Meatless Monday: Blueberry Muffin Throwdown (Coffee Cake Versus Streusel)

Berries, Breakfast, Summer / Monday, July 26th, 2010

When I told my sister I was making blueberry muffins, she asked, “Why would you make blueberry muffins from scratch? Isn’t that why God made muffin mix?”

Totally valid questions.

Am I really going to tsk-tsk you for using a mix? Absolutely not. Because if using a muffin mix means that your kids feel like they’re having a special breakfast before school or getting spoiled on the weekend, that matters. But what’s in those muffins matters, too, and that usually includes ingredients I have no idea how to pronounce, as well as high fructose corn syrup, enriched bleached flour, partially hydrogenated oils and artificial flavorings. Wouldn’t you rather just make something with butter, sugar, flour, eggs and big, juicy, antioxidant-filled, freshly picked blueberries? Let’s do this.

Of course, it helps to have a really good blueberry muffin recipe, and I have two from the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten: her Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins and Blueberry Streusel Muffins.

The Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins have that classic, domed muffin look, but they taste like blueberry coffee cake, thanks to the addition of sour cream. The tanginess of the sour cream keeps the muffins from being too sweet and gives them a crumb that’s similar to what you’d find in a pound cake, so they don’t fall apart when you bite into them. One of these muffins – split, warmed and buttered – with a cup of coffee or glass of milk makes a seriously scrumptious breakfast.

But, if you’re a fan of the spectacularly sweet, streusel-covered muffins that hang out in bakeries and coffeehouses, the Blueberry Streusel Muffins are for you. The cake is light and crumbly, studded with blueberries and brightened with freshly grated lemon zest. The streusel is a buttery blend of light brown sugar and cinnamon. Messy? Yes. Worth it? Oh, yeah.

Both muffin recipes can be prepped and baked in roughly the same amount of time, so the real deciding factor is your own personal preference. You decide which recipe to use and what ingredients you want to go in them. That’s why you make blueberry muffins from scratch.

Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins

Adapted from Ina Garten’s “Barefoot Contessa Family Style”

Makes 16 muffins

  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for the tops of the muffins
  • 3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces (about 1 cup) sour cream
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 half-pints fresh blueberries, picked through for stems
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place 16 paper liners in muffin pans.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla, sour cream, and milk.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. With the mixer on low speed add the flour mixture to the batter and beat until just mixed.
  5. Fold in the blueberries with a spatula, and be sure the batter is completely mixed.
  6. Using an ice cream scoop or spoon, scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pans, filling each cup just over the top and sprinkling the tops with sugar. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the muffins are lightly browned on top and a cake tester comes out clean.

Blueberry Streusel Muffins

Adapted from Ina Garten’s “Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics”

Makes 20 muffins

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk, shaken
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries (2 half-pints)

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
  2. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in to a large bowl and blend with your hands.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, butter, lemon zest, and eggs. Stir the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture with a fork, mixing  just until blended.
  4. Fold the blueberries into the batter. (Don’t overmix!)
  5. With a standard (2 1/4″) ice cream scoop or large spoon, scoop the batter into the prepared cups, filling them almost full.
  6. For the streusel: Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse until the butter is in very small pieces.  Pour into a bowl, and rub with your fingers until crumbly. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the streusel on top of each muffin. Bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown.

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11 thoughts on “Meatless Monday: Blueberry Muffin Throwdown (Coffee Cake Versus Streusel)

  1. Did you ask your sister how she thought it would go down if you made a muffin from a box to put on your food blog? LOL!! Too funny! BTW, we had the Fresh Whiskey Sours last night and a Shrimp Cocktail (from Simply Recipes, in case you're wondering) last night during Mad Men!!! Husband said she LOVED the FWS and so we're now having them every Mad Men Night in the future. Thanks for the great suggestion!!

  2. Thank goodness Jeff is getting some good blueberry muffins now, even though he was raised on the ones out of the box.

  3. These look absolutely delicious. I’m up at the lake with family and am going to make these one morning. Mmm. My family will thank you :)

  4. I have more blueberry muffin recipes on my blog than any other (I think the count is up to three or four now) but I don't have these! I love coffee cake AND streusel…now what if you combined the two.

  5. I started making the coffee cake version a while back and I actually make a streusel topping to put on top of the muffins. I don't know if this is overkill but my hubby has a mean sweet tooth and it seems to be a crowd-pleaser. The best of both worlds!

  6. The Barefoot Contessa is one of my favourites. I made the blueberry coffee cake muffins and loved them!

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