Blueberries burst with juiciness in baked goods

The recent spike in temperature is spurring on berries of all types, including Southern Oregon’s somewhat short-season blueberries.

Bountiful by midsummer, blueberries wither much more rapidly than hardy blackberries when the mercury soars above 100. So now is the time to enjoy locally grown berries by the handful while stashing away a few bags in the freezer.

Baked into a batter, even somewhat dry blueberries burst into juiciness. Pancakes are a family favorite, but more effort than I want to invest on weekdays. So grab-and-go blueberry muffins are ideal for fast breakfasts and simple snacking.

I take issue, however, with softball-sized muffins that have become popular over the years and stick with my standard-size tin. I also love breaking out the mini muffin tin, particularly for party fare and pint-sized appeal.

Kids get the whole-grain benefit from this recipe’s white whole-wheat flour, which I typically keep on hand. It’s also an ideal repository for the plain, Greek-style yogurt that’s a staple in our fridge. The flavor is refined with two applications of lemon, blueberries’ flavorful foil.

photo courtesy of Tribune News Service

Mini Lemon-Glazed Blueberry Muffins

2 cups white whole-wheat flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 large egg

1 cup brown sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 (5.3-ounce) containers plain Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, completely dry

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1/3 cup, plus 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided

1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

Heat oven to 375 F. Spray a standard mini muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg; set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the egg until light in color. Add the brown sugar and continue to whisk for 30 to 60 seconds. Add the melted butter in 2 batches, whisking after each addition. Add the Greek yogurt in 2 batches, whisking after each addition. Whisk in the vanilla.

Gently toss the blueberries in flour mixture. Add yogurt mixture and fold gently until blended thoroughly. Do not overmix. Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin tin. This will be a heaping tablespoon. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

While muffins are baking, prepare lemon sugar and glaze. Carefully remove muffins from muffin tin, place on a cooling rack and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

To make lemon sugar, in a small bowl, stir the lemon zest into the 1/3 cup sugar; set aside.

To make lemon glaze, in a small saucepan, combine the lemon juice and the 1/4 cup sugar. Heat over medium heat, stirring and simmering until mixture is thick and syrup-like. Allow mixture to reduce to about 4 tablespoons.

After muffins have cooled for 5 minutes, brush tops with some lemon glaze and dip tops into lemon sugar.

Makes 36 muffins.

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