Blueberry (or Cranberry) Muffins w/Hazelnut Streusel

Everybody loves muffins, whether it be the tops, the stumps, or the whole thing, and when I think muffins, I think blueberry muffins. Something about them is just comforting, warm, and inviting at any time of day. Whether it be a not-so-healthy breakfast or a mid-day snack, the fluffy, perfectly spiced muffins, sweet, oozing blueberries, and delicious, sweet and crunchy topping of these blueberry muffins are just there for you whenever you need a little something.

In searching for blueberry muffin recipes for inspiration, none of the batters really appealed to me. I instead decided to approach this like I would a cake, for in my mind, muffins are like cupcakes are like cakes, so there you have it. I thought I could get a fluffier, richer tasting muffin this way, and in the end, my wife and I were thrilled with the results. Its actually a great foundation for a variety of muffins–say, when blueberries are out of season and cranberries are in, you still deserve a mouth-watering muffin for breakfast (or a snack):

I’ve certainly been professing my ongoing love for my KitchenAid mixer since I got one this past Christmas, and this was another such delightful experience. Creating a butter-based cake batter, while not necessarily challenging, can be a bit of work what with all of the thorough mixing/creaming of ingredients one at a time all the way from start to finish. Instead, I realized that I could simply have all of my ingredients measured out and ready to go, and with the KitchenAid mixing away, I could just add things in one at a time, watching for when it would be ready for the next step. This made forming the batter a phenomenally quick process, as if I had another person helping me in the kitchen.

This is also my entry for Weekend Breakfast Blogging, hosted this month by Mansi over at Fun and Food where the theme is “Balanced Breakfast Meals.”

Blueberry Muffins

  • Batter
    • 2 cups flour
    • 2/3 cup sugar
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 cups blueberries
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp baking soda
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1 whole stick butter
    • 1 cup buttermilk
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • Streusel
    • 1/4 cup hazelnuts
    • 1/4 cup flour
    • dash cinnamon
    • dash nutmeg
    • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
    • 2T unsalted butter

Modifications for cranberry muffin batter:

  • 2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen, instead of blueberries
  • 3/4 tsp orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves

Just so you don’t have to worry about it later, preheat the oven to 375°F and grease the cupcake pan well with butter.

Cream butter

The first step, as with any butter-based cake batter, is to cream the butter. So with a room temperature stick of butter and some sort of electrical mixer (stand mixer, hand mixer, whatever), beat the butter until it becomes really creamy. This helps give the muffins a lot of fluff and airiness later so this step is important and you should resist the temptation to just melt the butter.

Now, add the sugar to the creamed butter and mix this just enough to fully incorporate it into the creamed butter. Then, do the same for the vanilla extract and the eggs (one at a time! Crack it, mix it well, and then do the next one). The mixture might start to look a little funny (not so homogenous) with the eggs, but don’t worry–its normal so just mix it well and continue forward now that you have a nice, creamy looking mixture.

Mix the batter, working dry mix and buttermilk in alternating small batches

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, sift the flour (light and airy flour means light an airy baking!) and mix this with the baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Now, like with cake batter, work in thirds. Pour approximately 1/3 of the dry mixture into the wet mixture and mix this well just until it comes together. Then, pour in 1/3 of the buttermilk, also mixing just as much as necessary to mix things until fully incorporated. Repeat this process until you’ve added all of the dry and all of the buttermilk, and in the end, a nice, thick, and airy batter will be your reward.

Fold in blueberries

The last thing that the batter needs: blueberries. Very gently fold these into the batter, for if you approach the berries with too much force, they’ll burst and color your muffins bright purple/blue, which, while some times intentional and quite appealing, this is not what you want in your muffins. Just fold them into the batter enough to distribute somewhat evenly throughout.

Evenly distribute this into your greased cupcake pan, shaking it a bit to try to help settle the batter and release any sizable air pockets.

Pour batter, top with streusel crumbles

With that out of the way, onto the streusel topping. This is very quick work. Pour the hazelnuts into a plastic bag, squeeze out the air, seal is shut, and beat on them with a hammer/meat mallet until crushed into coarse, small pieces (not a fine powder!). Then, in a bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), mix these with the flour, spices, and cold pieces of butter. Coarse crumbles should form and may not be perfectly mixed, but that’s just what you want.

Distribute this crumble mixture evenly over the tops of your muffins-to-be, sprinkling on every last bit.

Blueberry Muffins w/Hazelnut Streusel fresh out of the oven

Transfer this to the oven. After 5 minutes, drop the temperature to 350°F and continue to bake for about 25 minutes more. Check that a tester comes cleanly out of the center of the biggest muffin, and if it doesn’t, give it 5 more minutes. Once time is up, let them cool off for about 5 minutes before you try to remove them from the cupcake pan and set these aside to cool off for a little bit before you dig in. And beware of hungry bystanders.

Don’t seal these in an airtight container right away, or they’ll go from nice and firm to kind of moist and slightly soggy on the outside. After about an hour or two though, I’d say go airtight. Like blueberries, they don’t keep terribly long (e.g. 2-3 days out in the open, maybe a week in the fridge), so enjoy, and enjoy soon!

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26 Responses to “Blueberry (or Cranberry) Muffins w/Hazelnut Streusel”

  1. Bellini Valli Says:

    These certainly are an awesome addition to the event Mike. Consider them book marked for the weekend:D

  2. aforkfulofspaghetti Says:

    Oh. God. Yeah. I’ll take a dozen, please! ;)

  3. a. grace Says:

    are there people out there who actually prefer the stump? i’ll take the top any day, especially if there’s streusel involved. nice recipe! :)

  4. Peter Says:

    Good show Mike…spicy muffins, streusel, tangy berries…great w/ some strong coffee.

