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.

The 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.

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

This 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.

These 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: https://mariashriver.com/the-sunday-paper-dinner-table-lemony-yogurt-muffins-dorie-greenspan/

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