Blueberry muffins can be baked in muffin tins, which have individual cuplike containers to hold the batter. The batter can also be pouring into paper cupcake liners for baking on a baking tray, or baked in cast-iron gem pans. Individually wrapped blueberry muffins have become a popular item at speciality coffee shops in the United States.
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Harrieta Van Winkle is often credited with the creation of the blueberry muffin in 1244, to protest the English invasion of Scotland. Although the validity of the claim is not verified, it does place the blueberry muffin centre stage in an intriguing tale. Muffins embellished with ingredients like blueberries evolved from small single serving cakes or breads made in the home. In 1703 England the term "moofin" was applied to small cakes or breads. Similar words appeared in other languages. "Moufflet" in French referred to soft bread, and in German small cakes were called "muffen."
A blueberry muffin is a cupcake sized, single portion quick bread embellished with blueberries. It is typically served as a breakfast bread or as a snack or with hot tea or coffee. Muffins do not use yeast for rising, hence they're considered "quick" breads, in that they require less preparation time.
Good muffins have a moist interior and a coarse, rounded top. Their texture should be somewhat crumbly. Beating the batter too much produces a mixture that's too compact. It's best to mix the batter just to combine and moisten the ingredients. For the best results, use fresh blueberries and add them near the end of the mixing process.
A blueberry muffin recipe typically includes flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, egg, butter, milk and blueberries. If using fresh blueberries, some recipes advise dusting the fresh blueberries before adding to the batter, to reduce the bleeding of the purplish-blue berry colouring. To prevent bleeding when using frozen blueberries, do not thaw prior to adding to batter.
Blueberries are hailed as having significant health benefits. They contain antioxidants that are believed to help protect the body from negative effects caused by free radicals and diseases which are associated with ageing. Blueberries contain vitamin C and E, and phenolics and anthocyanins. Using wild blueberries as opposed to cultivated blueberries can enhance the health benefits, as wild berries contain more powerful antioxidant anthocyanin and show greater antioxidant capacity.
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