Moist & Fuss-Free Berry Muffins

berry-muffin

Moist Berry Muffins

Its ironic how you miss something the most after its gone! People, events, occasions, even seasons and seasonal produce. Our house is slowly filling up with Fall produce, but amidst the glowing fall colors, I am terribly missing the Summer, especially when it gets all dark and gloomy outside. Luckily for us, some wise-headed men discovered the art of freezing foods, so you can enjoy their flavor when you have sudden cravings for something in particular, just like my intense craving for Mixed Berry Muffins.

I picked up one of the fleeting boxes of blackberries from the farmer’s Market last week, so I decided to use them with their frozen berry friends and bake these delicious buttermilk mixed-berry muffins. To make them light and fluffy, I chose to add Buttermilk and vegetable oil, instead of butter. The oil keeps them tender and moist, while the buttermilk adds a sour flavor that compliments the sweet berries. Add a hint of orange juice to enhance the berry flavor, and you have a winning recipe that you can use to indulge in Berry-licious Muffins, no matter what the season!

One important thing to keep in mind though, if you are suing frozen berries, please DO NOT thaw them, as they will bleed into the batter, changing the texture and composition of the muffins. So use them frozen, and fold them into the batter at the very end, without mixing too much. Do the same with fresh berries too, as over-folding or mixing releases excessive juices from the fruits which prevent the muffins from rising.

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Mixed Berry Muffins
Prep Time: 15 mins
Bake Time: 20-30 mins
Servings: 12 muffins

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Zest of one orange
2 tbsp orange juice-2
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup safflower or canola oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 to 2 cups fresh or frozen berries (blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries)

Method
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Position rack in center of oven. Line a muffin pan with paper liners, or use a non stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl whisk together the egg, buttermilk, oil, orange juice and vanilla extract.

In another large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and orange zest. Add the wet ingredients to the dry mixture and gently fold them in. At the very end, fold in the berries and stir only until combined. Do not over mix the batter or muffins will become hard.

Fill each muffin cup almost 3/4 full with batter. Place in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 – 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for about 5 – 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Low-Fat Recipe Variations:
To make this a healthy low-fat recipe, substitute all-purpose flour with whole grain pastry flour, or whole wheat flour. Just increase 1 more egg and 1/4 cup oil to compensate for the texture and gluten difference. These muffins do have a longer shelf life, so they are excellent for after-school snacks or even in kids lunches.


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