Cornmeal Summer Berry Muffins with Streusel Topping

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The first time I made these muffins I made several modifications to the recipe. I used buttermilk (with additional baking soda as well), some whole wheat flour, and lemon extract in the streusel topping; I also made 12 muffins instead of 10 (per the recipe) and the tops were still overflowing. They were not very good- edible, but just okay. I was really disappointed because they are described as the favorite muffin in a bakery cookbook that I really like.

After going blackberry and raspberry picking with my family, I decided to try to make them again. I usually say that streusel makes everything better, but in this case following the bakery recipe made everything better! 🙂 The beautiful fresh berries were a bonus too. I did use 1 percent milk, vanilla instead of almond extract in the streusel, and I made 16 muffins instead of 10 (per the recipe). I didn’t even substitute any whole wheat flour- very hard for me not to do…. They were DELICIOUS! Perfect size too. This recipe was adapted from More from Macrina: New Favorites from Seattle’s Popular Neighborhood Bakery by Leslie Mackie with Lisa Gordanier. Corn flour could be used in the place of cornmeal, if available.

For the Streusel Topping:

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 T medium-ground cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 T chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 -inch pieces
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract or almond extract

For the Batter:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 T medium-ground cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 T granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest (from about 1 large lemon)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup plus 2 T whole milk (1 percent is okay too)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  •  1 1/2 cups assorted fresh berries halved (I used blackberries & raspberries)
  • 6 T (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  1. Position a rack in the  center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. (I use a convection oven.) Grease 16 muffin cups with canola oil or cooking spray. Line with paper liners, if desired. Set aside.
  2. To make the streusel topping, combine the flours and sugar in a medium bowl. Cut the butter into the flour mixture with a fork or pastry cutter until the mixture has a coarse, crumbly texture. Add the vanilla or almond extract and mix for another 30 seconds. Set aside.
  3. To make the batter, sift together the flours, granulated and brown sugars, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the lemon zest and mix well.
  4. Whisk together the eggs, milk, and vanilla in a separate medium bowl.
  5. Working quickly and gently with a rubber spatula (overmixing can result in tough muffins), fold the egg mixture into the dry ingredients in 3 additions. With the last addition, add the berries.
  6. Add the melted butter by pouring it in a stream, creating a circle on the top of the batter. Continue to fold gently until the butter is just incorporated. (Some of the dry ingredients may not be fully absorbed.)
  7. Let the batter sit for 4-5 minutes before dividing; it will thicken up and be easier to scoop.
  8. Divide the batter among 16 muffin cups. Sprinkle each muffin generously with streusel topping.
  9. Bake for 18 minutes (on convection), or until the muffins are golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Note: These are best eaten the day they are made, but they can also be wrapped securely and kept in the freezer for up to 2 weeks. To serve, thaw them and reheat in a 325 degree oven for about 8 minutes.

Oat Bran Blackberry Muffins

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I love blackberries! These blackberry muffins are wonderful, moist, tender, and just sweet enough. We ate them warm from the oven on an unseasonably cool summer morning. A great special breakfast. 🙂 This recipe was adapted from Everyday Food. I substituted whole wheat flour for some of the all-purpose flour and sprinkled the top of the muffins with vanilla bean-infused turbinado sugar.

  • Yield: Makes 12 muffins
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 2/3 cup oat bran
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups blackberries, cut in half
  • turbinado sugar for sprinkling
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 12 standard muffin cups with cooking spray or line with paper liners. Whisk together flour, oat bran, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  2. In a large bowl, using a mixer, beat butter and 1/2 cup sugar on high until light and fluffy, about 6 minutes. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in 2 additions, alternating with buttermilk, and beat until combined. Fold in blackberries.
  3. Divide batter among muffin cups and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out with moist crumbs attached, 16 minutes (in a convection oven), rotating pan halfway through. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 5 minutes, then transfer muffins to rack and let cool completely.

Note: Muffins can be stored in an airtight container, up to 3 days.

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Frozen Blackberry Margarita

We have been having fun this summer branching out from our usual cocktails. I am not usually partial to a frozen margarita, but this slushy one was tasty and had such amazing color! Perfect for a summer night.

This recipe was adapted from the New York Times. We made them a little sweeter by using agave nectar instead of simple syrup, and slightly less potent. Fabulous.

Yield: Makes 1 large or 2 small drinks

  • 6 large blackberries, plus 1 (or more) to garnish each drink
  • 1 1/2 ounces tequila
  • 1 ounce Grand Marnier or Cointreau
  • 2 T lime juice (about 1 lime)
  • 2 T agave nectar or simple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups ice
  • mixture of coarse salt and coarse sugar for glass rims
  • lime wheels, optional
  1. Blend all of the ingredients (except garnish: salt, sugar, lime wheels) until smooth and frosty. (I used a Vitamix.)
  2. Run a lime wedge along rims of margarita glasses and dip into salt-sugar mixture.
  3. Pour the blended drink, garnish with blackberries and lime wheels, if desired.

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