  5. Pixie Says:

    I’m having tea at the moment and it isn’t fair that your flashing those lovely muffins at me!!!! (i’ll have to make something sweet now)

  6. Anali Says:

    I’m glad you muffins in your household again! : ) Those look great!

  7. Deb Says:

    Hey wait a minute Mike, you were suppose to make STRAWBERRY muffins! Although I must confess also that I stocked up on blueberries this weekend. They too were on sale at the grocer!

  8. noble pig Says:

    Ummmm, can I come over and eat these. They look delicious!

  9. Kevin Says:

    Blueberry muffins are my favorite muffin as well. These sound really good, especially the streusel. Bookmarked, though I will be mixing by had. :) I like to drizzle lemon juice on the blueberry muffins after they have baked and then sprinkle on some sugar and broil them until the sugar hardens on top.

  10. Toni Says:

    I wish I had read this before I tried making some banana coconut muffins. Every muffin recipe I’ve ever read says to barely mix the ingredients together, and yet you’ve come up with something spectacular using a kitchen aid mixer? Wow! I’m impressed. My muffins turned out very sad. But now I’m inspired to try again, so thanks!

  11. Joy the Baker Says:

    I absolutely love the addition of hazelnuts! Now you’ve got me thinking muffins… I might need to come up with my own this weekend! And great thinking using a cake batter, they must have been just delicious!

  12. Hélène Says:

    Bluberries muffins is one of my favorite muffins, especially with a good crumble top.

  13. Heather Says:

    I eat wheat toast with low fat turkey ham and an American cheese slice for brekkie every day because I’m too lazy to prepare healthy morning meals.

    Be a dear, and send me a dozen of those muffins?

  14. amy Says:

    Just came across your blog. This looks nice – I really wish I could bake better! We have a kitchen aid mixer we bought 6 months ago and still have yet to use the mixer setting. We use the pasta attachment all the time, but mixer… no. maybe i’m scared? I do have some hazelnuts and fruit that need to be used up, so maybe this is the recipe to get me out of my baking-rut? – amy @ http://www.weareneverfull.com

  15. kate Says:

    i simply love cakes with streusel toppings.
    This muffin looks too good !

  16. cakewardrobe Says:

    What lovely muffins! You just reminded me! It’s me and my kitchen aid’s one month anniversary. Oh how I love (and abuse) her :)

  17. mike Says:

    Bellini — thanks! These have become one of the favorite breakfast items in my household…which is a dangerous thing ;-)

    aforkful — thanks! :-)

    a.grace — haha, if there are stump-lovers out there, it’d be news to me! I’m with you–tops all the way!

    Peter — the best way to start the day. Thanks!

    Pixie — haha, sorry about that. ;-)

    Anali — thanks! :-) And I’ve definitely got your muffin/cakes in mind for the coming batches…

    Deb — haha, oh, I promise you more strawberry posts than you’ll know what to do with very soon. ;-) But like you said, when blueberries are on sale, you’ve just got to grab them.

    noble — thanks! :-)

    Kevin — thanks! And that also sounds like a delicious way to top the muffins off!

    Toni — sorry to hear that batch didn’t go so well. I was more than thrilled with how the KitchenAid helped out with making this…like my little baking side-kick. I hope batch number two goes better! Thanks again :)

    Joy — thanks! I could add hazelnuts to anything–they just bring such a distinct, elegant taste, and in this case, I was delighted with how well they went. I’m looking forward to seeing how you do your muffins…

    Helene — thanks, and agreed!

    Heather — my normal breakfast routine when I haven’t cooked/baked anything is even less exciting: a granola bar. I used to think I liked it, but then I ate these muffins for about 2 or 3 weeks, and now, all I crave is muffins, lol. Next time you’re in the neighborhood…

    amy — thanks for visiting! If baking isn’t quite your thing, this is definitely a good get-you-back-into-it-gently recipe. Plus, you can dust off that KitchenAid whisk attachment–you’ll be very glad you did! I’m sure you’ll do just fine. I hope to see you again…thanks!

    kate — thanks! :-)

    cake — happy anniversary to you two, hope you got her something nice. ;-) Thanks! :-)

  18. superluckykitchen Says:

    it wouldn’t be a real muffin without the blueberries!

  19. mike Says:

    superlucky — welcome! Glad to hear we’re on the same wavelength. Not sure why, but blueberry muffins are just THE muffin for me. Thanks!

  20. EAT! Says:

    The topping is my favorite part of the muffin. I think it just takes muffin eating to a whole new level.

    KitchenAid mixers are the best – no more standing around holding the mixer. Have fun!!!

  21. Marysol Says:

    Oh, I love that mesmerized look on your pup’s face.
    But then, I’m certain I had that same look on my face when my eyeballs landed on those muffins.

  22. Sara Says:

    I’ve made these muffins twice, and they are fabulous! With the first batch I used lemon in milk opposed to buttermilk (I never have it on hand) and almonds/walnuts in my streusel top (no hazelnuts :( ). The second time around I used the lemon in milk, almond/walnut top, whole wheat flour (also because I had just ran out of white flour) and 1.5 cup of blueberries with 1 cup blackberries (the extra berries are great). They’re still warm from the oven, and trust me, they taste amazing. Thank you so much for the recipe!

    I’m thoroughly impressed with your blog!
    Sara

  23. Seven Of » Blog Archive » 7 Recipes Using Blueberries Says:

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  26. Roxanne Says:

    These were FANTASTIC, although I didn’t add quite 2 cups of cranberries because it just seemed a little much. They turned out EXTREMELY yummy! Thanks for sharing!!

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