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Since forever, I have been a fan of Sandra Lee of Sandra Lee's Semi-Homemade on the Food Network Channel. There have been countless times I have turned to Sandra's programs and her cookbooks during my entertaining years at the house for legit tasty, but time saving recipes. Semi-homemade was a tremendously popular series, and to this day, I still review Sandra's cookbooks when I am cooking or baking for a crowd.
My version of a Semi-homemade streusel blueberry muffin was on order for a friends shower not long ago. I happily agreed to bring some accompaniments, including blueberry muffins before learning exactly how many ladies I'd be cooking for. When the RSVP list topped 60, I knew I needed to get clever so I'd be able to deliver a sweet, tasty, consistent, and visually pretty Brunch-worthy muffin without compromising my time. I immediately thought back to the days I'd watched Sandra prepare a semi-homemade feast for a crowd, and knew I needed to experiment with a shortcut.
Semi-homemade Blueberry Streussel Muffins
Semi-homemade Blueberry Streusel Muffins are just that - semi-homemade, meaning the bulk of the muffin is a store bought mix, and I add to it with additional fruit, and a crumbly cinnamon and brown sugar streusel topping. Because the store bought mix is sweet and consistent, I'm not spending my time quintupling a 'from scratch' recipe, rather using five boxes of mix to satisfy my yield. The key is to start with a proper paper muffin cup that is tall, almost fluted. A sleeve of these Tulip liners from Amazon were under $13 for a sleeve of 100 naturally colored liners, and they look professional and make such a pretty presentation. Best of all though, is that they allow for "building" a muffin taller than a regular paper muffin cup.
Don't misunderstand me, 'from scratch' is awesome, just not always possible with all we have going on these days, minus the time to get it all done in! It's because of this that semi-homemade is perfectly acceptable in my book.
*** A special thank you to my great friend Nikki for the gorgeous Jenny Lind Staffordshire plates we photographed on - they deserved something as sweet and special as these disappearing muffins to show them off! The collection grows....
Ingredients for Semi-homemade Blueberry Streusel Muffins
*** this recipe yields 1 dozen muffins
1 box store bought blueberry muffin mix, for this recipe, we used Betty Crocker; ingredients in parenthesis are according to this brand of muffin mix; be sure to check the package directions of the brand you purchase for specific ingredients
(1/4 cup vegetable oil)
(3/4 cup water)
1 pint fresh blueberries
1/4 cup salted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup all purpose while flour
1 teaspoon apple pie spice or cinnamon
Preheat oven according to package directions on your mix. Line a muffin tin with twelve tulip liners and set aside. Prepare the mix according to package directions. The Betty Crocker mix comes with a can of wild blueberries. For this recipe, we drained this can, rinsed the berries, and drained them further on paper toweling.
Reserve a handful of fresh blueberries and set aside. Add the remaining fresh blueberries to the mix along with the rinsed and drained canned blueberries and fold until just mixed. Overstirring will break the berries and cause them to 'streak' the batter which isn't very pretty, so 3 or 4 gentle folds should do it.
Use a 1/4 cup measure to ladle the batter into the tulip liners, going back and continuing to evenly distribute the remaining batter into each liner so the muffins will all bake to equal size. Use the handful of remaining berries to top off each dollop of batter, 2 or 3 in each cup.
Prepare the streusel by cutting the cold butter into a mixture of the brown sugar, granulated sugar, flour, and apple pie spice. A pastry cutter, fork, or simply your fingertips work well to turn this into a beautifully crumbly texture. It should work out to approximately 1 tablespoon of streusel topping per muffin. Place into a hot oven and bake according to package directions, for ours, approximately 17 minutes.
Enjoy warm from the oven with butter, or package up for whatever special event you are preparing for.