Thursday, September 4, 2014

Healthier lemon & wild blueberry muffins

Because it's officially college football season.

Because I've loved Pitt for as long as I can remember.

Because my heart (and half of my wardrobe) is blue and gold.

I made these scrumptious muffins for the first tailgate of the year!  And oh me, oh my, were they good.  But, as usual, I'll get to them in a hot minute.

Pitt welcomed Delaware to town last Saturday, and our entire season ticket crowd was there to back the Panthers.  Even the newest residents of the nation's capital made the trek.  In other words, Pitt, you're kind of a big deal.

Kickoff was at noon, so breakfast was the theme of our spread.  Bonnie a.k.a. Tailgate Matriarch a.k.a. Cruise Director made two batches of this Crock Pot breakfast casserole, one with spicy sausage and the other vegetarian-friendly.  If you're looking for an easier and quicker alternative to MTO breakfast sandwiches for an early morning tailgate, I highly recommend that.  It's always a huge hit with our crowd!

Anyway, before Bonnie reached out to us and got the email chain/menu started, I knew that I wanted to make something that was blue and gold-ish.  Once she announced that breakfast was the name of the game, I embraced the idea of lemon blueberry muffins.  Blue with a little bit of gold/yellow, ya dig?

I started with my favorite blueberry muffin recipe from my go-to baking reference.  From there, well, you know what I did.  I recently saw this quote and think it perfectly describes my cooking personality:

"All human evil comes from a single cause, man's inability to sit still in a room." -Blaise Pascal

Replace "human evil" with "new recipes" and "man's" with "Katy's" and you've got an idea of what my future tombstone will say.

In regards to these pint-sized delights, I made quite a few changes: substituted whole wheat flour for half of the prescribed all-purpose flour, replaced canola oil with unsweetened applesauce, reduced the sugar, added of fresh lemon zest, and incorporated smaller and sweeter wild blueberries in place of regular.

Was it wise to make all of those changes at one time?  Maybe not.

Would I have advised against it to a fellow baker?  Probably so.

Did the gamble pay off?  Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!

These muffins were so moist, thanks to the applesauce and juicy wild blueberries.  And, though I was a little skeptical of the lemon presence (unlike Ina Garten who adds lemon or orange zest to literally everything), I was immediately glad I added it.  The zest added a subtle brightness to the muffins, elevating them from "great" to "wow!"

Don't let the h-word at the beginning of the recipe name fool you -- these muffins may be on the healthier side of breakfast baked goods, but they also pack a major punch in terms of flavor and staying power.  You know, enough to keep one full until halftime when the call of a tray of nachos can no longer be ignored.  

Whether it's a fast and healthy breakfast on-the-go or an after school snack, these lemon & wild blueberry muffins are sure to make your mouth happy (and keep your hips so)!

It doesn't hurt that they turned out to be a good luck charm for Pitt, too; the Panthers creamed demolished embarrassed the opposition 62-0.  Blue & gold for the win!

One year ago: Breakfast "hot dogs" with chicken sausage, peppers & onions
Two years ago: Trail mix Rice Krispie treats
Three years ago: Zucchini bread
Four years ago: Walnut shortbread cookies

Healthier Lemon & Wild Blueberry Muffins
(adapted a good bit from a recipe in Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook)

1/2 stick (4 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting berries
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4w teaspoon salt
2 cups frozen wild blueberries
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of one lemon
2/3 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Fill a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter, applesauce, and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined.  Mix in vanilla and lemon zest.  With the mixer on low speed, gradually add reserved flour mixture, beating until just combined.  Add milk, beating until just combined.  Do not overmix.

In a small bowl, toss together frozen blueberries and a teaspoon all-purpose flour until berries are coated.  Fold blueberries into batter with a rubber spatula.   Divide batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups.

Bake, rotating pan halfway though, until muffins are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center of one muffin comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool 10 minutes. Turn muffins on their sides in their cups, and let cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Muffins can be covered and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days; they can also be frozen in resealable bags for up to 3 months.


  1. Uggggggggggggh Katy, I love reading your posts, except when they're about your love for Pitt! HAHA.

    Let's go PSU!

    All in good fun,

    1. Well, think of these as all blue then ;) How much do you wish you had been in Ireland last weekend?!

  2. Blue and White, duh :) I WAS IN IRELAND, girl! We planned our whole honeymoon around it.


    1. How cool! I knew you were in Ireland but, for some reason, totally thought you were arriving back in Seattle just before the game. We have friends who went and said it was amaaaaazing -- something like 45k PSU fans, and 1k "others" :) Can't wait to hear about your Italian adventures, too!

  3. Oh my! That epitaph sure cracked me up. Hahaha! Well, I guess I have to thank your inability to sit still for producing something so delicious. I absolutely love your recipe. I can almost imagine the taste of those muffins. I'm definitely trying that out. Thank you for sharing!

    Faith Thomas @ The Berry Farm

    1. Thanks for visiting, Faith! You'll have to let me know what you think of the muffins after you've had a sample or two :)