In prowling through the freezer the other day, I ran across a couple bags of frozen blackberries. Way back when the days were hot, I sent the kids out with a quart container each and told them not to come back until it was full.
This command does three things: it gets the kids outdoors for at least 30 or 40 minutes; it gives me a chance to clean without four people messing things up behind me; and, it stocks our freezer with the flavors of summer for the winter.
This week, I used the blackberries to bake blackberry muffins for breakfast. While our family is not huge on breads, other than biscuits, these muffins were a huge hit. They are moist, tender, and fruity. They remind me, on chilly winter mornings, that the sun will shine again; we will be able to get out in our bare feet on hot days and fill our bellies with sweet, tangy blackberries.
2 cups flour
¾ cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup of oil or melted butter
1 cup frozen or fresh blackberries (or more if you have plenty)
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place a teaspoon of oil in each cup of a 12 cup muffin pan. Place the pan in the oven to heat the oil. Remove it after the oil is heated and swirl the oil around to coat the cups. Keep the oil in the pan hot while mixing the muffin batter by keeping it in the oven until the pan is needed.
In a medium sized bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the other ingredients, except for the blackberries.
Stir the blackberries into the flour mixture, tossing them lightly to coat them in flour. (One reason I prefer frozen berries is that they stay in one piece during this process. Fresh berries tend to squish.)
Stir the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients, quickly and gently combining the two mixtures. Stir just until combined; don’t over-mix the batter.
Divide the batter among the 12 muffin cups, dropping it by generous spoonfuls into the hot oil in the cups. The hot oil gives the muffins a delightfully crisp outer shell, while the insides are steamy-soft.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool for a couple of minutes before removing them from the pans. Serve piping hot.