Part IV: Matter in All Its Forms

7 Mar

Muffins are the same damn things as cupcakes.  I know you get them with your latte in the morning and they have blueberries, so you get to feel good calling them breakfast.  But I could make some blueberry cupcakes, put some buttercream frosting on top, and you wouldn’t know the damn difference, would you.  WOULD YOU.

Now, I don’t want you all to think this whole thing is some Larry David, “What do you mean you’re out of Rum Raisin?”-level complain-a-thon.  I’m talking about this for a reason.  I made muffins to prove a point: that you shouldn’t just bake em up in the morning and awkwardly crumble them into your face.  You’re gonna make these Blackberry, Lemon and Thyme Muffins too, at night, just like I did.  And they’re gonna taste ten times better than anything would at 6 AM.

Here’s what you need:


-1/2 cup cake flour

-1/8 cup sugar

-1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme, if you’re lazy and/or worthless)

-1/4 teaspoon baking powder

-1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

-3 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes

-1/2 large egg yolk


-1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

-1 cup cake flour

-1 teaspoon baking powder

-3/4 teaspoon baking soda

-1 teaspoon kosher salt

-1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

-1 cup sugar

-2 large eggs

-1 teaspoon vanilla extract

-1 cup buttermilk

-2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest

-1 1/2 cups fresh (or frozen, thawed, drained) blackberries (about 6 ounces), quartered                      (this said halved originally, but that gave me some bites that were blackberry-free, and others that were just ALL blackberry.  This should make things a little more democratic)

-1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (or 2 teaspoons dried, you already know why)

Here’s how to do it:

Actually, a couple of things before I really tell you how to do it.

1. If you follow the original recipe (like I did), you’re going to end up with an asinine amount of crumble.  I don’t know who in their right mind thought you could put two damn tablespoons of crumble on a muffin, but you can’t.  You’re gonna end up with a crumbly-ass muffin tin, and a mouthful of rusty iron instead of tasty, muffin-y goodness.  You don’t want that.

2. I fucked up and put the egg yolk in first.  Don’t do that.  Not that it really matters, it’s crumble, not a beef wellington.

Ok, NOW here’s how to do it:

Put your dry stuff in a bowl and whisk it.  For those who don’t know what dry means, that’s flour, sugar, thyme, baking powder, and salt. Or put the egg yolk in too.  I genuinely don’t give a shit.

Add the butter.  The recipe says to rub it in, i just mixed it around and squeezed it a lot.  Do whatever makes you feel all special and cheffy.

If you’re not an idiot like me, you should put your egg yolk in now, and stir it in evenly.  I’m not exactly sure how you halve an egg yolk, but the world’s not gonna end if you don’t get exactly half.  Like I said; Crumble: the most unimportant baking thing you can make.

It should end up looking like tiny little pebbles, just like this.  After that, all you have to do is chill it for an hour in the fridge.

Now the important part: the muffins.

Preheat your oven to 325.  Then put both flours, anything that says baking on it (that’s baking soda and baking powder if you’re keeping score at home), and salt in a medium bowl and whisk them up.  Put it aside, you’re not gonna need it for a while.

Use an electric mixer (or your bare hands if you’re just hard as fuck) and beat the butter until it’s all pale and fluffy and tasty-lookin.  Should be just a couple of minutes.  If you thought ahead, you took the butter out before you started all this nonsense, and now it’s at room temperature.  If you didn’t, there’s a magic box marked “microwave” that’ll make it room temperature.

Add your sugar and keep beating for 2-3 minutes, until it gets all good-lookin like the picture.


Whisk your vanilla and eggs in a bowl and mix them in gradually.  Sometimes gradually means dumping them in all at once.  And that’s ok, but only because I did it.  Keep mixing for about 3-4 minutes, until they get nice and creamy.


Put the buttermilk and lemon zest in a bowl and gradually beat them in.  Which will look goddamned disgusting.

Add the dry stuff, and beat it in just til it’s combined.  Any more and bad things will happen.  You know the drill.

Toss your blackberries, thyme and 2 tablespoons of AP flour in a bowl and shake them up nice.  Make sure you cut your blackberries more than I did, unless you want a totally uneven muffin.  Which you can do, but I won’t like you as much.  And I don’t even know who you are…so that’s saying something.

Fold the berries in, and make sure you crush them a bit to get those juices into the batter.  Just a bit though, don’t Lou Ferrigno on this and hulk out.  The berries didn’t do anything to you, man.  Calm down.

All that’s left is to spoon them into a muffin tin and put some crumble on top.  You don’t have to be exact (sensing a theme here, people?), just throw some all over the place.


Just pop them in the oven for about 45 minutes, let them cool for another 20, and put them on a cooling rack.  Or a plate, if you suck and don’t have a cooling rack.

All that’s left is to crumble some beats on top of these muffins, and I’ve got just the thing.  Check out the Vince Guaraldi Trio with Blue Charlie Brown:

Now find a chair (a CHAIR, not a sofa, this isn’t the 60’s for god’s sake), settle back, and pour yourself a glass of milk.  See how much better that muffin is now that you’re eating it properly?  It’s a muffin revolution, people.  Start putting muffins back in the spotlight where they belong, and stop making them “part of a balanced breakfast”.  You heard it here first.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit, you can find the original here:

But don’t use that. Use mine.

No special thanks to my girlfriend for not taking awesome pictures like she has been…she decided to yoga instead.  Completely selfish.


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