muffin of the month, july 2018: rye spiced blueberry streusel muffins

previous monthly muffins

6/18, raspberry, lavender, vanilla bean muffins || 5/18, blackberry honey muffins || 4/18, whole wheat ginger rhubarb muffins || 2/18, cheddar tomato muffins || 1/18, vegan coconut muffins 

In my experience, rye flour is one of those gourmet flours that you can find occasionally and only in small, expensive bags. This is fine: I don’t make rye bread very often (of all the bread I’ve ever made, rye has been the most difficult…so we’re on a break like Ross and Rachel.)

 

 

A couple months ago, however, when I went to get one of those small bags of rye flour (to try and make some pumpernickel), the only bag I could find was 5 pounds. For anyone not familiar with buying flour or sugar, the biggest bag of regular (all-purpose) flour you can find at the grocery store is 5 pounds, and the average small bag is about 2 pounds. For most of the less common flours, the average is 1 pound. Because I don’t use those flours very often, 1 pound can last a few months.

That means 5 pounds would have lasted a year…but North Carolina summers are a special kind of beast. I went to make these blueberry rye muffins a few weeks ago, and as I opened the bag of wheat flour (that had already been opened but then folded and clipped to seal it), I noticed something moving inside. It was almost as if the flour itself was moving.

 

 

It was ants. There were ants all over the inside of the bag…and the 5-pound bag of rye flour…and all of my rice flour…and my almond flour…every single bag of flour that had been open, no matter how well it was sealed, was crawling with ants. There were no ants anywhere else in the pantry (and believe me, I checked thoroughly), except inside my precious bags of flour.

Throwing all of that flour away was like ripping off my own arm and throwing it in the trash.

But enough about ants. Now, the flour shelf in the pantry is full of sealable plastic containers.

 

 

By the way, these muffins are amazing. The rye and whole wheat go together well, blueberries pair with any kind of spice, and the spice mixture is like a little bit of autumn in the middle of summer. It’s weird, but it works.

 

rye spiced blueberry streusel muffins

makes 1 dozen

based on my gluten-free blueberry buttermilk muffins

 

Note: The streusel can be prepared ahead and either frozen or refrigerated, unbaked, until ready to use. It’s best to chill the streusel for at least 10 – 15 minutes before using, so it’ll bake without melting.

 

spiced whole wheat streusel

1.5 oz whole wheat flour

1.5 oz brown sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1.5 oz unsalted butter

 

spiced rye muffins 

7 oz all-purpose flour

3.5 oz rye flour

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp anise

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cardamom

4 oz vegetable oil or butter, melted and cooled

7 oz milk or buttermilk

2 eggs

5 oz granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 c (6 oz) blueberries, fresh or frozen

 

make the streusel 

In a small food processor, combine everything except the butter and pulse a few times to combine. Alternately, you can whisk the ingredients together in a large bowl.

Chop the butter into small pieces (at least 6 pieces, no more than a tablespoon each), and add to the dry mixture.

If using a food processor: Pulse the butter and the dry mixture together (stopping and starting) until it forms coarse crumbs. Once it looks sandy and chunky, it’s done. If you pulse too long, you might start forming a dough, which you’ll have to break up again.

If using a bowl: Use a pastry blender, combine the butter and dry mixture until it forms coarse crumbs.

Transfer the streusel mix to a sealable container and chill or freeze until ready to use. You can bake streusel straight from the freezer.

 

make the muffins

Preheat the oven to 350 F/175 C and line a muffin pan with paper muffin liners.

In a small bowl, combine flours, baking powder, salt, and spices.

In a larger bowl, whisk together oil/butter, milk, eggs, sugar, and vanilla until uniform.

Quickly combine the dry mixture into the wet ingredients and add the blueberries. There may be a few small lumps of flour, but most of the dry mixture should be wet. You don’t need to mix the batter too much.

Using a spoon or cookie scoop, divide the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups and sprinkle a liberal amount of streusel on top.

Bake the muffins for about 30 – 35 minutes until they spring back when pressed lightly in the middle, or a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

 

Toodles!

Nick P.

Categories: Breads, muffins, seasonal produce