Blueberry and orange muffins

I’m drawn to blueberry muffins at bakeries or cafés. Next to the triple chocolate and apricot cream cheese muffins, they look the healthy choice; all those antioxidants must be good for you. I like blueberries; blue is such an unusual colour for fruit (delphinidin, the anthocyanin, which gives plants their blue/purple colour is less common in the edible species), and the soft berry flesh makes a great complement to the cake-like texture of muffins.

This recipe comes from Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess (becoming my go-to cookbook for easy basics). It horrified me that the size of a standard muffin is half of the ones you get from the bakery or café, – that’s where all the extra calories are coming from!

I had read that muffins freeze readily and can be thawed out and reheated in the microwave with no loss of flavour, so they are good to keep around for guests and snacks. I’ve made these for work colleagues as they can be made the night before and warmed up in the microwave just before serving.

The level of sugar is dependent on the sweetness or tartness of the blueberries. I had to increase it to counter the acidity, and you can also reduce the amount of blueberries to suit, as 200g is a lot for the amount of batter.

75g butter
200g plain flour
½ tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
85g caster sugar
200mL buttermilk (or 100g yoghurt and 100mL trim milk)
1 large egg
200g blueberries (fresh or frozen, can reduce to suit)
1 tsp orange zest
12-cup muffin tin (I used a silicon tray, but if you are using a metal tray, line using cupcake cases)

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Melt the 75g butter in the microwave, and set aside to cool.

Sieve all the dry ingredients together, and mix well. Whisk the buttermilk, egg, grated orange and melted butter until blended, then add to the dry mix. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, roughly mix the batter, until just combined. Over-mixing will cause the muffins to become heavy.

Toss the blueberries with a tbsp of flour to soak up excess liquid so it doesn’t bleed into the rest of the batter. Mix lightly into the batter.

Divide into the muffin cups (I sprayed my silicon trays with cooking spray). Bake for 20 minutes.

Cool and serve (or freeze). To serve frozen muffins, defrost at room temperature or in the microwave.

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