Friday, June 20, 2014

Blueberry Lemon Cornmeal Muffins (Vegan)

The Summer Solstice is upon us. Come tomorrow, we in the Northeast can officially stop complaining about the non-existent New England Spring and embrace warm weather. This weekend, I also happen to be going on a very New England summer trip to Martha's Vineyard. Between the official change of season and my very summery weekend away, only the most summery of foods will do.

What is the summer of food to a Maine-raised vegan, you ask? The short answer: blueberries! At least for me, the ubiquity and simple sweetness of blueberries makes summer happen. We find them everywhere-- in breads, wine, books (!), jams and everything in between.

Yes, as I said just this week, I don't like raw, whole fruit; so I'm not one to snack on these treats like a bear. If they are baked though, oh goodness, blueberries win the prize. They also, to my taste, enjoy a complementary friend. This friend is lemon. Lemon and blueberry is the ultimate summer pairing. The combinations of lightness and sweetness, citrus and earthiness bring the joy with one bite of a hundred beach days and a thousand picnics straight to one's tastebuds.

Here, you find lemon paired with blueberry, along with the grit of cornmeal, in one of the most portable snacks or breakfasts in the culinary repertoire -- the muffin. Take these to the beach, to a picnic, to a hike in the woods; or, like me, take them for a weekend away with your friends.

Blueberry Lemon Cornmeal Muffins
adapted from this recipe at Averie Cooks
makes 16-18 muffins

3/4 cup apple sauce
3/4 sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup vegan yogurt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Cooking spray or oil, for muffin tins
Cornmeal for coating tins, about 1/4 cup

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix together apple sauce, sugar, vegetable oil, yogurt, brown sugar, vanilla and lemon juice.
3. Add 1 cup flour, 1/3 cup cornmeal and baking powder until just combined. Do not over mix.
4. In a separate bowl, toss blueberries with 2 tablespoons flour. I love this trick from Averie Cooks.
5. Coat muffin tins with cooking spray or oil. Toss a small handful of cornmeal into each tin. Over the sink, coat the tins by shaking the pan, tipping it to coat all sides. It looks like a little muffin synchronized cornmeal dance. Let excess cornmeal fall into the sink.
6. Carefully fold the blueberries into the batter. Mix until just combined, trying not to break the blueberries.
7. Bake muffins at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, until the sides show a little brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
8. Cool completely.

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