Northern Ontario Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins


Two weeks ago, we piled our camping gear into the car and headed up north for another canoeing trip on the Missinaibi River...okay, James piled the gear into the car, while Isabel slept in and I frantically stuffed travel snacks into a bag!

My point of this whole story is, that since we were in northern Ontario, I made it my mission to find wild blueberries at the height of this summer's drought...and, it was a successful mission! My first order of business the day after we arrived home, was to make these melt in your mouth blueberry buttermilk muffins!

It's a good thing that I stock my house like there is no tomorrow because I had all of the ingredients on hand the day after our trip!

First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees...then, you will need fresh or frozen blueberries (not necessarily from northern Ontario, but they are pretty darn good and a red eye flight to Kapuskasing to get some would be worth it!!)...buttermilk, 2 eggs, all purpose flour, granulated sugar, vegetable oil, baking powder, salt, lemon zest and missing from the photo, vanilla extract.

In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour, 2 1/2 tsp's. of baking powder and a 1/2 tsp. of salt...stir to break up any baking powder lumps there may be.

In a smaller separate bowl, add 2 eggs...

...one cup of granulated sugar (this is organic sugar, which is why it looks a little more coarse and not as white as regular granulated sugar).

...a 1/2 cup of vegetable oil and 1 tsp. of vanilla extract...whisk to combine...

...then add in 1 cup of buttermilk.

Whisk again then set aside.

Add 1 tbsp. of finely grated lemon zest to the dry ingredients and stir with a fork to combine.

Make a well in the centre of your dry ingredients, then pour the buttermilk mixture in all at once.

Stir with a fork just until wet and dry ingredients are incorporated...mixture will be lumpy but that's okay, you don't want to over mix and end up with dense, heavy muffins.

Next, toss in about 1 3/4 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries (if using frozen, do not let them thaw as your muffins will turn out purplish gray...unless you want muffins that are a lovely shade of puce!)

I also like to have a few berries set aside to put on top of the muffin batter...makes 'em look real pretty!

...then gently fold in the blueberries.

Line 14 muffin cups with paper liners or grease tins well, then scoop enough batter into lined or greased cups until they are almost full.

Divide the reserved berries among the tops of muffin batter...

...then sprinkle the tops with granulated sugar...Bake in the preheated, 400 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes...

...or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean and the muffins are golden brown. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack until they are cool enough to handle.

Serve warm for breakfast with a nice spot of tea...

...or smothered in butter with a wedge of cheese and some fruit for a quick lunch...enjoy!

Northern Ontario Buttermilk Muffins

2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour

2 1/2 tsp.'s of baking powder

1/2 tsp. of salt

1 tbsp. of finely grated lemon zest

2 eggs

1 cup of granulated sugar plus another tbsp or 2 for sprinkling over top of muffin batter

1/2 cup of vegetable oil

1 tsp. of vanilla extract

1 cup of buttermilk

1 3/4 cups of fresh or frozen (not thawed) blueberries, plus an extra 1/4 cup to divide among the tops of the muffin batter.

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees then line 14 muffin cups with paper liners or grease the tins well.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt...stir with a fork to combine.

3. In a smaller, separate bowl, whisk together 2 eggs, sugar, vegetable oil, vanilla and buttermilk...set aside.

4. Add the grated lemon zest to the flour, stir with a fork to combine, then make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour the buttermilk mixture in all at once.

5. Stir with a fork just until the wet and dry ingredients are incorporated (do not over mix or your muffins will be tough).

6. Fold in the blueberries then fill muffin cups two thirds full with batter then top with reserved blueberries and sprinkle with sugar.

7. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.

* makes approximately 14 muffins

* keep an eye on your muffins as oven temperatures may vary