Who knew that blueberry muffins would be a million times better with a little cream cheese added to the batter? These simple blueberry muffins are spectacular.
What a wild, wild weekend. Our little corner of Idaho has been slammed with some crazy winter weather the last week (hello, four school snow days in a row), but this weekend was insane. Snow, ice, rain – even church was canceled, which is relatively unheard of.
Our local grocery store was packed with people panicking to get water and toilet paper and food and dark chocolate (wait, that was just me). We knew there was a chance of power outages, so our family prepared as best we could – filling up the bathtubs each night in case the power went out the next day (our well pump is powered by electricity that unfortunately our generator can’t hook into…yet).
And we also made sure we had wood for our fireplace and propane for our independent Big Buddy heaters, if needed (sidenote: this is totally unsponsored, but I just have to say, those heaters are amazing; if you don’t have one, they are worth the investment as they are safe to use indoors and are a very effective source of heat in an emergency – or even when working in a cold garage or something like that).
And then we just hunkered down and hoped for the best. And by we, I mean me and the kids. Brian spent much of the weekend with his 4-wheeler + plow making sure everyone in a 5-mile radius could get out of their driveways. Not that anyone was driving anywhere. But if they needed to, they could! For about six minutes before it filled in again with inches of snow (and now rain and ice).
Anyway, all is well so far, and thankfully it wasn’t as bad as it could have been (although the constant moisture, now rain, has been pretty awful for our already leaky ceiling). It was definitely a good chance to take stock of how prepared we are for an emergency, especially since I’m kind of an emergency preparedness junkie.
Now on to more exciting things!
Like blueberry muffins.
And not just any blueberry muffins. Blueberry cream cheese muffins.
I wasn’t actually planning on posting this recipe quite yet (I have the most amazing vanilla bean pudding cake to share with you…but figured maybe these muffins might be a better choice until January’s over, since some of you crazy cats aren’t eating sweets this month, and I’m trying to patiently honor that decision).
Plus, when I showed you a teaser of these muffins on Instagram, you went crazy.
So. Here you go.
I love blueberry muffins any which way, but I’d have a hard time saying these are not my current favorite.
First of all: cream cheese in the batter.
Not swirled in, not dolloped on the top, it’s mixed right into the batter with the butter and sugar. The cream cheese lends a creamy flavor to the muffins, but it also gives the blueberry muffins a slightly more dense and deliciously soft texture that is irresistible (as in, try to eat only one – I dare you).
Second of all: buttermilk, baby.
I happen to believe in buttermilk. I love buttermilk. I think buttermilk makes almost any baked good better. I always keep it on hand or rely on my handy-dandy homemade buttermilk substitutions. And in the case of these muffins, it makes the crumb extra tender and flavorful.
While these muffins may look like any ordinary blueberry muffin, I promise they are special and just unique enough to warrant an immediate drop-whatever-you-are-doing-and-make-them moment.
Because it’s the middle of January, and I’m not willing to sell one of my children (most days) to buy sub-par blueberries at the grocery store, I immediately reached for my stash of freeze-dried blueberries for this recipe.
Best decision ever.
Of course fresh berries will work, too, but I was thrilled that the freeze-dried berries worked out so well, and I can’t wait to experiment with other berries, like raspberries or blackberries, both of which I also have in my food storage in freeze-dried form.
A versatile muffin is a very good muffin indeed.
A big thanks to my virtual friend, Heather, who emailed me this recipe last week and insisted I make them. We were currently on snow day #2 at that point, so these divine blueberry muffins happened almost immediately.
They happened to be a sanity-saver that day. A snow day diversion. A total pick-me-up. And additionally, they are one of the tastiest blueberry muffins to cross my blueberry muffin loving lips (and hips).
One Year Ago: Cheesy Black Bean Lasagna
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I've only ever made these muffins with freeze-dried blueberries (delicious!), but my friend, Heather, that sent me the recipe makes them with fresh blueberries. I'm not sure how frozen blueberries would fare, but I'm guessing they'd work fine (don't thaw before using!).
I haven't tried it, but I think a little touch of fresh lemon zest in this muffin batter would take them completely over the top. Whatever you do, don't even think about drizzling a lemony, powdered sugar glaze over the top. I'm sure it would be awful. Just awful.
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 4 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups (11.25 ounces) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2 cups blueberries; I use freeze-dried (see note above)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper/parchment liners. Set aside.
- With an electric handheld mixer (or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), cream together the cream cheese, butter, and sugar until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes.
- Add the eggs, vanilla, and buttermilk, and mix again until well-combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add the dry ingredients to the muffin batter and mix with a wooden spoon or spatula once or twice. There will be a lot of dry steaks remaining. Add the blueberries. Mix until JUST combined. Don't overmix. It's ok if it's slightly lumpy.
- Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake for 14-17 minutes until the tops spring back lightly to the touch. Don't overbake (the exact time will depend on the variance of temperature in your oven so if you have to add time, that's ok).
- Remove the muffins to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in a covered container at room temp or in the refrigerator for several days. The tops of the muffin will soften as they are stored; they reheat beautifully for 10-15 seconds in the microwave and taste fresh as can be even days later.
Recipe Source: adapted slightly from this recipe after my friend, Heather, emailed me saying I should make them soon