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Blueberry Orange Almond Brown Butter Muffins

  These muffins may or may not look quite familiar to you.  For those who have been reading here for more than a a month, you can attest to the fact that I'm clogging your Sundays with endless amounts of Joy the Baker food, as I'm a very active participant in the facebook group, Sundays with Joy.

  The first thing I made as a member of the group was this muffin recipe (Yes, Sundays with Joy members, I still haven't made the Oatmeal Raspberry Ginger Scones!  Some administrator I am, missing in action during the very first week.).  These guys look an awful lot like those muffins, don't they?

  Well, let me tell you a little secret.  This week's recipe is Blueberry Orange Almond Pancakes.  My deal was that the one day I had to make them, I was not in a pancake mood.  The sink was full of dishes (my dishes, probably), my mom was leaving for an entire week the next day, buttermilk was low, I didn't have enough blueberries, and I was just plain ol' crabby.

  When you're in that kind of mood, do you really want to dirty a bunch of bowls, whisks, and ladles just to stand over a hot, spitting, griddle for an hour, putting up with your families endless quizzes on what you're making and when it'll be done?  Well, I don't know about you, but I certainly wasn't feeling it.

  I only had to flip back about 12 pages to find the muffins that had been haunting my dreams since the afternoon I first made them.  How hard could it be to incorporate some orange and almond touches?  Not hard at all.  And, brown butter was involved, always a plus!

  A quick scan of the ingredient list and my mind was made up, muffins it would be.  Success?  Very, very much so.  It took no more than two days for my household to polish off 12 of these...and I'm not going to tell you how much I contributed to that polishing off.

Blueberry Orange Almond Brown Butter Muffins
Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients for the muffins:
  • 7 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
  • Scant 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries (If using frozen, thaw the berries and drain the liquid before using.  Another good tip, whether fresh or frozen, is to lightly toss them in a few tablespoons of flour before adding to the batter.)

Ingredients for the orange streusel topping:
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
  • 1/2 cup flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a muffin pan with liners and set aside. 

To make the muffins, brown your butter.  Do this by melting the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Keep an eye on the butter while it melts, froths, and begins to crackle.  No worries, that's just the water cooking out of the butter.  The crackling will subside and then the butter will begin to brown fairly quickly.  Remove from heat when butter solids become a medium brown color and it smells slightly nutty.  Immediately pour the butter into a small, heatproof bowl, to prevent the butter from possibly burning in the hot saucepan.  You just browned butter, yay!  

In a medium bowl, whisk buttermilk, egg, yolk, and almond extract until combined.  Add the browned butter, whisking to combine.  In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and zest.  Add the milk mixture all at once to the flour mixture and stir gently to combine.  Gently but thoroughly fold in the blueberries.  Divide batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups. 

To make the topping, place the sugar and orange zest on a cutting board or clean work surface.  Rub together with a bench scraper or the back of a spoon for about three minutes, creating a fragrant orange sugar.  Combine the orange sugar, butter, and flour in a bowl and rub together with fingertips until crumbly.  Sprinkle evenly over the muffin batter (Yes, really use all of it!).

Bake 18-20 minutes, or until golden and crisp, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool in the pan for 15 minutes before removing.  Serve warm or at room temperature.  These are best eaten the day they're made, but they will last in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Sources: adapted from Joy the Baker's Cookbook