and that's because it's another muffin recipe thinned considerably by a generous banana mash and extra blueberries.  I'm sure you could cut it down if you wanted, but I haven't tried.  Steam is an important ingredient in this recipe as the batter is very wet.  So think of it like a pie crust: you want cold dough/batter to meet a hot oven and cause the butter to steam as it melts.  These muffins have a wonderful texture and are not the least bit dry, though the sugar topping does give them a crackled top.  Because the batter is very wet, muffins sticking to liners can be a problem.  I use these parchment liners and never have a problem.  They are on Amazon for about $4, but they are half the price at the grocery store.  So buy them there if you remember. I use these muffin pans and like them very much (cheaper on Amazon than at Kroger).

Banana Bread Blueberry Muffins
Makes a shitload of muffins.  About 33.
3 1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 cups blueberries
2 3/4 granulated sugar
6 very ripe bananas
1 cup buttermilk
1 8oz bar cream cheese
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, room temperature
1 egg + 2 egg yolks
1/4 cup whiskey
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 Tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Make banana mash.  In large bowl, mash peeled bananas gently (you want banana chunks to remain) with 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 cup whiskey.  Set aside.

2. Make muffin batter base.  In electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter, cream cheese, and 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar until mixture is voluminous which is about three minutes.  Add egg and yolks, and mix another minute until fully incorporated.  Begin to add flour, cinnamon and nutmeg, salt, and baking powder.  Add dry mixture to mixing bowl in thirds, adding milk and vegetable oil between batches.  Start and end with dry ingredients.  Mix only until combined.  Be very careful not to overmix.  Set aside.

3. In medium bowl, mix blueberries, 1/4 cup flour, and 1/4 cup granulated sugar.  Set aside. 

4. In largest bowl, containing banana mash, add muffin batter.  Fold in with flat spatula.  Once banana mash and muffin batter are combined, fold in blueberries with flat spatula quickly.  Fold judiciously as to not encourage the blueberries to bleed into the batter. 

5.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.  Sorry, yes, this is important. 

6. The next morning, preheat oven to 375 on convection bake if your oven has the option.

7. Make sugar topping.  In medium bowl, combine 1/4 cup dark brown sugar and 1/4 cup granulated sugar. 

8.  Spoon muffin batter into lined muffin tins.  Top each scoop with sugar mixture and spread over top with fingers. 

9. Bake about 30-35 minutes.  Allow to cool.  Muffins may deflate in cooling, that's okay.  

My favorite whiskey is a Columbus, Ohio gem.  I prefer to bake with frozen