Friday, June 25, 2010

Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins

In an article on December 4, 2004, The Boston Globe stated: "For decades, any decent downtown shopping trip ended at Jordan Marsh, where the promise of a sugar-crusted blueberry muffin could make annoying children angelic." Now that the famous department store and its revered bakery have receded into history, the recipe for those muffins has escaped and circulated. Let me tell you, they live up to their reputation. In my family, no Sunday morning is complete without them. Try the recipe for yourself:

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup milk
2 1/2 cups blueberries; preferably fresh, but frozen ones will work
Coarse sugar like turbinado for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 12-cup standard muffin pan with cupcake papers, then spray with Pam or Baker's Joy.

Mix together flour, baking powder and salt until well-blended; set aside.

In a large mixer bowl, beat butter and sugar till fluffy; add eggs, one at a time, beating until fluffy after each. Beat in vanilla. Turn mixer speed to low. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour. Beat one minute at low speed (this allows these very tender muffins to develop enough gluten to keep them from falling apart when taken from the pan). Fold in blueberries.

Fill muffin cups evenly, and sprinkle tops with coarse sugar. Bake for 25-30 minutes, till golden brown. Remove from oven; let stand in pan about 5-10 minutes. If necessary, loosen muffins by running a knife around each one, carefully, then remove them from the pan. Enjoy!

A loving thank-you to my friends June, who first gave me this recipe, and Heather, who inspired me by mentioning blueberry muffins this morning!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

White Chocolate Raspberry Swirl Brownies

Is it raspberry season yet? I've been waiting so patiently!

Aren't raspberries beautiful? That perfect color, that soft downy feel, that explode-the-brain flavor--and the way it wakes up everything it lends its flavor to - is there any wonder I wait longingly for fresh raspberry season every year?

Fortunately, there are recipes like this that make the wait not so long. You can use frozen berries in this just as well as fresh.


1 cup sweetened frozen raspberries, defrosted and drained, or fresh raspberries mixed with 2 teaspoons sugar
9 ounces premium-quality white chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup white sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Powdered sugar for dusting

1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 175°F. Butter the bottom and sides of an 8 x 8 x 2-inch pan.

2. Use the back of a spoon to press the sweetened raspberries through a strainer to remove the seeds. Measure 1/4 cup strained purée into a small bowl. Set the purée aside and save any additional for another use.

3. Place the white chocolate in a nonreactive ovenproof container and melt it in the oven about 12 minutes. As soon as it is melted, remove it from the oven and stir it smooth. Set aside to cool. Increase the oven to 325°F.

4. Stir the flour and salt together in a small bowl and set aside.

5. Put the butter and sugar in the large bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Decrease the speed to low and add the eggs, vanilla, and almond extract, blending until the eggs are incorporated. You will see pieces of butter. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl once during this time. Beat in the melted white chocolate. Mix in the flour mixture just until it is incorporated and the batter is smooth.

6. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Drizzle the 1/4 cup raspberry purée over the top. Draw a thin metal spatula gently through the purée to swirl it with the white chocolate batter until the top is marbleized.

7. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Cool the brownies in the pan on a wire rack about 1 hour. Dust with powdered sugar and cut into 12 to 16 pieces.

These are beautiful and elegant--but they tend to disappear rapidly. You might want to make a double batch.