Blueberry Lavender Muffins

Blueberry Lavender Muffins
Baskets of ripe blueberries practically beg to be baked into blueberry muffins. Blueberry is one of the most popular muffin flavors out there, and one of the reasons that it is so hard to tire of them is that it is so easy to put different twists on them to change their flavors. You can add coconut, nuts, lemon zest or a streusel topping. For these Blueberry Lavender Muffins, I added dried lavender to some buttermilk blueberry muffins to give them an unexpected and subtle – but delicious – twist.

The muffins are moist and fluffy, studded generously with plump, juicy blueberries. There is just enough lavender to bring out the subtle floral notes of the blueberries, which makes the muffins seem even more packed with berries than they already are. I added a dusting of lavender sugar on top of the muffins to give them a little extra sweetness and to highlight the lavender a bit, apart from the berries.

I prefer to use fresh blueberries in these when they are available, but frozen blueberries can be used, as well. You may need to add an additional minute or two of baking time if using frozen berries because the quantity of berries used in this recipe will cool down the batter a bit. I also recommend tossing frozen blueberries in 1-2 tsp of flour before adding them to the batter, as that will help prevent the berries from bleeding prior to baking.

The lavender sugar is something that you can prepare in advance and keep in your pantry. It is made simply by mixing dried lavender and sugar, then letting the mixture sit and infuse – much the same way that vanilla sugar is made. You can make it with regular sugar or coarse sugar, and it can be used in any baking application where you want a subtle lavender flavor. I usually use it to top muffins and rim cocktail glasses, so I often use coarse sugar so that I get a more dramatic look when I apply it.

Blueberry Lavender Muffins
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 tbsp dried lavender
Lavender Sugar, for topping (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 375F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and egg until well combined, then whisk in vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the buttermilk, then stir in the remaining flour mixture until it is almost completely incorporated. Gently fold in blueberries and lavender until well-distributed.
Divide batter evenly into prepared muffin pans. Top each with 2-3 tsp lavender sugar.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean and the muffins spring back when lightly pressed.
Cool completely on a wire rack.

Makes 12.

Lavender Sugar
1 cup sugar
2 tsp dried lavender

In a food processor, combine sugar and lavender and pulse a few times to combine. Transfer to an airtight container and store for at least 24 hours (to infuse sugar with more flavor).

Makes 1 cup.

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