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Blackberry Muffins

Blackberry Muffins
The abundance of fresh ripe berries is one of the pleasures of summer. Each variety in the seasonal trinity—blackberries, blueberries and raspberries—works beautifully in this recipe. Remember to treat fresh berries gently after purchase. If not using them immediately, store them for up to 2 days in the refrigerator. Rinse the berries briefly in a colander before use, then pick over the berries and discard any that are moldy or mushy. Let dry in the colander or on a layer of paper towels.

Ingredients:

For the topping:

  • 1⁄3 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • Grated zest of 1⁄2 lemon
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1⁄3 cup pecans, finely chopped

For the muffins:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1⁄2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Grated zest of 1⁄2 lemon
  • 1⁄4 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 5 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups fresh blackberries or 2 1⁄2 cups frozen
      unsweetened blackberries, unthawed
  • Unsalted butter for serving

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 375°F. Grease 12 standard muffin cups with butter or butter-flavored nonstick cooking spray.

To make the topping, in a small bowl, stir together the sugar, flour and lemon zest. Stir in the melted butter until the mixture is crumbly. Add the pecans and stir to combine. Set aside.

To make the muffins, in a bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, lemon zest and salt. Make a well in the center and add the egg, melted butter and buttermilk. Stir just until evenly moistened. The batter will be slightly lumpy. Sprinkle with the blackberries and gently fold in with a large rubber spatula just until evenly distributed, no more than a few strokes. Take care not to break up the fruit. Do not overmix.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each to a bit above the rim of the cup. Top each muffin with the topping, dividing it evenly (the sugar will melt and produce a glaze effect).

Bake until the muffins are golden, dry and springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Unmold the muffins. Serve warm or at room temperature, with butter. Makes 12 muffins.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Muffins, by Beth Hensperger (Simon & Schuster, 2003).