Sunday, June 10, 2012

Pregnancy Cravings and Blueberry Muffins

Of all the questions I get asked about my pregnancy, the most frequent (among my friends at least) tend to be around food preferences. People are just fascinated by the cravings for and/or aversions to various foods that often occurs as part of the whole baby-baking process. I have been pretty boring on this front for the most part-- I still eat pretty much everything that I am allowed to eat (with mushrooms the one exception-- my pre-pregnancy love for them has faded to ambivalence bordering on disinterest) and have not really had a strong craving for anything in particular (outside my short-lived pickle obsession in the first trimester). Until this week at least. I spent much of last week thinking about the perfect blueberry muffin, so much so that I actually went up to my cafeteria at work two mornings to see if they had any to offer. But, alas, their muffin selection was restricted to banana nut and chocolate chip. So I made up my mind to make some this weekend instead.

I decided to try out the classic blueberry muffin recipe from The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion. It was a pretty straightforward and easy recipe to whip up this morning. I was pretty happy with the results-- the blueberries did sink a little bit during the baking process (despite the fairly thick batter which I was hoping would help keep them afloat) but not so much that I would hesitate using this recipe again. Next time I might add a little lemon zest to the batter and perhaps sprinkle a little turbinado sugar on the top for some added crunch. On Jason's suggestion I decided to make these "bakery style" by baking them up in my jumbo muffin pans. And let me tell you, a jumbo muffin and half a grapefruit make a delicious and filling breakfast indeed!

Classic Blueberry Muffins
From The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion
(makes 12 normal size muffins or 6 jumbo muffins)

1 stick butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups flour
1/2 cup milk
1 pint fresh blueberries
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 375. Grease a muffin tin or line with paper liners.
2. Cream butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3. Mix in baking powder. Alternate flour and milk until everything is well incorporated.
4. Mash up 1/2 cup of the fresh blueberries and mix into the batter. Switch to a spatula or spoon and fold in vanilla and remaining blueberries.
5. Fill muffin tins 3/4 or so of the way full. Bake for 25-30 minutes (for regular muffins) or 30-35 minutes (for jumbo muffins) until a tester inserted into the middle of the muffin comes back clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes and then either remove from pan or tip the muffins on their sides (to avoid steaming the muffins). Eat and enjoy.