As much as I love homemade everything, I occasionally get cravings for those not-so-homemade treats of my youth. This week it was Dunkin' Donuts blueberry muffins. I used to LOVE those things growing up. Occasionally on the way to school, my mom would pull into the DD parking lot and my little brother and I would race in with only five minutes to get a little something for breakfast. I would invariably get the blueberry muffin because I was a little bit in love with the crunchy sugar crystals on top of the muffin.
It's probably been about 8 years since I stepped inside a Dunkin' Donuts. When I went off to college in DC, I had to forget about them since they're nowhere near as plentiful in the District (especially not Foggy Bottom and Dupont Circle) as they are in NJ. One of my best college friends, Looney, was from Boston and had also grown up on the wonders of Dunkin' Donuts and agreed with me that everything they made was better than that Starbucks place...
Fast-forward to last week. I wasn't feeling too hot and suddenly all I wanted to eat was blueberry muffins. I hunted in vain for a copycat recipe, and failing that, adapted a Martha Stewart recipe I found. It wasn't quite right; a bit softer than I remember and I didn't have the thick sugar crystals for the top (I keep meaning to buy those!), but they satisfied the craving.
I made a dozen, hoping to have enough for the week, but within 2 days they were all gone. The culprit? My boyfriend, who gobbled down two as soon as they came out of the oven, and when I offered to pack him one to take to the office said "Oh yeah...I'll take these three big ones." Needless to say, come photographing time, I was only left with this little guy...
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup white granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons sugar in the raw or decorating sugar crystals (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Generously butter and flour a standard 12-cup muffin pan. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Working over the bowl, toss blueberries in a fine sieve with about 1 1/2 teaspoons flour mixture to lightly coat (this will keep the berries afloat in your muffin, instead of letting them settle down to the bottom); set aside the flour mixture and the blueberries.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream your softened butter and 1 cup sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined. Mix in vanilla and lemon zest.
3. With the mixer on low speed, add reserved flour mixture, beating until just combined. Add milk, beating until just combined. Do not overmix. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the blueberries. Divide batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. If desired, sprinkle sugar crystals on top of muffin batter.
4. Bake, rotating pan halfway though, until muffins are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center of one muffin comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool 10 minutes. Turn muffins on their sides in their cups, and let cool. Serve warm or at room temperature
To store: Wrap muffins individually in parchment paper and keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. If you want to save muffins longer than that, wrap individually in plastic wrap and freeze. To defrost, remove one muffin and leave on the counter overnight, microwave for 20 seconds, or split and toast in a toaster oven or toaster.