Once upon a time, blueberries were a seasonal treat. Now, they can be enjoyed year round. Once upon a time, the brief season was highly anticipated, marking a mid-summer’s high point. At my mother’s side, I quickly learned to be able to discriminate among available muffins. Growing up, they were on our breakfast table almost daily for a precious few weeks, when one otherwise ordinary bakery on High Street in Holyoke, MA took to baking perfect muffins with a take-no-prisoners ferocity.
There are three important categories for blueberry muffins that need to be recognized. Only muffins in Category C are to be savored. The others are to be mostly ignored, particularly if you have any self respect.
A. The not-so-good kind, made with artificial blueberries, often from a mix. Not bad if it is from a mix and you dump the artificial berries and add lots of your own fresh ones. Only tolerable they’re so fresh and you can eat them warm. If you haven’t baked them yourself, AVOID them.
B. The cakey, dry kind, perhaps well-intentioned, but always missing the mark. A muffin of this category was an unfailing disappointment. Looking good from the outside, but too dry and too skimpy on the berries. Turn away.
C. The moist, overloaded with blueberries kind. Intense respect. A muffin from this category was always a revelation; plump and irregular, muffin streaked through with indigo blue berries that burst during baking. The fluted paper cup is a nice touch, but is not necessary. Ditto for a crumb or sugar topping, or adding any extra ingredients. It’s like guilding the lily.
If you’re able to, eat your muffins warm. I also recommend, splitting and grilling them, then coating them lavishly with melted butter and forgetting any thoughts about a diet.