Wednesday, March 21, 2012

(A+) Blackberry, Lemon And Thyme Muffins

If I had to make a list of my favorite foods in the whole wide world it would start with 1. Chocolate Chip Cookies 2. Muffins 3. Grapefruit. This post picks up at #2; a quite outstanding #2. 

If you eat as many muffins as I do, you begin to appreciate a really good muffin when you eat one. When I say really good, I don't just mean flavor. Of course that is a major component, but as any muffin connoisseur knows, there is so much more to it. Like muffin top quality, density, moistness, proper sweetness, etc.

It is in light of this muffin grading scale that I present to you an A+ muffin: Blackberry, Lemon And Thyme Muffins to be exact. Is it any surprise that the recipe comes from LA's famed Cake Monkey? The lovely store front-less bakery that sells their delicious treats at places like Intelligentsia and Umami Burger. Known for their perfect execution of every element of their desserts and high quality ingredients, you can't not love them. And the same is true of these muffins; they bare the same high quality seal as their sister treats. 

Do me a favor and please enjoy them for yourself.

Blackberry, Lemon And Thyme Muffins
adapted from Bon Appetit

1 cup cake flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (plus extra for sprinkling on top)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 large egg yolk

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
1 1/2 cups fresh (or frozen, thawed, drained) blackberries (about 6 ounces), halved lengthwise
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
special equipment:
Eight 4-ounce paper muffin molds, or 12-16 standard muffin liners

Crumble Directions
Whisk first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add butter. Using your fingertips, rub in butter until pea-size lumps form. Add egg yolk; stir to evenly distribute and form moist clumps. (Crumble should resemble a mixture of pebbles and sand.) Chill for at least 1 hour. DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and keep chilled.

Preheat oven to 325°. If making standard-size muffins, line 12-16 1/3-cup molds with paper liners. 

Whisk 1 cup all-purpose flour and next 4 ingredients in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat butter until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar and continue to beat until well incorporated, 2–3 minutes longer. Whisk eggs and vanilla in a small bowl to blend; gradually beat into butter mixture. Continue beating until light and fluffy, 3–4 minutes. Combine buttermilk and lemon zest in a small bowl; gradually beat into butter mixture. Add dry ingredients; beat just to blend (do not overmix).

Toss blackberries and thyme with 2 Tbsp. flour in another small bowl; fold into batter, gently crushing berries slightly to release some juices. 

Spoon about 2/3 cup batter into large paper muffin molds, or divide between prepared muffin pans. Top each large muffin with 2 Tbsp. crumble or each small muffin with 1 rounded Tbsp. crumble. Sprinkle tops with extra chopped thyme.

Bake until tops are golden brown and a tester comes out clean when inserted into center, about 20-30 minutes for standard-size muffins. Let cool in pan at least 20 minutes, then transfer muffins to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Store cooled muffins airtight at room temperature

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