Blackberry and nectarine muffins

Quite a ways back, I posted a recipe for homemade sweet cream butter, which I’d whipped up in an emergency to go with some muffins I’d baked for Joe. Like I mentioned before, muffins are one of his favorite breakfast items on the weekend, but I hadn’t made them in forever — they didn’t really mesh well with our beach-ready summer diet! But now that the trips have passed, we’ve been a bit more lenient and have fallen back into our hedonistic, refined-carb ways. So, the muffins made an appearance this past weekend.

This muffin recipe is something I’ve experimented with over the years, and reflects my personal taste in the pastry. They’re pretty rich, definitely cake like, and the raw batter may almost confuse you since it doesn’t take on the usual thick, gloppy consistency one might expect in a muffin mix. What’s great about this recipe is that you could make it with no fruit or other garnishes and have a very basic vanilla-almond muffin that you could load up with your favorite jam. But this time of year, when there is so much good fruit in season, I like to add in different berries or stone fruits.

Bake a batch, settle in with some freshly brewed coffee and a stack of magazines, and you’ve got the perfect start to the weekend.

Blueberry and nectarine muffins

Dry ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (you can also substitute 1 1/4 cups of whole wheat flour)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 granulated sugar
  • 1/4 c light brown sugar, packed
  • –a few shakes of ground cinnamon

Wet ingredients:

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp good quality vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract (if you don’t have this and don’t want to buy it, you can omit it)
  • 1/2 pint blackberries, washed and drained
  • 1 whole nectarine, diced

Preheat your oven to 400º. Line a muffin tin with paper cups, or brush the tin with melted better, so that the muffins don’t stick.

Mix together all the dry ingredients in a large bowl, and set aside. In a separate medium bowl, mix together the wet ingredients with a small whisk or fork, being careful not to stir too vigorously and smash the fruit.

When you’re ready to bake, pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and use a spatula to gently fold the mixtures together. Don’t stir too hard, or the batter will develop gluten and become tough. You just want to blend these together — in fact, if you see a couple loose pockets of dry flour, that’s okay. The consistency will be like a thick cake batter.

Using a 1/4 cup measure, spoon the batter into the muffin tins. Bake for 15-20 minutes (depending on your oven), until the tops of the muffins are golden brown. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then gently remove from the tin and serve with a pat of butter.