We wanted to build a healthier blueberry muffin using whole-wheat flour. Problem is, most whole-wheat muffins are dense, bland sinkers that nobody wants to eat. Could we create a version that was tender and delicious? First, we needed to address the cardboard-like flavor that plagues so many whole-wheat muffins. We replaced part of the whole-wheat flour with ground toasted almonds and loved how their richness and nuttiness complemented the whole wheat’s own earthy, nutty flavor. But the muffins were still squat and dense. Switching gears, we combined two leaveners baking soda and baking powder. We were surprised to find how tender our muffins became—too tender. Because whole-wheat flour forms a relatively weak gluten network (which was further weakened by the fat in the almonds), these muffins lacked the structure to even come out of the pan. Incorporating ¾ cup all-purpose flour into the mix brought structural integrity back to our muffins while keeping them tender. Do not overmix the batter. You can substitute frozen (unthawed) blueberries for fresh in this recipe.
- Yield: 12 MUFFINS
- 1 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
- 1 cup (5½ ounces) whole-wheat flour
- ¾ cup (3¾ ounces) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup organic low-fat buttermilk
- 0.66 cup packed (4⅔ ounces) dark brown sugar
- 2 large organic eggs
- ¼ cup expeller-pressed canola oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 7½ ounces (1½ cups) blueberries
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 12-cup muffin tin, including top, generously with canola oil spray. Pulse ¼ cup almonds in food processor until coarsely chopped, 4 to 6 pulses; transfer to small bowl and set aside for topping.
- Add whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and remaining ¾ cup almonds to now-empty food processor and process until well combined and almonds are finely ground, about 30 seconds; transfer to large bowl.
- In separate bowl, whisk buttermilk, sugar, eggs, oil, and vanilla together until combined. Using rubber spatula, stir buttermilk mixture into almond-flour mixture until just combined (do not overmix). Gently fold in blueberries until incorporated.
- Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups (cups will be filled to rim) and sprinkle with reserved chopped almonds. Bake until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out with few crumbs attached, 16 to 18 minutes, rotating muffin tin halfway through baking.
- Let muffins cool in tin on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove muffins from tin and let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.