Sunday mornings always bring back memories of France. It’s hard to believe that nine months ago, I was living and working in Orléans, just an hour south of Paris.
On most Sunday mornings, I would wake up and walk down the sidewalk, dodging any potential landmines from my canine friends. I would only have to go two blocks before I started inhaling the delicious smell of freshly-baked baguettes.
Most Boulangeries (bakeries) in France are not open on Sunday. In fact, the Boulangerie that I frequented on Sundays was the only one open on a normally busy street. However, after a few months of strategizing, I figured out that the best time to get to the bakery was around 10 AM. If I was lucky, the bread would still be warm, and I could tear off the buttery, flaky end, and devour it on the walk back to my apartment. Unsurprisingly, the walks back to my apartment always lasted longer than the original trip to the Boulangerie.
This morning, I woke up in St. Louis, Missouri, and walked from my house to my car. I drove to the gym, stopped by the grocery store on the way home, and ate a whole-wheat pita with hummus for lunch. Obviously, things have changed since my weekly trips to the Boulangerie.
However, whenever I get to the point when I feel like moving back to France, leaving my car, the gym, and whole-wheat pitas behind, I remind myself of the one perk of living in America: big, spacious kitchens. There were two whole packs of unopened blackberries in my refrigerator, and a half-a-pound bag of sugar on the counter. What better time to bake than now?
I found a Williams-Sonoma recipe for Blackberry Muffins, and the picture of the finished product was enough to make me pre-heat the oven. I tweaked the recipe a bit to fit my preferences (I don’t like nuts in my baked goods, and the recipe called for finely chopped pecans). I also didn’t have buttermilk, but I combined 2% milk and lemon juice for a quick fix.
I might not be walking down the cobblestone streets of France anymore, eagerly anticipating my my next trip to the Boulangerie. But for now, these muffins give me something to look forward to.
For the topping:
- 1⁄3 cup sugar
- 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
- Grated zest of 1⁄2 lemon ( I used 1 teaspoon of lemon juice)
- 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
For the muffins:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1⁄2 tsp. baking soda
- 1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- Grated zest of 1⁄2 lemon
- 1⁄4 tsp. salt
- 1 egg, beaten
- 5 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup buttermilk (I used 1 cup of 2% milk plus 1 tablespoon of lemon juice)
- 2 cups fresh blackberries or 2 1⁄2 cups frozen
unsweetened blackberries, unthawed