Berry Good Cornmeal Streusel Muffins
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Sugar-topped cornmeal streusel muffins loaded with blueberries and raspberries – what is not to love I ask?
Berry Good Cornmeal Streusel Muffins are a famed breakfast sweet in my family, and pack especially well for early mornings on the beach. Since we are not doing much ‘beach’ these days given shutdowns, a cozy corner on our front porch with one (or two!) of these midsummer bakes and hot coffee is where you’ll find me. Eat warm with a smear of salted sweet cream butter or a mild drizzle of salted honey – Heavenly. A great use for the season’s berries, this recipe is short and easy. There is a bunch of yum baked into these little guys. Loaded down with berries makes them sweet without a ton of sugar. Buttermilk keeps them moist. The crunchy cornmeal crumble is about as southern as it gets…c’mon!
Berry Good Cornmeal Streusel Muffins are made with blueberries and raspberries, but you could use any berry really. And yes, for those who will ask if the fruit may be frozen, it can. Do NOT thaw, rather toss first with a tablespoon of flour, then stir the floured berries gently into your batter. The flour will keep the frozen berries from sinking to the bottom during the bake.
Right around July 4th, our raspberry bushes at the little house on Madisonville Road would burst. Seriously…burst with fruit like crazy. Since blueberries were ready mid-June, there was always a one to two week overlap with picking. My Dad would start early in the blueberry patch filling pints and rotating pints to fill the trugs. My Mom would be busy in the early mornings up back picking pints of raspberries for the ladies who reserved the day before.
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We sold much of our produce. It was a side hustle for my parents in many ways which afforded David and I swim lessons, tennis lessons, horseback, and family vacations. All of the picking had to be done before 8am and we picked every day. David and I helped, but we hated it. I wish now that we could go back. We had no idea how blessed we were to have what we had.
Goodies I bake with buttermilk rise to be lighter and fluffier, and the texture of the crumb is absolute perfection…a little container of buttermilk will go a long, long way.
So, my recipe mistakes are your your good fortune. You won’t soon make these after I mention them here. There weren’t many, but enough to make an entire batch of these beauties end up in the trash. First, ensure your butter is at room temperature. I know you tire of hearing me say it, but it will make the creaming process go rapidly and efficiently. This one is by hand; no mixer for this or you’ll over-mix and end up with tough muffins.
Do not lessen or omit the coarse dusting sugar atop the streusel. Coarse sugar gives this cornmeal topping the best ever crunchy sweet texture and taste, all right before a burst of purple goodness in the first bite. Honestly, the crunch is what makes Berry Good Cornmeal Streusel Muffins what they are. I use raw coarse sugar. Turbinado and demerara sugar are fantastic options.
Fresh blueberries are best, but you truly can make this year-round with frozen blueberries — no need to thaw first, just place frozen berries in a baggie or bowl with 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour and toss well. This keeps the berries suspended in the batter during the bake. And lastly, for soft edges, use paper liners, and for crisp edges, use a well-greased, unlined pan. I go the paper liner route. Easier cleanup. That’s it. That’s all I’ve got…
All images and text ©Jenny DeRemer for Not Entirely Average, LLC
Berry Good Cornmeal Streusel Muffins
For the Cornmeal Streusel Topping
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ⅔ cups all purpose flour, divided
- ⅓ cup + 2 tablespoons plain yellow cornmeal, divided
- ¼ cup raw or coarse sugar
For the Berry Good Muffins
- 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
- ½ cup unsalted butter, melted and divided
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 ½ teaspoons quality vanilla extract
- 1 ⅓ cups mixed fresh blueberries and raspberries
Prepare The Cornmeal Streusel Topping
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with 12 paper cupcake liners.
- Stir together 1/4 cup of the sugar, 3 tablespoons of the melted butter, and remaining 1/3 cup flour and 2 tablespoons cornmeal in a separate bowl until crumbly; reserve for streusel topping.
Prepare The Berry Good Muffins
- Whisk together baking powder, salt, 1 1/3 cups of the flour, and 1/3 cup of the cornmeal in a medium bowl; set aside.
- Whisk together buttermilk, egg and yolk, vanilla, and remaining 3/4 cup sugar in a medium bowl until well combined.
- Make a well in center of flour mixture. Slowly pour buttermilk mixture into flour mixture, stirring with a spatula until just combined. Mixture will be lumpy.
*note, if you are using frozen berries, do not thaw, rather toss in 1 to 2 tablespoons flour, then fold GENTLY into batter without over-mixing
- Fold in berries and remaining 5 tablespoons melted butter.
- Scoop batter into prepared pan until each cup is three-fourths full, about 3 tablespoons each. Top each with a tablespoon or so of reserved streusel topping. Top the streusel topping with about a teaspoon or two of the raw or coarse sugar.
- Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center of each muffin comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to stand in pan additional 5 minutes. Remove and cool muffins on a wire rack, about 10 minutes.
- Serve warm with salted butter or a mild drizzle of salted honey, and piping hot coffee or tea.
I’m planning to make these and freeze for a future family brunch. Will the streusel topping freeze well? Should I then reheat uncovered to make the tops crunchy before serving?
Claudia, thank you for deciding on these muffins! They’re my Mom’s muffins, so she will be THRILLED to learn somebody else is giving her zillion year old recipe a whirl. Freezing muffins is very easy. I am going to give you two ways, but keep in mind that if you plan to bake them in AND PRESENT THEM in say a tulip liner versus a regular paper cupcake liner, you will need to get crafty. Let me know if this is the case, and I will give you my solution for keeping things ‘pretty’ for your upcoming Brunch 🙂
The freeze; the streusel will absolutely freeze well. Prepare and bake the muffins as instructed. Then grab a baking sheet or other flat-surfaced platter that can go into a freezer. Allow the muffins to cool completely on the counter, then arrange on the baking sheet and freeze for 1 hour to freeze and secure the streusel. Remove from the freezer and select one of the two efficient ways to store below.
1) If you own a Food Saver that vacuums, use it this way – individually wrap each muffin in plastic wrap so streusel is secure, and then in gallon-sized Food Saver bags, arrange the wrapped muffins. Vacuum out the air and freeze until ready to use.
2) If you do not own a Food Saver, wrap muffins individually so streusel is secure, and then place in resealable freezer bags. Squeeze as much of the air out as possible and freeze until ready to use.
The night before your Brunch, allow the muffins to thaw on the counter. You can serve them at room temperature, or reheat in the microwave for no more than 15 to 20 seconds. Room temp seems wiser since you sound like you’ll be making a whole bunch.
Please let me know how (either method) turns out for you. I have done it both ways and so I know that beautiful streusel is the delicate part that you do not want messed up for the presentation.