These famous department store blueberry muffins have the ultimate buttery-moist-delicate crumb ratio. The simplicity of the recipe makes these a great breakfast treat, lunchbox snack, or summer night dessert served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
This might sound really weird, but a few weeks ago I really craving the texture of the blueberry muffins we buy here in Australia from one of our biggest supermarkets, Woolworths.
There’s something about the texture of their muffins that’s so incredibly cloud-like yet velvety. The crumbs are fine, soft, and moist. Of course, I didn’t want to buy the muffins, I just wanted a replica muffin at home, so naturally I Googled “department store blueberry muffins recipe”. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. I thought it was ludicrous but then again, Google has answers to everything anyway.
It turns out I’m not the only one who craves department store muffins. Apparently hundreds of thousands before me craved them too, and considering the U.S. of A. has a monopoly on the inter web, it seems there was a particular department store muffin recipe people were insane for.
I took a history lesson, learning about Boston’s Jordan Marsh department store and the sweet treat they served their hungry customers after a long shop. I learned that these muffins have the ultimate buttery-moist-delicate crumb ratio without being too rich, too dense or too dry. Add to this the simplicity of the recipe, and I was sold. I had to try these department store blueberry muffins.
So, how do you make the department store blueberry muffins?
The first step here is to beat your butter and sugar until well combined. All delicate cakes start with this step, often calling for room temperature butter as it’s easier to work with, and granulated sugar.
Why should I cream my butter and sugar?
This creaming technique does not just combine the ingredients, it aerates them. Aerating butter by whisking it is made easier with sugar as the sugar crystals efficiently trap the air bubbles in. The finer your air bubbles are, the lighter in texture your muffins will be – which results in a finer crumb. This is a true characteristic of the department store blueberry muffins, and the said texture I was craving. To achieve the finer air bubbles, use an electric mixer and be careful not to let your butter get too warm. Read below for more tips on this.
I forgot to bring the butter to room temperature, help!
Really soft or melted butter will not hold air bubbles like cold or room temperature butter. So the first piece of advice I can give you is: do not soften/melt your butter in the microwave. The quickest way to warm your butter slightly is to cut it into 1 inch (or about 2cm) cubes and set it aside while you measure out and prepare the rest of your ingredients. By the time you line your tin, preheat the oven, and finish your mise en place, the butter will be room temperature, or at least softer than rock-hard from the fridge.
Another thing to keep in mind, is that you can in fact use fridge-cold butter, it’s just a bit harder to work with. If you choose to do this because you’re short on time, simply cut the butter into cubes as mentioned above to make creaming easier.
My butter has gone too soft and is melting!
If you are using room temperature butter and you feel like it’s starting to soften too much as you’re beating it with the sugar, go to the next step and add one of the eggs, ensuring the egg is cold from the fridge to help cool down the overall batter temperature. Proceed with the recipe once the egg is well combined.
If your room temperature butter has gotten too soft before you start the creaming, simply place it in the fridge for up to 5 minutes to solidify again.
Once you’ve creamed the butter and sugar, add the eggs, one at at time until well combined. Add your baking powder, salt and vanilla and mix well. Next, alternate adding the flour and milk mixing well after each addition. Remember to stop and scrape down the sides occasionally.
Now what’s left are the blueberries. Add all the blueberries, saving a few to dot on top and mix carefully with a wooden spoon. Be careful not to overmix. Evenly divide the batter, and push about 3 berries into the tops of each muffin. I chose to do this for aesthetics, but it’s not necessary. Top each muffin with a teaspoon of sugar and bake until golden brown.
Can I substitute fresh with frozen blueberries?
Yes! If you don’t have fresh blueberries on hand, or they’re out of season, or you just don’t have enough for the recipe, you can substitute with frozen blueberries. Do not thaw before mixing into the batter.
Department Store Blueberry Muffins
- ½ cup (115g) butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup (200g) sugar
- 2 large eggs, cold from fridge
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups (240g) plain, all purpose flour
- ½ cup (125ml) milk
- 2 cups (200g) blueberries, fresh if possible
- 6 teaspoons granulated sugar (1 for each muffin)
- Preheat the oven to 190 C / 170 C fan forced / 375 F. Lightly grease a 6-cup jumbo muffin tin, or a 12-cup regular muffin tin. Alternatively, line with paper cups.
- Add butter and sugar to a bowl and cream using a stand or handheld electric mixer until well combined.Add the eggs, one at a time beating well after each egg.
- Beat in the baking powder, vanilla and salt.Remember to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.
- Alternately add the flour and milk in 2 batches, beating after each addition on low speed. Scrape bowl to well combine.
- Mash 1/4 cup of the blueberries and add both mashed and whole berries to the batter, mixing in with a wooden spoon. Do not over mix. Save a few berries to add on top for aesthetic purposes if desired.
- Evenly divide the batter between the muffin cups and top with reserved berries and 1 teaspoon of sugar (per muffin).
- Bake for about 25 minutes, until golden brown. Do not overbake as this will dry the muffins out. An inserted skewer should come out cleanly (ignoring any blueberry juice that may get on it).Let cool for 10 minutes before bringing to room temperature on a cooling rack.
Tried it? Let me know if you liked it!