Recipe History: I’ve gone back to my roots and taken my great Aunt Ruth’s vintage recipe for Old-Fashioned Blueberry Muffins and baked them modern swapping out methods and ingredients. Aunt Ruth worked for a prominent family that owned a department store in West Virginia. This is where she mastered her baking skills and created several recipes that have been passed down within our family.
How to make Old-Fashioned Blueberry Muffins:
Use fresh or frozen berries:
These blueberry muffins are delicious year-round, however, they taste even better with fresh hand-picked blueberries. After picking the berries, put them in them in an air-tight container and store in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. To freeze them, place berries on a 1/2 sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Do not wash them as their natural coating helps preserve them. Spread in a single layer and freeze for 1 hour. Place berries in ziploc bags or vacuum seal them for up to 8-10 months.
Make your own buttermilk:
Adding buttermilk provides a tangy flavor and yields a tender baked good. If purchasing buttermilk, look for simple, natural ingredients like “cultured milk” on the label. Some brands are loaded with stabilizers, gums and starches. You can keep dry buttermilk powder in your pantry to mix up anytime it is needed.
TIP: If you don’t have any buttermilk on-hand, make your own:
Method #1: Place 1 T. vinegar into a liquid measuring cup and add cream or whole milk until it reaches the 1 c. measure line and let it sit for a few minutes.
Method #2: Place 1/2 c. sour cream and 1/2 c. whole milk or cream and let it sit for a few minutes.
Method #3: Place 1 T. lemon juice into a liquid measuring cup and add cream or whole milk until it reaches the 1 c. measure line and let it sit for a few minutes.
Combine fats for flavor and texture :
Combine butter to provide flavor, along with oil to yield a tender, moist baked good. If your recipe calls for only butter or only oil, you can combine them together using equal portions of each to make up the full amount of fat originally called for in the recipe. Choose an oil that is has a neutral, light flavor, such as extra light virgin olive oil or canola oil. Swap out old recipes that call for shortening, which has a lack of flavor and lends a waxy texture to baked goods.
Avoid mushy or fruit stained muffins:
Before adding the berries to the batter, toss them in a bit of flour or cornstarch. Mix together all the ingredients and then fold in the berries by hand as the last step. This will ensure that the blueberries will be evenly incorporated and not sink to the bottom or turn your batter into blue mush.
Adjust flavor to your palette:
There are a couple options when adding extra flavor to Old-Fashioned Blueberry Muffins. For a zingy flavor, add freshly grated lemon zest and a bit of lemon juice to brighten the batter. Another option is to omit the lemon altogether and and add 1-2 tsp. vanilla extract along with a dash of freshly grated nutmeg.
How to zest and juice a lemon:
Using lemons in baked goods will offer a bright, zingy flavor and their natural acidity will activate leaveners like baking soda and baking powder to ensure rise. Put lemons on the counter the day you plan to use them as room temperature lemons yield more juice than ones straight out of the fridge. Always remember to zest your lemon before you juice it. The easiest way to zest a lemon is to use a Microplane. To juice the lemon, use a hand-held lemon squeezer or a vintage style glass citrus reamer with bowl.
How to prepare the muffin pan:
Aluminum muffin pans are best since they conduct even heat. I prefer to use vintage muffin pans or modern Nordic Ware. You can choose to spray the pan or use natural muffin liners. Even when using muffin liners, I always lightly spray the muffin pan before I put the muffin liners in to prevent the muffins from sticking in case they spill over. Fill your muffin liners at least 3/4 of the way full to ensure they will rise above the liner when baked and come out bakery style.
Gather your equipment:
- Mixing bowl
- Liquid measuring cup
- Measuring spoons
- Measuring cups
- Large Cookie Scoop or #16 Blue Disher
- Muffin Pan and liners (optional)
- Lemon zester & juicer
For more Vintage Baked Modern muffin recipes:
Old-Fashioned Blueberry Muffins
- Mixing Bowl
- Measuring Spoons
- Measuring Cups
- liquid measuring cup
- Muffin Pan
- Muffin Liners
- Citrus Squeezer
- Microplane or Lemon Zester
- Muffin Scoop or Disher
- 1 2/3 c. unbleached flour
- 2/3 c. sugar
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 c. butter melted
- 2 T. oil
- 1/4 c. buttermilk
- 1/4 c. sour cream
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda dissolve in buttermilk
- 1 egg
- 1 T. lemon zest
- 1 1/2 c. blueberries toss in flour
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray the muffin pan and put in muffin liners.
- Toss blueberries into a little bit of flour and set aside.
- Zest lemon and set aside.
- Place sour cream and buttermilk into a liquid measuring cup. Add in baking soda to dissolve.
- Whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in bowl.
- Add in melted butter, oil, buttermilk mixture, egg, and lemon zest to dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
- Gently fold in blueberries.
- Scoop batter 3/4 full into muffin liners. Brush tops with heavy cream and sprinkle with course sanding sugar.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 23 minutes.