Every new year, I start off by assessing the frozen tundra of my freezer and how to make the most of the bounty. Mostly, it's packed with salmon and smoked andouille, halibut; there are also some frost-bitten curry leaves and a few jars of freezer jam, some stray, overripe bananas. But I always look forward to unearthing the big bags of wild Alaska blueberries. There's so much to do with these tart little berries. Aside from making my beloved blueberry gravlax recipe, I turn to the muffin.
Muffins are easy to eat, easy to pack, and work wonders for after-school snacks or post-workout treats. One of my favorite go-to recipes is from the kitchen of Paula Disbrowe, author of "Cowgirl Cuisine." She calls for blue cornmeal, which gives added color and texture to the muffin. You could sub in yellow cornmeal, but be sure to use a good-quality meal such as Bob's Red Mill or Anson Mills. The batter might seem a bit thick, but the juice from the fruit gives it enough liquid to bring it all together.
These can be whipped up, covered and chilled in the refrigerator overnight; just be sure to fold in the berries just before baking. If using frozen berries, no need to thaw them first.
Blue cornmeal blueberry muffins
Makes 16-18 muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup blue cornmeal
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
1/3 cup corn or avocado oil
3 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 pound fresh blueberries or blackberries or raspberries (2 generous cups) (see note above about frozen)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease two standard 12-cup muffin tins.
2. Whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, stir together yogurt, oil, syrup, vanilla and eggs. Using a large rubber spatula, fold the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture until just mixed. Fold in the berries. (If chilling the batter overnight, add berries just before baking.)
Fill 16 to 18 of the muffin cups just to the top and bake for 12 minutes. Rotate tins and bake an additional 12 to 14 minutes until puffed and a tester inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Allow to cool 5 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack. NOTE: For even baking, fill the remaining empty muffin cups with water.
Slightly adapted from Paula Disbrowe's "Cowgirl Cuisine"