Blackberry Crumb Muffins

When I was shopping for our Mother’s Day brunch last weekend, I really wanted to buy fresh fruit to serve with yogurt and granola. In my ideal world, I would have stocked up on strawberries, blueberries and raspberries but the reality was that my options were far more limited. Blueberries and raspberries aren’t in season yet here so not only were they really expensive, but they didn’t look good at all. I probably could have gone with just strawberries, but in the interest of having a little variety, I put some blackberries in my cart too.

Blackberry Crumb Muffins

The thing is I’m really not much of a fan of blackberries – I hate the giant seeds, and often I find the berries aren’t sweet enough for my tastes. I crossed my fingers, hoping that all of these blackberries would be devoured at brunch though I knew the odds were not in my favor – we had a lot of food for just 6 people. As I expected, there were extra berries, and the race was on to find a way to use them before they went bad and wound up in the garbage. As much as I dislike blackberries, I hate throwing away food even more!

Blackberry Crumb Muffins

I considered a lot of options, but these muffins wound up being the best option. I wanted something that could be easily shared and transported so I could spread the blackberry wealth :) The base recipe for the muffins is really quick and easy, which left me with motivation to spend a few extra minutes making a crumb topping for them. I figured in case the berries were extra sour it would help, though I think we all know I didn’t really need an excuse to make a sweet brown sugar crumble for the top. The muffins baked up light and fluffy, and the blackberries softened enough that I actually found myself really enjoying them. I still shared most of the muffins with Shane’s dad but I held back one to enjoy as a treat on my way to the grocery store first thing tomorrow morning. Can’t wait :)

Blackberry Crumb Muffins
muffins adapted from Williams-Sonoma, topping from The Modern Baker

Crumb Topping
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

Muffins
zest of 1/2 lemon
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, at room temperature and lightly beaten
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
2 cups fresh blackberries

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line muffin pans with paper liners.

To make the crumb topping: Add the flour, baking powder and cinnamon to a medium bowl; stir with a fork to combine. In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add the brown sugar to the pan, using a rubber spatula to combine with the butter. Pour the butter/brown sugar mixture over the flour mixture and use the fork to stir until all of the flour is moistened. Set aside while you make you muffin batter.

To make the muffins: Add the lemon zest and sugar to a medium bowl. Use your fingers to rub the zest into the sugar until fragrant. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the bowl and whisk to combine. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the egg, butter and buttermilk. Whisk until the dry ingredients are evenly moistened – the batter will be lumpy, that’s ok. Use a rubber spatula to very gently fold the blackberries into the batter – do not overmix.

Divide the batter evenly among the wells of the muffin pans, filling each about 3/4-full. Break the crumb topping into small pieces and scatter over the tops of the muffins. Bake for about 22 minutes, or until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the muffin pans to a wire rack and let the muffins cool for a few minutes before removing them from the pan to the rack to cool completely.

Makes 12-14 muffins