Bread of the Month: Mixing lemon, lavender, blueberries

Occasionally, I stumble across a recipe that reminds me of the versatility and homey comfort of muffins. I don’t make them a lot, and I should, particularly when I find an easy, flavorful version like the Lemony Yogurt Muffins from “Baking with Dorie: Sweet, Salty & Simple,” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 2021) by Dorie Greenspan.

Greenspan, a beloved baking maven, creates alluring recipes that have very specific but simply reassuring directions, like ones you would give a friend, that advise on how a dough should look, etc., so that you know you are on the right track. This extra effort, along with a vast array of delicious recipes showcasing her expertise and talent, make it understandable why Greenspan is so popular.

[I]’m not one to alter or enhance a recipe until I’ve tried it, but for these lemony muffins, flavored with lemon zest and made moist with yogurt, it was a recommended addition to bring fresh blueberries into the mix. 

[I] also had lavender on the brain. Something herb-y and floral like that might add an interesting flavor dimension to the muffin. I decided to make a lemon lavender sugar for the top of the muffins, using a mix of large granule sanding sugar and regular granulated sugar, all blended (using fingers) with lemon zest and some chopped dried lavender. I also repeated this process with the sugar in the muffin dough. The sugar mixture is added to the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda). 

[A] good amount of yogurt (3/4 cup) is used for this recipe. I chose a nice plain thick Greek yogurt, which is brought up to room temperature and whisked with two large eggs and a stick of cooled melted butter.

[T]he wet ingredients are blended into the dry. Here, Greenspan’s advice of using a light hand and not to worry if there are a “few patches” of dry in the blending, was that needed reassurance that one is doing the mixing right to keep the muffins light and tender.

[T]he plump blueberries are added next, again, using a light hand to avoid over-mixing and also not crushing the fruit.

[T]his very thick dough filled up the muffin pan cavity amply, with plenty of blueberries showing for the effort (isn’t disappointing when you can’t see them? Not the case here.).

[I] sprinkled some of the crunchy lemon-lavender sugar over the top of each muffin.

[T]hese beautiful muffins were a sight to behold after baking…plump with perfectly rounded tops, golden, blueberries bursting, sugar sparkling…I could stare at them all day, but I wanted to eat one too much to do that.

[I] bit into one warm, with a bit of butter and a little bit of lemon curd (another Greenspan suggestion). They were so tender and moist, the blueberries so very juicy, the light flavors of lemon and even more subtle, lavender, adding a soft note. And the crunch of that sugar topping…it was a good idea I brought to the table, to a good recipe that was just as welcoming as it could be.

You can find the recipe for Lemony Yogurt Muffins here:

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