These are everything I want a blueberry muffin to be. They are light and tender, can be made with either fresh or frozen blueberries, and laced with the flavors of vanilla, almond, and a touch of lemon.
But, my favorite part? These blueberry muffins are are topped with handfuls of buttery, crispy, brown sugar streusel.
Muffins are Just a Good Excuse To Eat Cake For Breakfast
Let's face it. Muffins are little more than a delightful excuse to eat cake for breakfast. I am SO ok with that.
American-style muffins, (aka, quick bread muffins; aka, cupcakes for breakfast) started showing up on breakfast tables and afternoon tea trays towards the end of the 18th century, after the invention of baking powder.
Before then, "muffin" meant English muffins - those delicious, round, yeast-leavened breads with craggy insides perfect for soaking up butter after they've been toasted. Also delicious, but not at all the same thing.
Perhaps predictably, early American muffin recipes only used a handful of ingredients and resulted in muffins that were plainer and less sweet than today's muffins. They were in the new, exciting category of baked goods called "quick breads" - an invention made possible because of chemical levelers like baking powder.
In the 18th century, quick breads were, quite literally, bread that could be made quickly. They were plain, not very sweet, and didn't include things like fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, streusel, or glaze.
Today's muffins and quick breads are much closer to cake than they are to bread and come in every variety of flavor you can imagine. Often, the only difference between a muffin and a cupcake is that the cupcake might be frosted.
Honestly, who cares? If calling it a muffin is what we need to enjoy cake for breakfast from time to time, so be it. I'm all about it. Especially if the muffin includes streusel.
Buttery, Brown Sugar Streusel is My Favorite Part of These Muffins
Apart from being delicious in its own right, streusel adds a contrasting texture - a little crunch on the top of soft, tender muffins. Contrast, my friends, is so important in baking and cooking.
Often we refer to contrasting flavors as bringing "balance" because for the most part, that's what they do. Salt adds contrast (and balances out) sweet. Sour contrasts with spicy in a way that softens and rounds out its sharpness.
And, a little crunch is so very good when paired with something creamy or tender. Ok. A LOT of crunch.
If you're going to add streusel, I believe there should be a lot of it. The problem is in getting a generous amount of streusel to actually stay on top of the muffins while they bake. And this is why I LOVE to use tulip muffin liners.
Tulip muffin liners stick up above the muffin pan by several inches so you can not only fill them with a generous portion of batter, you can top the with a deliciously thick layer of streusel.
The other reason why I love these liners is that their pointy little tops make it super easy to lift the muffins out of the pan after they bake without smooshing the warm, tender muffins.
Are you baking for someone who is gluten free?
If you're gluten intolerant, here's an equally delicious recipe for gluten-free streusel topped blueberry muffins.
More recipes that involve berries and streusel:
If you give this recipe a try, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, or take a picture and tag it #ofbatteranddough on Instagram.
For the Streusel:
- ¾ cup (160 grams) brown sugar
- ¾ cup (90 grams) all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- ⅓ cup (30 grams) of old-fashioned oats
- 6 tablespoons (85 grams) butter, melted
For the Muffins:
- 2 cups (240 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons (57 grams) butter, melted
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs + 1 large egg yolk
- 1 ¼ cup (284 grams) sour cream, preferably full-fat
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract (optional; can add an extra teaspoon of vanilla instead)
- 2 ½ cups (14 ounces/ 375 grams) fresh or frozen blueberries
Make the Streusel:
- Combine all the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Pour in the melted butter and mix until all the dry ingredients are moistened. Cover, and set aside.
Bake the muffins:
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and line a muffin pan with paper liners. (*Tulip liners are recommended - see link below.)
- Dump the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium size bowl and mix with a wire whisk to combine.
- Combine the melted butter and sugar in a medium size bowl and whisk vigorously with a wire whisk for about 30 seconds, until well combined. Add the eggs and egg yolk, and whisk for another 30 seconds. Add the sour cream, lemon zest, vanilla, and almond extract (if using), and whisk until combined.
- With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in the dry ingredients and then the blueberries. The batter will be very thick. If using fresh blueberries, fold them into the batter as gently as you can with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. When mixing in frozen blueberries, I often use my hands to fully incorporate them into the batter.
- If using tulip muffin liners, distribute the batter amongst 12 muffin cups. If using regular muffin liners, fill 18 – 24 muffin cups ½ full. The batter is very thick, so use your fingers or the back of a spoon to press the batter gently into each cup.
- Evenly distribute the crumb topping across all the muffins.
- If using tulip liners, bake for 30 - 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the muffins comes out mostly clean. If baking slightly smaller muffins in regular muffin liners, bake for 18 -25 minutes. (The wide range of baking time is to account for the temperature difference in the batter if using fresh vs frozen blueberries.) Muffins are done when a toothpick inserted in one of the muffins comes out without any sign of raw batter.
- Let cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 395Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 101mgSodium: 575mgCarbohydrates: 57gFiber: 2gSugar: 32gProtein: 6g