an adventure in blueberry muffins

These blueberry muffins were my first baking attempt in the Netherlands, and they really were quite an adventure.  First of all, I had to find the ingredients that I needed.  The grocery store near our house is just a little one - they have the basics, but not everything.  I made a lucky guess and picked up all-purpose flour and white sugar (there were lots of choices).  All of the flour and sugar comes in 1kg packages - really small compared to home; I'll likely be going through a lot of those.  I couldn't find baking powder or baking soda, so when I got home that day I translated them so that I would know what to look for the next time.  Eventually I found 'bakpoeder' at a larger grocery store, but I still couldn't find 'zuiveringszout' (baking soda), so I found a British import grocery store and found a box of Arm & Hammer - good enough!  Ok, so I also needed to find buttermilk, which is common here.  The problem was more that I forgot to translate it before I went to the store, so I ended up guessing.  I did manage to find buttermilk, but it wasn't just plain buttermilk - it was raspberry flavoured.  The last thing I needed was blueberries, which I also found at the store.  I should have bought two packages because one package was barely one cup, so my muffins were a little short on berries.

So finally I had all the ingredients I needed, but actually making them was just as difficult.  Our house didn't have anything in terms of baking dishes when we moved in, so I bought a cake pan, cookie sheet and muffin tin as well as a covered baking dish and wooden spoons.  I was sooo excited about all my shiny new kitchen stuff, but I forgot to buy measuring cups!  Ok, so measuring out ingredients for the muffins wasn't going to be very precise - I used a coffee cup and hoped it was close to one cup.  Next they went into the oven.  Every new oven is different and takes getting used to.  This one has a variety of settings: heat from the top & bottom, only the top, only the bottom...I picked heat from the bottom and hoped for the best.  I don't think I let the oven pre-heat quite enough, so the muffins flattened out a bit more than I had hoped - now I know for next time.  

Ok, so the verdict on these blueberry muffins?  Not too bad, considering all the struggles involved in baking them!  They actually tasted really good - they were nice and tender and the blueberry-buttermilk combo is always tasty.  I'm sure I'll be making these muffins again...I noticed some rhubarb at some of the farmer's markets last week, which would make a good substitution for the blueberries.  

Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups of fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C) and lightly grease a muffin tin or line it with paper liners.  In a bowl stir the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon zest together.  Gently stir in the blueberries and set the bowl aside.  

In another bowl whisk together the egg, buttermilk and oil.  Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir gently, just to combine, without overmixing.  Divide the batter between the cups of the pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs and the tops look lightly golden.  Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before removing from the pan.  This recipe makes 12 muffins.  

Recipe adapted from Joy of Baking