I used to always wonder how bakeries obtained tall, dome-shaped tops for their muffins. When I was younger, I didn’t bake muffins much, but whenever I did, they were flat and meager. They were nothing like those beautiful, jumbo muffins you find at the bakery. You know, the ones with the big, puffy tops covered in sugar crystals or streusel crumbles. The kind of muffin that you can split with a best friend and still be left completely satisfied.
Well, like every other solution to a problem, my answer was found on the internet. I learnt that the trick to getting muffins to rise up well, particularly their tops, relied mostly on 3 factors:
- Don’t overmix your batter. Lumps are OK. A light batter allows everything to rise easier.
- Fill your cups to the top. Unlike cupcake batter, where you normally fill the paper cups up 3/4 of the way or a little bit below the rim, you want to fill your muffin cups up to the very top.
- And most importantly, start out baking your muffins at a high temperature for the first five minutes so that they quickly rise and puff up. Then reduce the temperature so that they finish baking for the remaining 15 minutes at a moderate temperature. The initial high temperature kind of gives the muffins the “jolt” they would otherwise not get by baking at a lower temperature for the entire time.
The texture of these muffins is incredibly moist and cake-like. I had huge blueberries that I got from a natural food expo awhile back and had froze, so I used those. I think frozen blueberries are always better to use in any kind of batter because, for one, they don’t get squished and torn up as easily when you’re folding them into the batter, and secondly, their juices don’t run everywhere while they’re baking. With frozen berries, you end up with nice beautiful spots of blue. To top my blueberry muffins, I used the streusel recipe I use to create my cinnamon crumble french toast breakfast, but you could easily just leave as is or use large sugar crystals instead. Either way, you end up with gorgeous muffins that are worthy of being displayed at a bakery!
for the muffins
- 3 c all-purpose flour
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- 1 1/ 4 c granulated sugar
- 1 c buttermilk, or whole milk
- 1/2 c vegetable oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 c frozen blueberries
for the streusel topping
- 1/4 c all-purpose flour
- 1/4 c brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- dash of salt
- dash of nutmeg
- 1/2 c stick cold butter, 1/4, cubed
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Line your muffin pan with paper cups. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon; set aside.
- In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until combined. Mix in the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Mixture should be pale and yellow.
- Very gently, fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring just until it's all combined. Avoid over-mixing the batter. When all the flour is incorporated, you're good to go. The batter should be super thick and somewhat lumpy. Gently fold in the blueberries.
- To create the streusel topping, simply whisk all of the dry ingredients together. Then add in the butter cubes and use a pastry blender (or your hands) to cut the butter into the dry ingredients. You want to end up with pea-size crumbles.
- Divide the batter among your prepared muffin pan, filling the cups all the way to the top. Top with a spoonful of the streusel topping. Bake at 425°F for 5 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and continue to bake for 14 to 16 minutes until tops are golden and centers appear set. Insert a toothpick in the center to be sure. Best served slightly warm.
If you decide to make these in jumbo muffin tins, the baking time will be extended. Use the same temperatures, 425°F for the first 5 minutes, & 375°F for the remainder; simply extend the remaining baking time from 14-16 minutes to something closer to 25 minutes. If you don’t want to do a streusel topping, you can always top with sugar crystals instead.