Blueberry Muffin Recipe Round-Robin

The same night that I made the souvlaki and tzatziki sauce, I made two batches of blueberry muffins in participation of the Recipe Round-Robin hosted by Aleta at Omnomicon. The idea was to find the best blueberry muffin recipe using many blind tasters and her statistical abilities. My job was to test two muffin recipes, recipe A and recipe B, and report back which one I liked the best. Since Ryan and I are not likely going to eat 12 muffins on our own (at least, I shouldn’t be responsible for eating half a dozen muffins), I thought they would be the perfect dessert for game night.

First, I made recipe A. It called for pecans, but since one of my guests has a nut allergy, I opted not to include those. I also messed up the ratio of butter and sugar for the topping so mine was a little more liquid-y than crumb-y causing my muffins to look pretty odd and have holes in the top. Neither of these things affected the outcome, I can assure you. The batter smelled (and, OK, tasted… yeah, I tasted it… isn’t the best part of baking be able to lick the bowl?) awesome. It was creamy and smooth. The best part was I didn’t need to buy anything other than the frozen blueberries for this recipe; I had the rest of the ingredients on-hand.

While recipe A was allowed to stand for fifteen minutes before being transferred in to the muffin cups, I made recipe B. I knew, from the list of ingredients, that it required cornmeal, but I didn’t realize until I went to make the muffins that the ratio of cornmeal to flour was equal. As soon as I saw that, I became concerned. I’m not sure if there are different kinds of cornmeal as it’s not something I’ve ever used before. I ended up buying a generic package of something that simply said, “yellow cornmeal”. As soon as I mixed in the cornmeal, the batter became very dry and gritty – not at all what I would expect from a blueberry muffin. Even then, I was still keeping an open mind about it all. Cornbread, when done properly, can be good. Adding blueberries to it seemed like an interesting idea. I was skeptical but intrigued.

When I began filling the muffin cups, the differences became obvious. Recipe A poured nicely into the muffin cups; Recipe B was thick and clumpy, and was more “formed” into the cup that poured. Finally, after baking and cooling, I was able to taste the muffins. I cut one of each in half and sampled Muffin A first. It was moist and delicious. I particularly enjoyed the almost crispy topping and sweetness. Muffin B was dense and dry; the gritty texture survived baking, and it was like everything I hate about cornbread with some blueberries thrown in. The flavors of Muffin B did not meld well at all.

I let Ryan sample the other halves when he got home from work, and he concurred that Muffin A was good, Muffing B was not. By the end of the evening, there were no Muffin A’s left and I still had four Muffin B’s… they were promptly introduced to the garbage can. The vote was unanimous – Muffin A was given the title of “best blueberry muffin ever” and Muffin B was called dry and flavorless.

Aleta posted all the results today, there were many other recipes to be tried other than A and B, but A was the clear winner. It seems everyone was as enthusiastic about it as we were!

About the recipes: each was provided to Aleta through Omnomicon, and I do not know the original source (it was a blind experiment). Each recipe makes “about 6” muffins – recipe A could have definitely made 9 but I made 6 huge ones. I did not figure out the WW POINTS for these muffins, nor do I really want to know how many POINTS were in Muffin A; I highly doubt they are diet-friendly :) (In the picture, Muffin A is in the pink paper cup and Muffin B is in the blue paper cup.)

Recipe A

1 cup flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup oil
1/2 egg (2 tbsp beaten)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup fresh blueberries

1/4 cup dark brown sugar packed
1.5 T melted butter (1 tsp + ½ tsp)
2 tbsp finely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375º.

Combine flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and 1/2 cup pecans in large bowl.

Whisk buttermilk, oil, egg, and vanilla in small bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients; stir just until combined. Gently fold in blueberries. Allow batter for 15 minutes before dividing evenly among paper-lined muffin cups.

Combine melted butter and brown sugar in a small bowl. Spoon 2 tsp over each muffin then sprinkle with 1 tsp of the remaining finely chopped pecans.

Bake muffins at 375º for approximately 20 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Recipe B

1/2 C flour
1/2 C corn meal
3 tbsp Brown sugar
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t cinnamon
1/8 t salt
3/4 C blueberries, I use frozen
1/4 c + 3 tbsp buttermilk
1 T vegetable oil
1/2 t vanilla
1/2 egg (~2 tbsp)

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the mixture and add the blueberries and next 4 ingredients, stirring until just moistened. Drop the batter into a muffin tin. I use paper cup liners, if you don’t have them make sure you’ve greased your muffin tin!

Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

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April 6, 2009. Omnomicon.

5 Comments

  1. aleta replied:

    Yay! Liz thank you so so much (yet again) for taking part.

    Oh, btw, we’re talking 7 WW points apiece for A, and that’s WITH pecans. Not exactly vegetables points-wise, but not as bad as you might have worried. =)

  2. Marianne replied:

    Liz,

    I’m digging your site and commisserate with the quarter-life crisis/unemployment (at least until grad school.) I’m adding you to my roll.

  3. Liz replied:

    Aleta – thanks for the WW info and hosting the RRR! I can’t wait for the next one :)

    Marianne – thank you; I’ve added yours too.

  4. Erin replied:

    I love homemade muffins, and these look good. Be a doll and fedex me a batch, k?!

    :p

  5. Liz replied:

    Erin, I’m not sure Ryan will let them out of the kitchen if I make them again! He ate two or more in one night, and I know he would have eaten more if we had not had guests over LOL

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