July 3, 2018

Jordan Marsh's blueberry muffins

I've got blueberries on my mind lately.  Certainly because it's that time of year - summer, when fresh berries and berry desserts take center stage, particularly around the 4th of July.  But beyond that, I've got blueberries on the mind since getting back from a short road trip to Maine.  There, it was a constant lookout for wild Maine blueberries in every form - from donuts, to ice cream and lemon tarts!
Though there are no wild Maine blueberries to bake with at home, I made do with the usual garden variety.  And the easiest way I can think of to bake with blueberries is certainly in muffins.  It's lucky that I happened to have spotted "Jordan Marsh's famous blueberry muffin" recipe from i am a food blog not long ago and vowed to give them a try.  
I'd never heard of Jordan Marsh until spotting the recipe but I now know it was a popular department store based in Boston until the mid-90's.  These muffins were served on the top floor of the department store and deemed "the best" by many.  I've been disappointed more than a few time when it comes to my hunt for bakery-style muffin recipes but it truly pays not to give up because I finally found a winner (and I'm doing the happy dance)!  
So I wanted to post this gem of a muffin recipe. It turns out some lovely bakery-style muffins, which I think of as soft and tender yet hearty muffins that sport a signature slightly-domed, golden brown top.  Now these are the muffin tops I've always wanted!  A sprinkle of coarse sanding sugar before baking accentuates the crust.  I just adore these golden craggy tops with its crisp crust.  
And the crispy top and edges (which taste remarkably like Danish butter cookies) give way to soft, moist, cake-like muffin studded with juicy blueberries in the center.  All that and these muffins can be mixed together by hand very quickly.  I'm glad I didn't give up my search for bakery-style blueberry muffins.  i am a food blog tweaked the recipe to make a banana chocolate chip version, which I'm more than willing to try.  In fact, I might have to do some experimenting of my own because this base recipe, and the results it produces, is too good not to daydream about.  
Temps were much cooler when we were up in Maine but we've been having a serious heat wave back home in NJ.  Even with the heat, I still can't resist turning on the oven and baking.  It was definitely worth it in this case!

This recipe makes 6 muffins, which is perfect for me, but you can easily double it up.  I love simple recipes that I can make by hand with a couple of bowls and spoons, and that's what I got to do.   
The butter, sugar, milk, egg, and vanilla provide a classic rich cake flavor to these muffins.  I'm sure the lure of adding some lemon zest is out there and I imagine it wouldn't hurt one bit if you're so inclined.

As everyone likely knows by now, the less you mix the batter after adding the flour and dry ingredients, the better.  I know it but I'm constantly reminding myself to mix lightly and as little as possible.  The fresh blueberries go in last and get gently folded in.  In the original recipe, I see that some of the blueberries are mashed and folded into the batter with the whole.  I like i am a food blog's simple rendition of just adding whole berries.  And fresh blueberries is the way to go.  The last time I made a batch of muffins with frozen ones, I was faced with green streaks that I just can't get used to.  
The finished batter is ultra-soft, hinting at what's to come out of the often.  Give the tops a sprinkle of coarse sanding sugar and you get more texture, a little sweetness, and the muffins just look all that much better. 
When they are done, the tops have domed and browned nicely.  Carefully remove the muffins from the pan - you'll notice how soft and tender the muffins are - and let them rest on a cooling rack.  
If you can, grab one while it's still warm and the tops are extra crunchy!  It's the little things in life - like a good fresh muffin - that makes life so pleasurable.  

When in Maine...  

There is plenty of amazing food to be had in Portland, Maine, where we visited on a brief road trip recently.  Besides seafood, my husband and I were on the lookout for blueberries eats featuring those wild Maine blueberries.  A couple of highlights were the blueberry donut from Holy Donut.  This popular donut shop makes ridiculously-delicious donuts using Maine mashed potatoes...yes, mashed potatoes!
...and this little lemon tart with blueberries that we picked up at Standard Baking Co., which was a knockout.  It got me thinking that all lemon tarts should be topped with fresh blueberries!  This bakery is a serious gem and I'm happy we got to sample and take home some of their goodies.
It's always about the food, isn't it?  For most of us, anyway.  It's a wonderful unifier and I'm sure glad for it.  Here's to a great summer, filled with good eats!


Jordan Marsh's Blueberry Muffins
From i am a food blog

- For 6 regular muffins - 

4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature 
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup milk
1 cup fresh blueberries, washed and dried
Coarse sanding sugar, for the tops

Line a regular muffin tin with 6 paper liners.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and well combined (I used a wooden spoon but you can also use a hand mixer).  Add the egg, and beat well.  Add vanilla extract, mixing to combine.  

Whisk (or sift) the flour, salt, and baking powder together in a small bowl.  Add this to the butter mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk (flour, milk, flour, milk, ending with flour).  Do not overmix.  Gently fold in the blueberries.

Divide the batter evenly among the 6 muffin cups.  Top each with coarse sanding sugar.  Bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until the tops are domed and golden, and a cake tester comes out clean.  

Remove muffins from the tin and set on a cooling rack.  Enjoy! 


  1. That sweet crusty muffin top looks so good! And you are right, lemon and blueberry are a heavenly combo.

    1. I know...I am so smitten with the tops. I've been trying to find a recipe that can do that for ages. : ) And blueberries on lemon tarts from now on!

  2. Love love a good blueberry muffin and those juicy blueberries, yum!!
    Hope alls well dear.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Asha. All good here but time flies, doesn't it. Just trying to savor...Hope all is amazing at your end!

  3. I haven't been to Maine in years - hope you enjoyed your trip. These muffins do look like they delivered big time! Happy summer ;)

    1. It's nice to get away for a little but I always look forward to being home. : )

  4. A muffin top that tastes like a danish cookie, we are sold! We need to make a double batch and freeze some for some easy breakfasts and snacks.

    1. That sugary crust on top really reminds me of a danish butter cookie. Muffins are such a tempting easy, quick breakfast. : )

  5. I've always wanted to visit Maine. My husband went all the time as a kid and loved it. On my bucket list! ANYWAY. I've had blueberries on the brain too - I can't stop buying them! These muffins look delicious!

    1. This was our second visit. It was nice to experience Portland this time. I'm still daydreaming about those potato donuts (and I'm not even a huge donut person) and it reinvigorated my blueberry thoughts. Here's to summer! : )

  6. Blueberry muffins are such a wonderful classic, aren't they? I make one recipe or another every summer and they are always gone in a flash. Your version looks and sounds delicious!

    1. These were gone pretty quickly and I just adored how "bakery-like" they looked. It's hard to find a recipe like that.

  7. I love blueberries and I agree muffins are the easiest to add these gems to.And, they are a perfectly portable breakfast to bring to work or school. I think I’m going to make some today :)

    1. Hi Bal - thanks! Hope you try it...I used the base recipe again but just filled it with chocolate chunks instead of blueberries. The muffins went quick but weren't as moist as the blueberry version. The tops were still nice and crusty though. : )



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