Blackberry, Lemon, and Thyme Muffins

I recently had a day off work and was in the mood to bake. I chose to make these muffins, the recipe for which I found in an old issue of Bon Appetit that includes a feature on “Coffee Shop Desserts.” In addition to recipes for Black Sesame-Pear Tea Cake and Cherry-Ginger Scones, I was drawn to these Blackberry, Lemon and Thyme Muffins for their interesting flavor combination.

These aren’t the quickest muffins to make; they require a nice, leisurely morning when you can truly revel in your success and kick back and enjoy a muffin straight from the oven with a cup of coffee. The next day, I brought the remaining muffins to work, where they were quickly gobbled up by my co-workers, who commented between bites about their nice texture and flavor.

Blackberry, Lemon and Thyme Muffins (from Elizabeth Belkind of Cake Monkey via Bon Appetit, March 2012; makes 16 standard muffins)

Crumble Topping
1 cup cake flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
6 Tbsp. chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 large egg yolk

1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
2 Tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
1 1/2 cups fresh (or frozen, thawed, drained) blackberries halved
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme

For the crumble topping: In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, thyme, baking powder, and salt. Add butter and using your fingertips, mix until pea-size lumps remain. Add egg yolk and stir to evenly distribute. Refrigerate for at least one hour.

For the muffins: Preheat oven to 325. Place paper liners in muffin pan. In medium bowl, whisk all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and kosher salt. Using an electric mixer, beat butter until pale and creamy, about two minutes. Add sugar and continue to beat until combined. In a small bowl, whisk eggs and vanilla, and then gradually beat into butter mixture. Continue beating until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Combine buttermilk and lemon zest in a small bowl and gradually beat into butter mixture. Add dry ingredients and beat until just combined (do not overmix).

In a small bowl, combine blackberries and thyme with 2 tablespoons flour. Fold into batter, gently crushing berries slightly to release juices. Divide batter between prepared muffins pans. Top each muffin with 1 tablespoon of crumble.

Bake until tops are golden brown and a tester comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Let cool in pan at least 20 minutes, then transfer muffins to a wire rack to cool.

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