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The versatile blueberry

Cat Campbell/The Madera Tribune

Delicious blueberries in a tender muffin batter are irresistible, especially with a bit of butter.


I appreciate blueberries a lot more nowadays than I did earlier in my life. It wasn’t that I disliked them; they just weren’t used in my family’s cooking all that much.

Sure, we had the usual blueberry muffins and ate a few fresh ones, but they are so plentiful now, fresh, canned or frozen, I enjoy using them as much as I can.

Today, I bought a large bag of frozen blueberries. They certainly were not cheap, or even reasonable in price, but I am looking forward to making some of my favorite recipes that call for blueberries.

Sometimes I just eat a few frozen ones for a little snack, right out of the bag. (Then I deal with blue tongue and teeth.) They are full of very healthful nutrients.

If you are also a fan of blueberries, I hope you find something here to clip and keep.

Lemon blueberry pound cake

For the cake:

1/2 cup milk

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, packed

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 cups plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off with a knife

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup blueberries (if using frozen blueberries, do not defrost)

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

2 large eggs

For the glaze:

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/4 teaspoon lemon zest, packed

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 350 and set an oven rack in the middle position. Spray a 9-by-5-inch metal loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, then spray the pan again.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, lemon zest and lemon juice. Let sit for at least 10 minutes while you proceed with the recipe. (It will curdle; that’s okay.)

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the 2 cups flour, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, toss the blueberries with the remaining teaspoon of flour. Set both aside.

4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or beaters), cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again.

5. With the mixer on low speed, beat in a third of the flour mixture, then half of the milk mixture. Beat in another third of the flour mixture, then the remaining milk mixture, followed by the remaining flour mixture, scraping the bowl as necessary. Add the flour-dusted blueberries to the batter and, using a spatula, fold until evenly combined. Transfer the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

6. Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and a tester comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely. When the cake is cool, transfer it to a serving platter.

7. Make the glaze: In a small bowl, mix together the confectioners’ sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice. Add more confectioners’ sugar or lemon juice as necessary to make a thick but pourable glaze (it should be a little thicker than you’d think, about the consistency of molasses or honey). Spoon the glaze over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Let the glaze set for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Slice with a serrated knife. The cake will keep on the countertop for up to 3 days; store in a covered container or wrap in plastic wrap. Makes 1 loaf cake.

Blueberry muffins

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 1/4 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup milk

2 cups blueberries, washed, drained and picked over

3 teaspoons sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar (1 1/4 cups) until smooth and light.

2. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla.

3. In another bowl, sift together the flour, salt and baking powder, and add to the creamed mixture alternately with the milk.

4. Crush 1/2 cup blueberries with a fork, and mix into the batter. Fold in the remaining whole berries.

5. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with cupcake liners, and fill with batter. Sprinkle the 3 teaspoons sugar over the tops of the muffins, and bake in preheated oven for about 30 to 35 minutes.

6. Remove muffins from tin and cool at least 30 minutes. Store, uncovered, or the muffins will be too moist the second day, if they last that long. Makes 12 muffins.

Blueberry crumble bars

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

3 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 pinch cinnamon

1 cup shortening (or half shortening and half butter)

1 egg

1/2 cup sugar

3 teaspoons cornstarch

4 cups fresh blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup sugar, baking powder, flour, salt and cinnamon. Use a fork or pastry cutter to blend in the shortening and egg. Dough will be crumbly. Pat half of dough into the prepared pan.

3. In another bowl, stir together the sugar and cornstarch. Gently mix in the blueberries. Sprinkle the blueberry mixture evenly over the crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until top is slightly brown. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Blueberry banana pancakes

2 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

2 cups buttermilk

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

3/4 cup blueberries

2 bananas, sliced lengthwise 2/3 inch thick and cut to fit the pancakes

Confectioners’ sugar and pure maple syrup, for serving

1. In a small bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the buttermilk. Quickly stir in the flour mixture, then stir in the melted butter and blueberries.

2. Heat a griddle or a large nonstick skillet over moderately low heat and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Ladle 1/4 cup of the batter per pancake onto the griddle, leaving room for the pancakes to spread. Gently lay one banana slice in the center of each pancake and cook until bubbles appear on the surface, 3 to 4 minutes.

3. Flip the pancakes and cook until golden brown on the second side, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Generously dust the blueberry banana pancakes with confectioners’ sugar and serve with maple syrup. Makes about 12 pancakes.


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