Fresh, warm from the oven, homemade muffins are a great way to make any breakfast just a little more special. The aroma alone in my household is enough to bring everyone into the kitchen to take a peek into the oven. Made with frozen fruit, these can be made at any time of year. I almost always have the basic ingredients and I can usually rustle up a bag of frozen fruit from the freezer. It really is super easy and it only takes about 35-40 minutes (including 26 minutes of baking time) to whip these up and get them on the table. If you don’t have muffin tin liners then forgo the liners and just spray the muffin tins themselves with some oil. These muffins bake up with a nice dome, moist interior, and crispy top (due to a little sprinkling of sugar). An optional streusal topping makes the muffins a bit more fancy and gives it a buttery flavor, but takes more time which my usually in-a-hurry self, doesn’t have. Just a really delicious way to start your day! It’s up to you to make them just the way you like with your favorite fruit or fruit combination and topping.
I first made these muffins when I was in the fourth grade (a gazillion years ago!) using the Blueberry Muffin recipe from the New York Times Heritage Cookbook. No one in my family remembered how we even acquired this cookbook, but it sat collecting dust on our bookshelf for a long time before I grabbed it to hold down one of the edges of the blanket fort that my siblings and I were building. This led to taking a look inside the big giant book and becoming obsessed with a chocolate cookie recipe. We made these cookies with the help of mom. These cookies tasted nothing like I imagined or hoped, but it was empowering to know that I could make something edible from scratch. I was intrigued to say the least! I’m sure you have your own “induction into cooking/baking” story as well, we all started somewhere. This cookbook became my main recipe source growing up and many of my favorite recipes I use today started with a basic recipe I found here. I didn’t have a grandma to give me recipes that have been passed down through the generations, so these heritage recipes felt like I had lots of American grandmas sharing their time-honored recipes with me.
The blueberry muffin recipe is one of my favorites from the cookbook and one that I keep going back to. Since it’s not in my DNA to leave a recipe alone, I’ve tweaked the muffin recipe over time, including upping the amount of oil, and adding more fruit. I’ve tried all kinds of substitutions and additions, and every fruit imaginable, sometimes just because my freezer offerings left me no choice. However desparate you are though, leave the bag of frozen mangoes in the freezer, just walk away. Trust me. Frozen berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries) and peaches alone or in combination have worked the best. If you use fresh fruit, be aware that the baking time will be shorter. When I’m groggy in the morning and suddenly hit with a need for fresh-baked goods, I just want a muffin recipe that works, no fuss no muss. No fancy ingredients either, I’m definitely NOT going to the store looking the way I am first thing in the morning (this is for public safety, I’m watching out for you).
The Fruit Muffin Recipe (adapted from the Blueberry Muffin Recipe from the New York Times Heritage Cookbook):
- 3 cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 tsps baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup milk (I usually have 1% on hand, but any kind of milk will work fine)
- 2/3 cup canola oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 1/2 cups frozen fruit (cut to blueberry sized pieces)
- sugar for sprinkling on top of muffins
Optional streusal topping (instead of sprinkling with sugar):
- 4 Tbsp flour
- 4 Tbsp brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp cold butter
Mix together flour, brown sugar, then mix in butter with your finger tips or fork, breaking up the butter pieces. Sprinkle on top of muffins before baking.
Here are the directions:
- Preheat your oven to 400°F.
- Whisk the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt) together.
- Whisk the wet ingredients (milk, canola oil, eggs, vanilla) together.
- Prepare the streusal if using and set aside.
- Cut up the frozen fruit (if necessary, since blueberries don’t require cutting and frozen raspberries just need a bit of crumbling).
6. Gently mix the dry and wet ingredients together until just combined, you should see some flour streaks still.
7. Add the frozen fruit (in the pictures, I divided up the batter to make some muffins with peaches and a dash of cinnamon and some muffins with strawberries and blackberries)
8. Mix just until combined. This is key, do NOT overmix at this step.
9. Pour batter into muffin tins (in liners for easier clean up) or straight into muffin tins that have been sprayed (I usually use canola spray). Sprinkle a bit of sugar or streusal topping on top and place them into the oven.
10. Bake at 400°F for 25-28 minutes. In my oven, 26 minutes is the exact time needed to bake these up. Muffins should be golden brown and should not make an indentation when gently pressed. The toothpick test (look for a clean toothpick after inserted) is always a good indicator as well.
This recipe can be made even faster using a stand mixer, being careful not to overmix. Same concept, mix the wet ingredients together in the stand mixer, mix the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in the stand mixer. Mix for a few seconds, add the frozen fruit, mix until just combined. The frozen fruit is much easier to cut when it has thawed for a few minutes. The rest of the steps is the same.
The baking powder amount seems like it’s too much, but I’ve tested this recipe using less baking powder and I believe that 4 teaspoons is the correct amount to get the nice dome. The nerdy scientist side in me can’t help keep testing the different variables in the recipe to see if I can get it just that much better. Substituting 25% of the all-purpose flour with oat flour OR white whole wheat flour affected the denseness of the muffins a little, but was a good compromise for better nutrition value. I have this recipe memorized, and I love to “whip up” a batch of muffins for our family get-togethers just to see the look of awe on my little nieces’ and nephews faces as I place a platter of warm muffins in front of them. Undeserved awe since the recipe is so easy, but hey, I’ll take it where I can get it. Hope you give it a try one of these mornings 🙂