You guys are gonna think I’m the biggest sap ever (I probably am), but I’m going to admit this anyway…
It all started with the floods in Duluth a couple of weeks ago. You see, Duluth is one of my favorite Midwestern cities (right after Chicago, of course) and we spend a lot of time there. The beautiful city on Lake Superior was thoroughly shaken up (and messed up) by flash floods. Then, just as they started to digest it all and began cleaning up, Colorado Springs (where most of Hubby’s family lives) caught on fire. (They’re all ok) And now, the BFF, who lives in northern Virginia, has been without power since Friday night, forcing her and her hubby to face 100 degree+ F days without air conditioning. Mother Nature is clearly reminding us who’s boss, and she’s doing it in places I hold dear to my heart for one reason or another. There wasn’t/isn’t a thing we could/can do about it but watch it all in the news. Frustrating.
Needless to say, the professional worrier side of me has been in overdrive for a good two weeks. On top of fighting some ridiculous sinus infection for three weeks……well, let’s just say my anxiety level was high, bordering on depression.
I don’t know what came over me yesterday morning, but I decided to remove myself from the fetal position on the couch and get back in the kitchen. It was the right thing to do. I had to make something. I decided to take on Ina’s (the Barefoot Contessa’s) Blueberry Streusel Muffins. I barely got into the recipe before I noticed that I started to relax. Boy, did that feel good. I took my time through the entire recipe so I could make that feeling last. It had been a while, you know? When the last muffin came out of the oven, I felt a little peace for the first time in weeks.
Here’s the sappy part I promised you – Once the muffins were cool enough to eat, I put one on a plate and brought it back to the couch to eat while I watched a little of the Food Network. Guess who was on? Yep, Ina. I held the oh so perfect muffin up toward the TV and whispered “cheers” to her. As I sat there and ate her recipe for what is probably the most wonderful muffin ever, tears actually welled up in my eyes. Happy tears, yes, but seriously, how incredibly sappy is that? Was I that stressed, worried and sick that the simplest of recipes by my most favorite cook actually made me so happy I cried? I can assure you, THAT has never happened before my friends, but I assume it has something to do with finding a comfort zone again. I sat there on the couch, with tears rolling down my face, just giggling at it all. It is so not me, but you know what? I am feeling a whole lot better this morning than I have in (literally) 3 weeks. Sappy, right? I could care less if it is, feeling happy again is wonnnnnnderful! I owe it all to these muffins….and Ina
The moral of the story? If you’re prone to stress and worry, and have been fighting a stupid sinus infection for a while….make these muffins. You will feel better. I promise.
The fantastic thing about these muffins is that they are very simple to put together. All you have to do is mix all the ingredients together (they’re listed below for you) in a large bowl….
….then fold in the fresh blueberries. Feel free to use whatever favorite summer fruit makes you happy. You’ll need two cups of it for muffin perfection.
Then, you’ll mix together a little more flour, light brown sugar, cinnamon, kosher salt and a half stick of cold butter in another bowl for your streusel topping.
Fill your paper-lined muffin tins with the batter, almost to the top, spoon 1 tablespoon of the streusel topping onto each muffin, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
Mine took the whole 25 minutes. You want them to be golden and the streusel to be a little crunchy. That’s it! Let them cool a little in the muffin pan, before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely. The recipe makes a whopping 20 muffins. Hooray! That’s more than enough to feed us both for breakfast for the next several days. All things considered, I wouldn’t want to start my days without them this week.
Notes: This batch of 20 muffins cost us $2.00, which was for the fresh blueberries. We had everything else in the pantry, and if you do any baking at all, I’m sure you do too. That means the cost per muffin was just 10 cents. I love breakfasts that make you happy and only cost 10 cents, don’t you?
I have to know, have you ever made and/or ate anything that made you that happy?
Blueberry Streusel Muffins Recipe
Adapted from a recipe by Ina Garten, in her cookbook: Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics
- 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 reduced fat buttermilk, shaken
- 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- 2 XL eggs
- 2 cups blueberries
For the streusel topping:
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
2. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt into large bowl and blend with your hands. In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, butter, lemon zest and eggs. Stir the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture with a fork until just blended. DO NOT OVER MIX. Scoop batter into prepared cups, filling them almost full.
For the streusel topping:
1. Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse until the butter is in very small pieces. Pour into a bowl and crumble the mixture with your fingers.
2. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the streusel on top of each muffin. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the muffin pan half way through, until golden.